The Trump administration has focused policy on aiding persecuted Middle Eastern Christians, and the Copts have figured prominently in such initiatives. Although Copts stand as the exemplary Christian victims of Islamic terrorism within such circles, their struggles as people of color and migrants in the age of Donald Trump are not alleviated by their privileged status among Christian leaders and Western policymakers. Along with other communities of color, they face discrimination because of their racial difference from white America, and Copts encounter the same sort of targeted profiling and hate crimes as do their American Muslim counterparts, racialized and securitized after 9/11.
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.
Abstract: Based on over four years of ethnographic research in an Afro-Caribbean Pentecostal Church in Brooklyn, this article focuses on the process of becoming a religious seeker, or what I call a God hunter, towards conversion to a Pentecostal tongue-speaking church. Becoming a God hunter requires knowing the causes that explain religious seekership, the invariable sequence of interrelated events that are part of the process. It also requires gaining insight into motives at each stage in the process where potential converts arrive at their final decision to search for a religious group. This requires moving beyond a single set of essential variables, like crisis, or providing normative explanations to the motivation to become a religious seeker. Rather, this work explains the series of steps in a sequence of events that have a long and complex story in which individuals arrive at a point of convergence and decide to embark on a religious search. This article challenges the concept of crisis, used in both old and new scholarly models, to explain why someone decides to become a religious seeker. Final attention is given to the relevancy of continued academic debates on whether active or passive forces drive these individual decisions towards seekership.
Publisher’s Description: Migrant Hearts and the Atlantic Return examines contemporary migration in the context of a Roman Catholic Church eager to both comprehend and act upon the movements of peoples. Combining extensive fieldwork with lay and religious Latin American migrants in Rome and analysis of the Catholic Church’s historical desires and anxieties around conversion since the period of colonization, Napolitano sketches the dynamics of a return to a faith’s putative center. Against a Eurocentric notion of Catholic identity, Napolitano shows how the Americas reorient Europe.
Napolitano examines both popular and institutional Catholicism in the celebrations of the Virgin of Guadalupe and El Senor de los Milagros, papal encyclicals, the Latin American Catholic Mission, and the order of the Legionaries of Christ. Tracing the affective contours of documented and undocumented immigrants’ experiences and the Church’s multiple postures toward transnational migration, she shows how different ways of being Catholic inform constructions of gender, labor, and sexuality whose fault lines intersect across contemporary Europe.
Abstract: Addressing the paradoxes of gender in Pentecostal churches attended by converts of African or Latin-American origin in Brussels, it is argued that religious and migratory experiences are intimately intermingled in these spaces and that, in most cases, the geographical shift experienced by male believers has led to questions regarding their “traditional” masculinity. Their capacity to hold the role of breadwinner has often been undermined and they experience a kind of vulnerability against which religious gendered ideology often provides assurance and self-esteem by affirming men as heads of the religious space and chiefs of the household unit. Pentecostal masculinity, although adhering to a model of hegemonic patriarchal masculinity regarding the sexual division of domestic tasks, the recognition of men’s formal authority, and an exclusive focus on young women as the purity “capital” of churches, also reveals significant ruptures with that model: religious discourse values domestic involvement, sensibility and gentleness, encouraged and valorised as masculine characteristics. This hybrid posture of Pentecostal masculinity appears as a contrasted gender repertoire allowing men of the church to oscillate between various identifications and social locations according to specific situations and different contexts of enunciation.
While many issues about the entrepreneurial engagements of African-Caribbean (AC) have been discussed in the literature; there is far less studies documented about the link of these activities to faith, especially in the context of Pentecostalism. Hence, this research unravels how membership of Pentecostal fellowships aids the entrepreneurial activities of AC members.
Adopting the interpretive research paradigm, a total of 25 tape-recorded, semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with AC entrepreneurs who are members of Pentecostal faith-based organisations in London, and Pastors in this same sphere. 16 of the respondents are entrepreneurs running and managing their businesses while seven are Pastors, and the remaining two fall in both categories as they are both entrepreneurs and still serving as Pastors in churches in London. Rather than merely serving as gatekeepers for information, the pastors are active participants/respondents in the study.
The paper highlights the challenges confronting the African-Caribbean ethnic entrepreneurs but also suggests that those in the Pentecostal faith are motivated and emboldened by the shared values in this religion to navigate the volatile marketing environment. It unveils participants’ faith in God as their key business survival strategy. It also shows the unwavering confidence of the respondents that this religious stance results in outstanding business successes like increase in sales and profits, competitive edge, divine creativity and innovation, opportunity recognition, networks, institutional support and other factors that underpin entrepreneurship.
