Aechtner, “Health, Wealth, and Power”

Aechtner, Thomas. 2015. Health, Wealth, and Power in an African Diaspora Church in Canada. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

Publisher’s Description: This book investigates an African diaspora Christian community in Calgary, Alberta, and explores the ways in which the church’s beliefs and practices impact the lives of its migrant congregation. Importantly, it details the expressed utility of two central ideas: the Prosperity Gospel and Holy Spirit Power. As congregants and church materials persistently maintained, these two aspects of African Pentecostalism supply operative spiritual machinery to overcome the difficulties of living in Canada, as well as the means to thrive in a foreign land. Additionally, the connection between these elements and the democratization of power is explored, and Tom Aechtner provides an analysis of how the church cultivates a form of Christian Pan-Africanism among its multiethnic and multinational population. The book assesses the roles that African Pentecostalism plays in ameliorating longings for home and promoting the need to spiritually reform Canada. Aechtner also describes how African Pentecostalism relates to the mediation of responses to racism in the nation’s officially multicultural society.

 

Bakker, “Fragments of a Liturgical World”

Bakker, Sarah. 2013. Fragments of a Liturgical World: Syriac Christianity and the Dutch Multicultural Debates. Doctoral Dissertation, Dept. of Anthropology. Santa Cruz, CA: University of California-Santa Cruz.

Abstract: This dissertation explores the reconfiguration of Syriac Orthodox liturgical tradition among Aramaic-speaking Christian refugees in the Netherlands. Under the pressures of Dutch integration policy and the global politics of secular recognition, the Syriac liturgy is rapidly losing its significance as the central axis of social life and kinship-relations in the Syriac Orthodox diaspora. As such, it has become a site for debate over how to be religiously, culturally, and ethnically distinct despite the narrative binary of Christian Europe and the Muslim Middle East that dominates Dutch multiculturalism discourse. Every week, young Syriac Orthodox women and men congregate at their churches to practice singing the liturgy in classical Syriac. What they sing, and how they decide to sing it, mediates their experiments in religious and ethical reinvention, with implications for their efforts at political representation. Singers contend not only with conditions of inaudibility produced by histories of ethnic cleansing, migration, and assimilation, but also with the fragments of European Christianity that shape the sensory regime of secular modernity. Public debates over the integration of religious minorities illuminate this condition of fragmentation, as well as the contest over competing conceptions of ethical personhood inherent in the politics of pluralism in Europe.

Thomas, “Women in Lebanon”

Thomas, Marie-Claude. 2013. Women in Lebanon: Living with Christianity, Islam, and Multiculturalism. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Publisher’s Description: Combining insider and outsider perspectives, Women in Lebanon looks at Christian and Muslim women living together in a multicultural society and facing modernity. While the Arab Spring has begun to draw attention to issues of change, modernity, and women’s subjectivity, this manuscript takes a unique approach to examining and describing the Lebanese “alternative modernities” thesis and how it has shaped thinking about the meaning of terms like evolution, progress, development, history, and politics in contemporary Arab thought. The author draws on extensive ethnographic research, as well as her own personal experience.

Austin, “Quaker Brotherhood”

Austin, Allan W. 2012. Quaker Brotherhood: Interracial Activism and the American Friends Service Committee, 1917-1950. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Publisher’s Description: The Religious Society of Friends and its service organization, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), have long been known for their peace and justice activism. The abolitionist work of Friends during the antebellum era has been well documented, and their contemporary anti-war and anti-racism work is familiar to activists around the world. Quaker Brotherhood is the first extensive study of the AFSC’s interracial activism in the first half of the twentieth century, filling a major gap in scholarship on the Quakers’ race relations work from the AFSC’s founding in 1917 to the beginnings of the civil rights movement in the early 1950s.

Allan W. Austin tracks the evolution of key AFSC projects, such as the Interracial Section and the American Interracial Peace Committee, that demonstrate the tentativeness of the Friends’ activism in the 1920s, as well as efforts in the 1930s to make scholarly ideas and activist work more theologically relevant for Friends. Documenting the AFSC’s efforts to help European and Japanese American refugees during World War II, Austin shows that by 1950 Quakers in the AFSC had honed a distinctly Friendly approach to interracial relations that combined scholarly understandings of race with their religious views.

In tracing the transformation of one of the most influential social activist groups in the United States over the first half of the twentieth century, Quaker Brotherhood presents Friends in a thoughtful, thorough, and even-handed manner. Austin portrays the history of the AFSC and race–highlighting the organization’s boldness in some aspects and its timidity in others–as an ongoing struggle that provides a foundation for understanding how shared agency might function in an imperfect and often racist world.

Highlighting the complicated and sometimes controversial connections between Quakers and race during this era, Austin uncovers important aspects of the history of Friends, pacifism, feminism, American religion, immigration, ethnicity, and the early roots of multiculturalism.

Althouse and Wilkinson “The Many Faces of Canadian Pentecostalism”

Peter Althouse  & Michael Wilkinson (2011) “The Many Faces of Canadian Pentecostalism” Canadian Journal of Pentecostal-Charismatic Christianity 2(1):i-iv.

First Paragraph: “The myth of Azusa Street is one that asserts that people from all over the world, of different races, ethnicities, genders, languages, cultures and classes came together in unity in the outpouring of the Spirit where everyone has a voice in glossolalic utterance. Myth is a powerful cultural symbol for affording Pentecostals a sense of place and equality in religious and social contexts, but a myth none- theless; not because the multicultural context of the early days of Pentecost was untrue—the historical records show that Azusa Street was multiracial and multiethnic with William Seymour, the son of emancipated African- American slaves taking a prominent role in the revival’s leadership and evidence of Latino/a inclusion in the re- vival; but myth because the ideal of equality and racial reconciliation quickly collapsed in the early history of Pentecostalism. Despite the diverse cultural representation of Azusa, where marginalized voices could be heard and allowed to participate in the revival, Pentecostal institu- tions quickly accommodated to the dominate culture, seg- regated blacks and whites, assert a patriarchal power structure that denied women ministerial status, marginal- ized the voices of other ethnicities and cultural groups, and placed white Anglo-Saxon males in authority.”