van Dijk et al, eds, “Religion and AIDS Treatment in Africa “

 van Dijk, Rijk, Hansjörg Dilger, Marian Burchardt, and Thera Rasing, eds.  Religion and AIDS Treatment in Africa: Saving Souls, Prolonging Lives.  Surrey: Ashgate. 

Publisher’s Description: This book critically interrogates emerging intertconnections between religion and biomedicine in Africa in the era of antiretroviral treatment for AIDS. Highlighting the complex relationships between religious ideologies, practices and organizations on the one hand, and biomedical treatment programmes and the scientific languages and public health institutions that sustain them on the other, this anthology charts largely uncovered terrain in the social science study of the Aids epidemic.

Spanning different regions of Africa, the authors offer unique access to issues at the interface of religion and medical humanitarianism and the manifold therapeutic traditions, religious practices and moralities as they co-evolve in situations of AIDS treatment. This book also sheds new light on how religious spaces are formed in response to the dilemmas people face with the introduction of life-prolonging treatment programmes.

Contents:

Introduction: religion and AIDS-treatment in Africa: the redemptive moment, Hansjörg Dilger, Marian Burchardt and Rijk van Dijk.

Part I Agency, Subjectivity, and Authority:

Fashioning selves and fashioning styles: negotiating the personal and the rhetorical in the experiences of African recipients of ARV treatment, Felicitas Becker

The logic of therapeutic habitus: culture, religion and biomedical AIDS treatments in South Africa, Marian Burchardt

‘A blessing in disguise’: the art of surviving HIV/AIDS as a member of the Zionist Christian Church in South Africa, Bjarke Oxlund

‘God has again remembered us!’: Christian identity and men’s attitudes to antiretroviral therapy in Zambia, Anthony Simpson.

Part II Contesting Therapeutic Domains and Practices

Prophetic medicine, antiretrovirals, and the therapeutic economy of HIV in northern Nigeria, Jack Ume Tocco

‘Silent nights, anointing days’: post-HIV test religious experiences in Ghana, Benjamin Kobina Kwansa

The blood of Jesus and CD4 counts: dreaming, developing and navigating therapeutic options for curing HIV/AIDS in Tanzania, Dominik Mattes.

Part III Emergent Organizational Forms in Times of ART

Societal dynamics, state relations, and international connections: influences on Ghanaian and Zambian church mobilization in AIDS treatment, Amy S. Patterson

The role of religious institutions in the district-level governance of anti-retroviral treatment in western Uganda, A.M.J. Leusenkamp

Negotiating holistic care with the ‘rules’ of ARV treatment in a Catholic community-based organization in Kampala, Louise Mubanda Rasmussen

Notions of efficacy around a Chinese medicinal plant: Artemesia annua – an innovative AIDS therapy in Tanzania, Caroline Meier zu Biesen

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

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.

Bochow & van Dijk, “Christian Creations of New Spaces of Sexuality, Reproduction, and Relationships in Africa: Exploring Faith and Religious Heterotopia”

Bochow, Astrid and Rijk van Dijk. 2012. “Christian Creations of New Spaces of Sexuality, Reproduction, and Relationships in Africa: Exploring Faith and Religious Heterotopia.” Journal of Religion in Africa 42(4):325-344.

Abstract: In many African societies today Christian churches, Pentecostals in particular, are an important source of information on sexuality, relationships, the body, and health, motivated in part by the HIV/AIDS pandemic but also related to globally circulating ideas and images that make people rethink gender relations and identities through the lens of ‘romantic love’. Contextualizing the contemporary situation in the history of Christian movements in Africa, and by applying Foucault’s notion of heterotopia, this introduction and the subsequent papers show that Christian doctrines and practices are creating social spaces of altering relational ethics, identities and gender roles that appeal especially to upwardly mobile women.

Freeman, “Pentecostalism and Development: Churches, NGOs and Social Change in Africa”

Freeman, Dena, ed.  (2012) Pentecostalism and Development: Churches, NGOs and Social Change in Africa. New York: Palgrave McMillan. 

Publisher’s description: The practice and discipline of development was founded on the belief that religion was not important to development processes. As societies developed and modernised, it was assumed that they would also undergo a process of secularisation. However, the prominence of religion in many countries and its effects on people’s social, political and economic activities calls this assumption into question. Pentecostal Christianity has spread rapidly throughout Africa since the 1980s and has been a major force for change. This book explains why and shows how Pentecostalism articulates with local level development processes. As well as exploring the internal model of ‘development’ which drives Pentecostal organisations, contributors compare Pentecostal churches and secular NGOs as different types of contemporary development agents and discern the different ways in which they bring about change. At the heart of this book, then, is an exploration of processes of individual and social transformation, and their relevance to understandings of the successes and failures of development.