Posts Tagged ‘sexuality’

Chipumuro, “Pastor, Mentor, or Father? The Contested Intimacies of the Eddie Long Sex Abuse Scandal”

January 22, 2014

Chipumuro, Todne. 2014. “Pastor, Mentor, or Father? The Contested Intimacies of the Eddie Long Sex Abuse Scandal.” Journal of Afrcana Religions 2(1):1-30.

Abstract: In September 2010, four young African American men filed lawsuits against Bishop Eddie Long and New Birth Missionary Baptist Church alleging that Long had sexually abused them as teens. Though the case generated a number of discussions about the institutional politics underwriting clerical privilege, missing was detailed attention to the interior social dynamics that connected the religious participants. Informed by an examination of the case’s legal texts and related local and electronic media, this article examines how the relationships between Long and his accusers were differentially constructed as pastoral relationships, mentorship ties, and spiritual kinship bonds. Applying anthropological frameworks that demonstrate how different forms of sociality can intersect to reinforce social structures, I use this timely investigation to argue that despite the variegated and con- tested character of the relationships, all are mutually organized by the social logic of patriarchy and the complex intimacies mediating contemporary Afro-Protestant religious belonging.

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van Klinken, “Gay rights, the devil, and the end times”

January 13, 2014

van Klinken, Adriaan S. 2013. Gay rights, the devil, and the end times: public religion and the enchantment of the homosexuality debate in Zambia. Religion 43(4): 519-540.

Abstract: This article contributes to the understanding of the role of religion in the public and political controversies about homosexuality in Africa. As a case study it investigates the heated public debate in Zambia following a February 2012 visit by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who emphasised the need for the country to recognise the human rights of homosexuals. The focus is on a particular Christian discourse in this debate, in which the international pressure to recognise gay rights is considered a sign of the end times, and Ban Ki-moon, the UN and other international organisations are associated with the Antichrist and the Devil. Here, the debate about homosexuality becomes eschatologically enchanted through millennialist thought. Building on discussions about public religion and religion and politics in Africa, this article avoids popular explanations in terms of fundamentalist religion and African homophobia, but rather highlights the political significance of this discourse in a postcolonial African context.

Seale-Collazo, “Cross Purposes”

November 29, 2013

Seale-Collazo, James. 2013. Cross Purposes: Love and Purity at a Puerto Rican Protestant High School. Anthropology & Education Quarterly 44(4): 345-362.

Abstract: A “native“ Christian ethnographer finds religious education at this church-sponsored school to pursue two distinct, and occasionally conflicting, curricula: “love“ and “purity.“ The curriculum of love draws on what Turner called liminality and communitas in an effort to promote spiritual “encounters with God,“ whereas the curriculum of purity stresses adult–student hierarchies as students are urged to reject “worldly“ popular culture. Adults were caught between the two goals when one student asserted a gay identity.

van Dijk, “Counselling and Pentecostal modalities of social engineering of relationships in Botswana”

October 2, 2013

van Dijk, Rijk.  2013.  Counselling and Pentecostal modalities of social engineering of relationships in Botswana.  Culture, Health & Sexuality (Published Online 27 September 2013).

Abstract: In African societies where HIV and AIDS are widespread, counselling is being used in an attempt to control people’s sexual relationships and has become an important industry. Counselling is centrally placed in many AIDS-related policies in Botswana and is sponsored by both the government and religious organisations. Within the broad spectrum of Christianity, Pentecostal churches are very active. They emphasise the refashioning of relationships by mediating moral imperatives and by engaging with psychological knowledge on personal behaviour and on techniques of counselling in a changing context of sexuality. This paper explores the significance of religious counselling in terms of the disciplining effects concerning personal behaviour and the ways in which this form of communication is generating a wider interest in this society. This is particularly attractive to members of the educated classes who are engaging with Pentecostal counselling as a way of refashioning their domain of intimate relations. Yet, it does not only provide informed ideas on intimate relations – being often one of the proclaimed objectives of counselling – it also produces a communication about intimate matters that is intended to inform a critique of socio-cultural conventions. This is a counter-cultural dynamic of counselling, which has been little noticed in the academic study of counselling practices in Africa.

Boyd, “The Problem with Freedom”

August 27, 2013

Boyd, Lydia. 2013. The Problem with Freedom: Homosexuality and Human Rights in Uganda. Anthropological Quarterly 86(3):697-724.

Abstract: The recent backlash against homosexuality in Uganda, culminating in the introduction of the 2009 Anti-Homosexuality Bill, has focused tremendous attention on the role religious activists have played in shaping Ugandan attitudes about sexuality. Drawing on long-term fieldwork among the Ugandan born-again Christians at the center of this controversy, I argue that anti-homosexual rhetoric is animated by something more than a parroting of American homophobia. Rather, it reflects a tension between two divergent frameworks for ethical personhood in Uganda, one related to the Ganda value of ekitiibwa or “respect/honor,” and the other based in a discourse of rights, autonomy, and “freedom.” The born-again rejection of a rights-based discourse is analyzed in relation to broader anxieties generated by a neoliberal emphasis on the autonomous, “empowered” individual during a period of growing inequality and economic and political dissatisfaction in Uganda.

James, “Themes in Spirit Possession in Ugandan Christianity”

July 3, 2013

James, R. 2013. Themes in Spirit Possession in Ugandan Christianity. International Journal of Modern Anthropology.

