Opas and Haapalainen, eds, “Christianity and the Limits of Materiality”

Opas, Minna and Anna Haapalainen, eds.  2017.  Christianity and the Limits of Materiality.  London: Bloomsbury.

Publisher’s Description: Despite the fact that Christianity is understood to be thoroughly intertwined with matter, objects, and things, Christians struggle to cope with this materiality in their daily lives. This volume argues that the ambivalent relationships many Christians have with materiality is a driving force that contributes to the way people in different Christian traditions and in different parts of the world understand and live out their religion.

By placing the questions of limits and boundary-work to the fore, the volume addresses the question of exactly how Christianity takes place materially, addressing a gap in studies to date. Christianity and the Limits of Materiality presents ground-breaking research on the frameworks and contexts in relation to and within which Christian logics of materiality operate. The volume places the negotiations at the limits of materiality within the larger framework of Christian identities and politics of belonging.
The chapters discuss case studies from North and South America, Europe, and Africa, and demonstrate that the limits preoccupying Christians delimit their lives but also enable many things. Ultimately, Christianity and the Limits of Materiality demonstrates that it is at the interfaces of materiality and the transcendent that Christians create and legitimise their religion.
Contents:
Foreword, David Morgan (Duke University, USA)
Acknowledgements
Introduction, Minna Opas & Anna Haapalainen (University of Turku, Finland)
Part 1: Doubting
1. Spirit Media and the Spectre of the Fake, Marleen de Witte (Unviersity of Amsterdam, the Netherlands)
2. Organic Faith in Amazonia: De-indexification, doubt and Christian corporeality, Minna Opas (University of Turku, Finland)
3. Things not for themselves: idolatry and consecration in Orthodox Ethiopia, Tom Boylston (University of Edinburgh)
Part 2: Sufficing
4. The Bible in the Digital Age: Negotiating the Limits of ‘Bibleness’ of Different Bible Media, Katja Rakow(Heidelberg University, Germany)
5. The Plausibility of Immersion: limits and creativity in materializing the Bible, James Bielo (Miami University, USA)
6.Humanizing the Bible: Limits of materiality in a passion play, Anna Haapalainen (University of Turku, Finland)
7. Semana Santa processions in Granada – Religion or Spectacle? Sari Kuuva (University of Jyväskylä, Finland)
8. The death and rebirth of a crucifix: Materiality and the sacred in Andean vernacular Catholicism, Diego Alonso Huerta (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú / University of Helsinki, Finland)
Part 3: Unbinding
9. Proving the Inner Word: (De)materializing the Spirit in Radical Pietism Elisa Heinämäki (University of Helsinki, Finland)
10. The Return of the Unclean Spirit: Collapse and Relapse in the Baptist rehab ministry Igor Mikeshin (University of Helsinki, Finland)
11. Mimesis and Mediation in the Semana Santa Processions of Granada, Sari Kuuva, University of Jyväskylä
Afterword: Diana Espirito Santo (London School of Economics, UK)

Handman, “Walking Like a Christian”

Handman, Courtney.  2017. Walking like a Christian: Roads, translation, and gendered bodies as religious infrastructure in Papua New Guinea.  American Ethnologist.  Early online publication.

Abstract: Homologies between so-called soft infrastructures like language and hard ones like roads depend on ethnographically variable metaphors of circulation. In these homologies, speakers understand language to propel or inhibit forms of physical movement, affecting the embodied experiences of transportation or locomotion. In the case of Guhu-Samane Christians in Papua New Guinea, people focus on language as a kind of infrastructure as they grapple with postcolonial feelings of disconnection from divine powers that were once manifest in a New Testament translation. They channel this sense of disconnection into ongoing complaints about their lack of a vehicular road and the pain of walking, particularly walking like a heavily burdened woman. If a road were built into their valley, this would signal the New Testament’s transformation into Christian infrastructure.

Yang, et al, eds, “Global Chinese Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity”

Yang, Fenggang, Joy K. C. Tong, and Allan H. Anderson.  2017.  Global Chinese Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity.  Leiden: Brill.

