Pasura and Erdal, “Migration, Transnationalism and Catholicism”

Pasura, Dominic and Marta Bivand Erdal, eds.  2016.  Migration, Transnationalism and Catholicism: Global Perspectives.  New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

Publisher’s Description: This book is the first to analyze the impacts of migration and transnationalism on global Catholicism. It explores how migration and transnationalism are producing diverse spaces and encounters that are moulding the Roman Catholic Church as institution and parish, pilgrimage and network, community and people. Bringing together established and emerging scholars of sociology, anthropology, geography, history and theology, it examines migrants’ religious transnationalism, but equally the effects of migration-related-diversity on non-migrant Catholics and the Church itself. This timely edited collection is organised around a series of theoretical frameworks for understanding the intersections of migration and Catholicism, with case studies from 17 different countries and contexts. The extent to which migrants’ religiosity transforms Catholicism, and the negotiations of unity in diversity within the Roman Catholic Church, are key themes throughout. This innovative approach will appeal to scholars of migration, transnationalism, religion, theology, and diversity.

Gidal, “Catholic Music in Lusophone New Jersey”

Gidal, Marc Meistrich Gidal. 2016. Catholic Music in Lusophone New Jersey: Circum-Atlantic Music, Intergroup Dynamics, and Immigrant Struggles in Transnational Communities. American Music 34(2): 180-217.

Excerpt: In this article I explain three main points about music, religion, group dynamics, and transnationalism in this setting. First, the Roman Catholic parishes that serve Portuguese and Brazilians in Newark foster heterogeneous communities shaped by circum-Atlantic movements of people, religious trends, media, and music. Hence, the diverse backgrounds, customs, and tastes of the clergy and parishioners have influenced the musical activities in the parishes with regard to repertories of music, styles of performance, attitudes toward participation, and processes of dissemination. Second, music in worship services can accentuate or mitigate nationalist rivalries and other distinctions among lusophone people in the United States. This musical perspective contributes to social- scientific findings that although relations are tense between Portuguese and Brazilians, and among Brazilians, in Newark and elsewhere, churches provide unique centers for solidarity, social aid, and community building for lusophone immigrants. Third, parish leaders use music, sermons, and special events to support the personal struggles of parishioners, particularly immigrants who face limited opportunities for work and governmental actions against undocumented residents.

Mantsinen, “Migrations, transformations and tradition”

Mantsinen, Teemu T. 2016. Migrations, transformations and tradition in the Finnish Pentecostal movement: why does all global not become local?  Culture and Religion. Early online publication.

Abstract: In this article, I will outline the dynamics of social transformations and cultural preservation in the Finnish Pentecostal movement, which are caused and affected by different migrations in the history of the movement. With a history of hundred years, immersed by social and societal transformations, missionaries, new converts and new cultures, the Finnish Pentecostal movement has its own traditions, but nevertheless is constantly facing influences from different cultures. My aim in this article is to analyse the logics of transformation and preservation of Pentecostal religion and culture on a congregational level. I will compare two different migrations, the Karelian evacuation and the international immigration, as well as analyse the differences in acculturation between these groups. The analysis will include not only the language and cultural habits, but also the social situations, structures and the styles that matter in the way Pentecostalism transforms, and how migrant groups are acculturated within the church.

Interview with Girish Daswani

The following is an interview with Girish Daswani, associate professor at the University of Toronto, conducted by Anna-Riikka Kauppinen, who is currently a PhD student at the London School of Economics. Anna-Riikka interviewed Girish in early 2016 to discuss his recent monograph, Looking Back, Moving Forward: Transformation and Ethical Practice in the Ghanian Church of Pentecost (2015, University of Toronto Press).

Anna-Riikka: Hi Girish, thank you so much for taking the moment to discuss your recently published book, ”Looking Back, Moving Forward. Transformation and Ethical Practice in the Ghanaian Church of Pentecost.” Can you first talk about the journey that led you to study Christianity among Ghanaians in both London and Ghana?

Girish: Sure, I must admit that my love for research and my love for anthropology were not located in the anthropology of Christianity at the time of starting my PhD. The motivation for my research came out of strong interest in a place – Ghana – and its people. I was interested in religion but not necessarily focused on one type of religion per se. Also, I was very curious about the Ghanaian diaspora because migration is also part of my own personal history. I made the decision of working with Ghanaians but rather than going to Ghana, I chose to stay in London. Then I started looking for a space in London where Ghanaians would gather. It was a very difficult task because most Ghanaians I knew were very busy people with family obligations and multiple jobs. Eventually I started going to different Ghanaian Christian fellowships until someone told me about the Church of Pentecost (COP), which he described as the largest Protestant church in Ghana. I joined one of their English Sunday services in Dagenham, London, which became my home for the next several months before I felt the urge to spend more time with COP in Ghana. They were very welcoming, I thought it was a perfect location to do my research, and the Ghanaian Christian diaspora became a fascinating subject which I could not turn away from. So the Ghanaian diaspora project became a Ghanaian Christian diaspora project. I became focused on how Ghanaians located themselves in the Christian world, both in Ghana and in the UK, as well as how the Christian or the Pentecostal Christian identity was important both in their personal lives as well as for their future aspirations for change.

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Aderibigbe, “African Initiated Churches and African Immigrants”

Aderibigbe, Ibigbolade.  2015. African Initiated Churches and African Immigrants in the United States: A Model in the Redeemed Christian Church of God, North America (RCCGNA).  In, Contemporary Perspectives on Religions in Africa and the African Diaspora. Ibigbolade Aderibigbe and Carolyn M. Jones Medine, ed.  New York: Palgrave MacMillan. Pp. 241-258.