This study unpacks the thickly blurred link between Pentecostalism as a thriving religious orientation among the African-Caribbean ethnic group in the UK and their entrepreneurial engagements.
Abstract: This article explores how undocumented Peruvian laborers have established a significant presence within some of Korea’s powerful evangelical churches through their identification of respuestas (answers or signs) from God. Many Peruvians arrived in Korea in the early 1990s on their way to more profitable labor destinations, such as Japan or Europe, but stayed after finding factory work. Through their conversions to Protestantism in Korea, they have begun to identify events such as unplanned pregnancies or their ability to evade deportation as signs that their migration to Korea was predestined. Through promoting their respuestas to various audiences, Peruvians not only recast their unlikely migration as predestined but change their own status from being economic laborers to recognized leaders within Korean churches. Korean church leaders embrace Peruvians and respuestas as a way to promote their church’s own cosmopolitan image and desires for launching global missions to locations such as Peru. As such, respuestas are a common framework through which migrants and church leaders co-create their global aspirations and experiences.
Saint-Blancet, Chantal and Adriano Cancellieri. 2014. “From invisibility to visibility?: The appropriation of public space through a religious ritual: the Filipino procession of Santacruzan in Padua, Italy. Social & Cultural Geography. Early online publication.
Abstract: Mainly employed as domestic workers and care providers since the 1980s, Filipino migrants have been, and still are, largely invisible in Italian public space. Since 1991, once a year, on the last Sunday of May, they transform the streets of Padua, city of Saint Anthony, into their own temporary ‘sacred space’ celebrating the finding of the Holy Cross (Santa Cruz). Based on ethnographic research and in-depth interviews, the paper analyses the preparation of the ritual and the embodied performance as a means to interpret the Filipino local and transnational territorialisation in the Italian context. The discussion underlines how the Italian setting affects the relationship between the sacred and the secular and between majority and minority religions in the urban texture. Urban space being the symbolic arena where identity and the process of boundary making are inscribed, we consider public space as a social process constituted by three levels: accessibility, temporary appropriation and visibility. Drawing on this immigrant religious ritual, we apply this perspective to look at the interactions between local society and newcomers and the blurring boundaries between religious and non-religious in the ambiguous Italian public space.
Publisher’s Description: In a richly illustrated, revelatory study of Philadelphia’s Germantown Avenue, home to a diverse array of more than 90 Christian and Muslim congregations, Katie Day explores the formative and multifaceted role of religious congregations within an urban environment. Germantown Avenue cuts through Philadelphia for eight and a half miles, from the affluent neighborhood of Chestnut Hill through the high crime section known as “the Badlands.” The congregations along this route range from the wealthiest to the poorest populations in Philadelphia. Some congregants are immigrants who find safety and support in close fellowship, while others are long-time residents whose congregations work actively to provide social services. Cities undergo constant change, and their congregations change with them. As Day observes, some congregations have sprung up in former commercial strips, harboring new arrivals and recreating a sense of home, and others form an anchor for a neighborhood across generations, providing a connection to the past and a hope of stability for the future. Drawing on years of research, in-depth interviews with religious leaders and congregants, and a wealth of demographic data, Day demonstrates the powerful influence cities exert on their congregations, and the surprising and important impact congregations have on their urban environment.
Publisher’s Description: Between 1999 and 2000, sectarian fighting fanned across the eastern Indonesian province of North Maluku, leaving thousands dead and hundreds of thousands displaced. What began as local conflicts between migrants and indigenous people over administrative boundaries spiraled into a religious war pitting Muslims against Christians and continues to influence communal relationships more than a decade after the fighting stopped. Christopher R. Duncan spent several years conducting fieldwork in North Maluku, and in Violence and Vengeance, he examines how the individuals actually taking part in the fighting understood and experienced the conflict.
Rather than dismiss religion as a facade for the political and economic motivations of the regional elite, Duncan explores how and why participants came to perceive the conflict as one of religious difference. He examines how these perceptions of religious violence altered the conflict, leading to large-scale massacres in houses of worship, forced conversions of entire communities, and other acts of violence that stressed religious identities. Duncan’s analysis extends beyond the period of violent conflict and explores how local understandings of the violence have complicated the return of forced migrants, efforts at conflict resolution and reconciliation.