Publisher’s Description: This is the first scholarly volume on Chinese Christian Pentecostal and charismatic movements around the globe. The authors include the most active and renowned scholars of global Pentecostalism and Chinese Christianity, including Allan Anderson, Daniel Bays, Kim-twang Chan, Gordon Melton, Donald Miller, and Fenggang Yang. It covers historical linkages between Pentecostal missions and indigenous movements in greater China, contemporary charismatic congregations in China, Singapore, Malaysia, and the United States, and the Catholic charismatic renewal movement in China. The volume also engages discussion and disagreement on whether it is even appropriate to refer to many of the Chinese Christian movements as Pentecostal or charismatic. If not, are they primarily following cultural traditions, or upholding beliefs and practices in the Bible?

Contents:

Pentecostals and Charismatics among Chinese Christians: An Introduction
Fenggang Yang, Joy K. C. Tong, and Allan H. Anderson

Part 1. Historical, Global, and Local Contexts

Chapter 1. Contextualizing the Contemporary Pentecostal Movement in China
Donald E. Miller
Chapter 2. Chinese Ecstatic Millenarian Folk Religion with Pentecostal Christian Characteristics?
Daniel H. Bays
Chapter 3. Pentecostalism Comes to China: Laying the Foundations for a Chinese Version of Christianity
J. Gordon Melton
Chapter 4. Elitism and Poverty: Early Pentecostalism in Hong Kong (1907–1945)
Connie Au

Part 2. A Chinese Pentecostal Denomination: The True Jesus Church

Chapter 5. Charismatic Crossings: The Transnational, Transdenominational Friendship of Bernt Berntsen and Wei Enbo
Melissa Wei-Tsing Inouye
Chapter 6. Taming the Spirit by Appropriating Indigenous Culture: An Ethnographic Study of the True Jesus Church as Confucian-Style Pentecostalism
Ke-hsien Huang
Chapter 7. Glossolalia and Church Identity: The Role of Sound in the Making of a Chinese Pentecostal-Charismatic Church
Yen-zen Tsai

Part 3. Pentecostal or Non-Pentecostal: Self-Identity and Scholarly Observation

Chapter 8. Spirituality and Spiritual Practice: Is the Local Church Pentecostal?
Jiayin Hu
Chapter 9. Are Chinese Christians Pentecostal? A Catholic Reading of Pentecostal Influence on Chinese Christians
Michel Chambon
Chapter 10. The “Galilee of China”: Pentecostals without Pentecostalism
Yi Liu

Part 4. New-Wave Charismatics in Chinese Societies

Chapter 11. “Christianity Fever” and Unregistered Churches in China
Selena Y. Z. Su and Allan H. Anderson
Chapter 12. China’s Patriotic Pentecostals
Karrie J. Koesel
Chapter 13. The Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Mainland China
Rachel Xiaohong Zhu
Chapter 14. City Harvest Church of Singapore: An Ecclesial Paradigm for Pentecostalism in the Postmodern World
Kim-kwong Chan
Chapter 15. The Localization of Charismatic Christianity among the Chinese in Malaysia: A Study of Full Gospel Tabernacle
Weng Kit Cheong and Joy K. C. Tong
Chapter 16. The Femininity of Chinese Christianity: A Study of a Chinese Charismatic Church and Its Female Leadership
Joy K. C. Tong and Fenggang Yang

Conclusion: Challenges, Theories, and Methods in Studying Chinese “Pentecostalism”
Allan H. Anderson

Johnson, “If I Give My Soul”