Abstract: The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), North America, constitutes a graphic model of a transnational African Initiated Christian Church organization. The Church was founded in Nigeria in 1952. Though it started out as an apocalyptic movement, in classical parishes’ format, it has become an upwardly mobile functional Christian denomination in model parishes’ format. It is in this structure that the church has become transnational, having been transplanted to different parts of the world, including North America, where it now has well over 400 parishes.

Abraham, “Christian hip hop as pedagogy”

Abraham, Ibrahim.  2015. Christian hip hop as pedagogy: a South African case study.  Journal of Beliefs and Values.  Early online publication.

Abstract: Drawing on interviews with creators of Christian hip hop music in South Africa, this article demonstrates that this genre of popular music and youth culture is utilised as a form of pedagogy to transmit religious beliefs and values to contemporary youth. The pedagogical aspects of hip hop have been recognised in research on the topic, but the religious pedagogical uses of hip hop have been under-analysed within the social sciences. After outlining the global development of hip hop as a pedagogical practice, this article will demonstrate that, under the influence of North American Evangelicalism, South African Christian hip hop attempts to promote Evangelical orthodoxy and orthopraxy in response to the secular and religious practices of South African youth.

Walking Where Jesus Walked: Book Review

Kaell, Hillary. 2014. Walking Where Jesus Walked: American Christians and Holy Land Pilgrimage. New York: NYU Press.

By: Jackie Feldman (Ben Gurion University)

“On each trip, certain interpenetrations are articulated and shaped by group leaders, Many, however, are not. At the back of the bus, pilgrims make the experience meaningful in ways that guides and tour operators may not expect and cannot predict. Pilgrims keep these deeply felt connections to themselves, and they color each trip in very personal ways.” (Kaell 2014: 80)

Although I have been working with American Holy Land pilgrims for over three decades, both as anthropologist and as tour guide, Hillary Kaell’s book surprised me. The perspective she has chosen – accompanying and talking with women before, during and after the voyage – places the voyage within a longue durée that was invisible to me as tour guide, and only partially visible as researcher. Rather than privilege the narratives spoken into bus microphones by guides and pastors/priests, Kaell places her microphone with the woman in the back, who rarely expresses her desires or thoughts in public on the tour. This perspective is a useful corrective to scholars who focus on ecclesiastical guidelines, sermons, recited public prayers, guides’ explanations, and the goals made explicit by the pilgrim/tour industry or the pastors who organize and lead groups. Kaell’s concentration on the lived experience of 50-75 year-old Catholic and evangelical American women traveling to the Holy Land demonstrates how the geographical, political or even biblical context of the sites and routes of the Holy Land may serve as the background for an intensely personal trajectory. This personal path is a continuation of the home lives of ‘middle-old’ aged women, who make up a major portion of Holy Land pilgrims. Without ignoring denominational distinctions, Kaell reminds us that the pilgrimage experience is rooted in profoundly American, (mainly) middle-class values that cut across traditional religious lines. Continue reading

Rivera, “Brazilian Pentecostalism in Peru”

Rivera, Dario Paulo Barrera. 2013. Brazilian Pentecostalism in Peru: Affinities between the Social and Cultural Conditions of Andean Migrants and the Religious Worldview of the Pentecostal Church “God is Love.” In The Diaspora of Brazilian Religions, eds. Cristina Rocha and Manuel A. Vasquez, 117-136. London: Brill.

McAlister, “Humanitarian Adhocracy, Transnational New Apostolic Missions, and Evangelical Anti-Dependency in a Haitian Refugee Camp”

McAlister, Elizabeth. 2013. Humanitarian Adhocracy, Transnational New Apostolic Missions, and Evangelical Anti-Dependency in a Haitian Refugee Camp. Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions 16(4):11-34.

Abstract: This article addresses religious responses to disaster by examining how one network of conservative evangelical Christians reacted to the Haiti earthquake and the humanitarian relief that followed. The charismatic Christian New Apostolic Reformation (or Spiritual Mapping movement) is a transnational network that created the conditions for post-earthquake, internally displaced Haitians to arrive at two positions that might seem contradictory. On one hand, Pentecostal Haitian refugees used the movement’s conservative, right-wing theology to develop a punitive theodicy of the quake as God’s punishment of a sinful nation. On the other hand, rather than resign themselves to victimhood and passivity, their strict moralism allowed these evangelical refugees to formulate an uncompromising critique of the Haitian government, the United Nations peacekeeping mission, and foreign humanitarian relief. They rejected material humanitarian aid when possible and developed a stance of Christian self-sufficiency, anti-foreign-aid, and anti-dependency. They accepted visits only from American missionaries with “spiritual,” and not material, missions, and they launched their own missions to parts of Haiti unaffected by the quake.

Kreinath & Silcott: “Introduction: Politics of faith in Asia: Local and global perspectives of Christianity in Asia”

Kreinath, Jens & William Silcott. 2013. Introduction: Politics of faith in Asia: Local and global perspectives of Christianity in Asia. Culture and Religion: An Interdisciplinary Journal 14(2):180-184.

Abstract: This collection of papers is the result of research presented at the 2010 meeting of the American Academy of Religion in Atlanta, Georgia, sponsored by the Comparative Studies of Religion section. The set of papers resulting from the panel, Politics of Faith in Asia: Local and Global Perspectives of Christianity in Asia, presents findings from a diverse array of cultural areas and historical contexts across the Asian continent. All of these are connected by a focus on the intersection of Christianity and the political organisation in Asian societies. Although each paper focuses primarily on the continued encounter of Protestant, Evangelical Christianity and local religions, the definition and scope of the political milieu differ considerably. Moving from local communities in a small Indian town, through the growing global connections of religious groups in the Philippines, to the global and national politics of South Korea, the set addresses a multitude of political levels, be they governmental or the processes of everyday interactions.