Abstract: Spirit possession and the belief in witches and their curses is common in Uganda. This paper discerns a number of common themes that run through many of these experiences. In particular, sex as a motif for deviance and evil is noted as a common feature of many of the possession stories and all contact with spirits is seen as fundamentally dangerous. There is also some commonality in the content of some stories recounted by interviewees. This paper compares the observations and interviews conducted in Uganda and their common themes with Eni’s book Saved from the Powers of Darkness, with Ugandan cultural traditions and Ugandan experiences of terrorism to probe the origins of their conceptualisations. Through these comparisons it is possible to note Nigerian influence in at least some Ugandan expressions of the experience of spirit possession. However, Ugandan, rather than Nigerian, traditions and experiences are probably more important overall. Besides the traditions that are noted as influences on the way in which spirit possessions are expressed and experienced, the possibility for the breaking of witches’ curses being a cohesive of community activity is noted, as is a connection between the casting out of spirits and the resolve (or at least desire) to live a better, morally reformed, life in accordance with what is being preached in a church. This paper notes evidence that supports Horton’s suggestion that spirit possession is the theorisation of the world in order to understand and affect it.

van de Kamp, “Love Therapy”

January 15, 2013

van de Kamp, Linda.  2012.  Love Therapy: A Brazilian Pentecostal (Dis)connection in Maputo.  In, The Social Life of Connectivity in Africa, Rijk van Dijk and Mirjam de Brujin, eds.  p. 203-226.  New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

Excerpt: “This chapter examines this public training of the body in ways of love, such as embracing and kissing, in relation to the changing practices of love an dnew gender roles in Maputo.  I examine Brazilian Pentecostal counseling sessions on love and sexuality as a set of ‘connecting techniques’ where the terapia do amor serves as a key example.  In line with the arguments running through this current volume, connecting techniques are specific forms of linking that people consider to open up new life options, such as the invention of new bodily modes  and relationships.  In the case of the therapy, the connecting techniques have two important meanings.  First, the value of the Brazilian Pentecostal connections for Mozambican urban women is intrinsically related to its transnational aspects.  The transnational Pentecostal bridge allows for disconnecting from existing forms of relating and learning about alternative ways of being and relating.  Second, it appears that the embodiment of specific constructs, tools, or techniques (Foucault 1988) produces love and successful relations.  To connect to alternative forms of love and marriage and to disconnect from older ones, the body plays a central role in realizing connections and effectuating sociocultural change.  The last part of this chapter describes how the new modes of bridging and bonding through the embodiment of Brazilian Pentecostal techniques are also leading to insecure feelings and relationships” (p. 204).

Frahm-Arp, “Singleness, Sexuality, and the Dream of Marriage”

December 14, 2012

Frahm-Arp, Maria. 2012. “Singleness, Sexuality, and the Dream of Marriage.” Journal of Religion in Africa 42(4):369-383.

Abstract: In contemporary South Africa the nuclear family, made up of a husband and wife with two or three children living in a suburban area, is considered a social ideal and symbol of social and economic success. In Pentecostal Charismatic Churches the nuclear family is also held up as a symbol of success and as a sign of spiritual favour and blessing. Yet many young professional women who are members of Pentecostal Charismatic Churches struggle to find suitable husbands and marry. This paper examines why these women encounter these difficulties and how the Pentecostal Charismatic Churches in this study are opening up new social spaces in which singleness is an acceptable social state. In so doing the paper shows the complex relationship between weddings, sexuality, and economics in the life of young upwardly mobile Pentecostal Charismatic Christians.

Pearce, “Reconstructing Sexuality in the Shadow of Neoliberal Globalization: Investigating the Approach of Charismatic Churches in Southwestern Nigeria”

December 13, 2012

Pearce, Tola Olu. 2012.”Reconstructing Sexuality in the Shadow of Neoliberal Globalization: Investigating the Approach of Charismatic Churches in Southwestern Nigeria.” Journal of Religion in Africa 42(4):345-368.

Abstract: This study examines how Charismatic churches in southwestern Nigeria are attempting to construct new social identities through their doctrines on marriage and sexual practices specifically constructed to set them apart from other social groups. I argue that these perspectives on sexuality revolve around narratives of the body, sexual desire, and conjugal sexual pleasure within monogamous marriages. The strong rejection of polygyny and other sexual discourses are linked to the global exchange of ideas. I make the case that an important device for developing these identities is emotion training and a vision for both public and private behavior. This study is a textual analysis of written and audio material that lays bare their theories and practices. The data reveal a focus on shaping sexual desire and building conjugal love, trust, and respect, but the training also molds other emotions such as fear, guilt, and shame.

Bandak, “Problems of Belief: Tonalities of Immediacy among Christians of Damascus”

December 11, 2012

Bandak, Andreas. 2012. Problems of Belief: Tonalities of Immediacy among Christians of Damascus. Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology 77(4):535-555.

Abstract

This article examines the different effects Christianity has among Christians of Damascus. Instead of focusing on devout subjects, I trace out the ramifications Christianity has in different settings. Christianity sets different kinds of foregrounds and backgrounds which in this article are attended to during the Feast of the Holy Cross. During this Christian feast, a great variety of themes are brought into play with different kinds of relations to what it is to be a Christian in Damascus. I argue that what I term tonalities of immediacy is a fertile way to understand how contingencies and histories are played upon in concrete situations. The problem of belief, I argue, is not settled by pointing to a particular Christian and Western heritage or to default reactions against imagined certainties; rather the interplay between faith and scepticism may be a productive lens through which to grasp local Christian concerns.

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