Johnson, Andrew.  2017.  If I Give My Soul: Faith Behind Bars in Rio de Janeiro.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Publisher’s Description: Pentecostal Christianity is flourishing inside the prisons of Rio de Janeiro. To find out why, Andrew Johnson dug deep into the prisons themselves. He began by spending two weeks living in a Brazilian prison as if he were an inmate: sleeping in the same cells as the inmates, eating the same food, and participating in the men’s daily routines as if he were incarcerated. And he returned many times afterward to observe prison churches’ worship services, which were led by inmates who had been voted into positions of leadership by their fellow prisoners. He accompanied Pentecostal volunteers when they visited cells that were controlled by Rio’s most dominant criminal gang to lead worship services, provide health care, and deliver other social services to the inmates. Why does this faith resonate so profoundly with the incarcerated? Pentecostalism, argues Johnson, is the “faith of the killable people” and offers ex-criminals and gang members the opportunity to positively reinvent their public personas. If I Give My Soul provides a deeply personal look at the relationship between the margins of Brazilian society and the Pentecostal faith, both behind bars and in the favelas, Rio de Janeiro’s peripheral neighborhoods. Based on his intimate relationships with the figures in this book, Johnson makes a passionate case that Pentecostal practice behind bars is an act of political radicalism as much as a spiritual experience.

Casselberry, “The Labor of Faith”

Casselberry, Judith.  2017.  The Labor of Faith: Gender and Power in Black Apostolic Pentecostalism.  Durham: Duke University Press.

Publisher’s Description: In The Labor of Faith Judith Casselberry examines the material and spiritual labor of the women of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, Inc., which is based in Harlem and one of the oldest and largest historically Black Pentecostal denominations in the United States. This male-headed church only functions through the work of the church’s women, who, despite making up three-quarters of its adult membership, hold no formal positions of power. Casselberry shows how the women negotiate this contradiction by using their work to produce and claim a spiritual authority that provides them with a particular form of power. She also emphasizes how their work in the church is as significant, labor intensive, and critical to their personhood, family, and community as their careers, home and family work, and community service are. Focusing on the circumstances of producing a holy black female personhood, Casselberry reveals the ways twenty-first-century women’s spiritual power operates and resonates with meaning in Pentecostal, female-majority, male-led churches.

Thomas, et al, eds, “New Directions in Spiritual Kinship”

Thomas, Todne, Asiya Malik, and Rose Wellman, eds.  2017. New Directions in Spiritual Kinship: Sacred Ties across the Abrahamic Religions.  New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 

Publisher’s Description: This volume examines the significance of spiritual kinship—or kinship reckoned in relation to the divine—in creating myriad forms of affiliations among Christians, Jews, and Muslims.  Rather than confining the study of spiritual kinship to Christian godparenthood or presuming its disappearance in light of secularism, the authors investigate how religious practitioners create and contest sacred solidarities through ritual, discursive, and ethical practices across social domains, networks, and transnational collectives.  This book’s theoretical conversations and rich case studies hold value for scholars of anthropology, kinship, and religion.

Contents:

Introduction: Re-sacralizing the Social: Spiritual Kinship at the Crossroads of the Abrahamic Religions, Thomas, Todne (et al.)

Spiritual Kinship Between Formal Norms and Actual Practice: A Comparative Analysis in the Long Run (from the Early Middle Ages Until Today), Alfani, Guido

Spiritual Kinship in an Age of Dissent: Pigeon Fanciers in Darwin’s England, Feeley-Harnik, Gillian

Kinship as Ethical Relation: A Critique of the Spiritual Kinship Paradigm, Seeman, Don

Kinship in Historical Consciousness: A French Jewish Perspective, Bahloul, Joëlle

“We All Ask Together”: Intercession and Composition as Models for Spiritual Kinship, Klaits, Frederick

“Forever Families”; Christian Individualism, Mormonism and Collective Salvation, Cannell, Fenella

Substance, Spirit, and Sociality Among Shi‘i Muslims in Iran, Wellman, Rose

Expanding Familial Ties: From the Umma to New Constructions of Relatedness Among East African Indians in Canada, Malik, Asiya

Rebuking the Ethnic Frame: Afro Caribbean and African American Evangelicals and Spiritual Kinship, Thomas, Todne

The Seeds of Kinship Theory in the Abrahamic Religions, Delaney, Carol

 

 

Burchardt, “Saved from hegemonic masculinity?”

Burchardt, Marian.  2017. Saved from hegemonic masculinity? Charismatic Christianity and men’s responsibilization in South Africa.  Current Sociology.  Early online publication.

Abstract: In this article, the author explores the role of religion in social constructions of heterosexual masculinity in South Africa in the context of civil society driven programs to fight sexual and gender-based violence and the spread of HIV. Critically engaging with the concept of hegemonic masculinity and the sociological literature on gender relations in conservative Christian communities, the author examines how Charismatic Christian and Pentecostal communities in the townships of Cape Town negotiate their model of masculinity and gender authority in the context of the prevailing hegemonies of ‘traditional’ and ‘liberal’ masculinity. Based on ethnographic observations and qualitative interviews with Pentecostal men, the author specifies the concrete mechanisms whereby Pentecostalism both contributes to transform but also to reproduce rather than undermine hegemonic masculinity. He finds that Pentecostalism responsibilizes men not because men adopt its sexual ideology but because they adopt its model of personhood.

St. Clair, “‘God Even Blessed Me with Less Money’”

St. Clair, George.  2017. ‘God Even Blessed Me with Less Money’: Disappointment, Pentecostalism and the Middle Classes in Brazil.  Journal of Latin American Studies.  Early online publication.

 Abstract: Through shedding light on traditional Pentecostalism in Brazil this article reveals how middle-class people in São Paulo, Brazil, manage disappointment relating to current socio-economic conditions. Ethnographic research on Brazil’s oldest Pentecostal church, which preserves an anachronistic style of practice, shows how people embrace a marginal identity and thereby critique social conditions in the country. In stark contrast to newer forms of Pentecostalism, people featured in this paper respond to an ‘anti-prosperity gospel’, in which failures and setbacks are construed as signs of spiritual purity and development. In a country where a ‘new middle class’ is supposedly finding prosperity, this study shows a religiously-oriented way in which people confront the disappointing gap between the promises of neoliberalism and the realities of jobless growth.

Graeter, “To Revive and Abundant Life”

Graeter, Stefanie.  2017. TO REVIVE AN ABUNDANT LIFE: Catholic Science and Neoextractivist Politics in Peru’s Mantaro Valley.  Cultural Anthropology 32(1): 117-148.

Abstract: Since the turn of the twenty-first century, the rapid growth of Peru’s extractive industries has unleashed diverse forms of political resistance to an economic system dependent on ecological destruction and human harm. In the central highlands of Peru, a Catholic scientific project based out of the Archdiocese of Huancayo undertook six years of research on heavy-metal contamination in the Mantaro Valley. This included lead-exposure studies in the notoriously polluted city of La Oroya, home to the country’s largest polymetallic smelter. How did the Catholic Church become an apt institution for the production of science in this region? Drawing on fieldwork with the Revive the Mantaro Project, this article conceptualizes the integration of religious and scientific practitioners and practices and the political landscape that necessitated, shaped, and limited them. Technocratic governance and anti-leftist sentiments made science a suitable political idiom for the Catholic Church to enact its ethos of abundance and demand the legitimacy of life beyond bare life. A state of endemic corruption and epistemic mistrust also obliged Catholic accompaniment to scientific practices to generate trust for the researchers and to provide ethical credibility as their knowledge entered the fray of national mining politics. Ultimately contending with entrenched systems of power, the Revive the Mantaro Project’s significance extended beyond political efficacy; its practices enacted a world of democracy, rights, and legal protections not yet of this world.

O’Neill, “On Hunting”

O’Neill, Kevin Lewis.  2017.  On Hunting.  Critical Inquiry 43(3): 697-718.

Excerpt: This essay considers the politics of hunting in Guatemala City. Amid the crack and the Christianity, in the service of so much captivity, Alejandro and his pastor track down drug users, as if they are animals, to remind them, in classic Christian fashion, that they are human—that, in the words of so many missionaries before them, it is not enough to be human, one must also act human. These efforts at ontological policing upset an increasingly bundled set of images about pastoralism today. Across the humanities and the social sciences, from a range of theoretical and methodological commitments, scholars deliver steadfast portraits of neoliberal withdrawal. And their terms tell all: dispossession and disposability; expulsion and exposure; precarity and social abandonment. While each advances an analytically distinct proposition, each also contributes to a single, powerful image of the failed shepherd, of people left to die.