Roeland, et al. “Can We Dance In This Place?”

Johan Roeland, Miranda Klaver, Marten van der Meulen, Remco van Mulligen, Hijme Stoffels, Peter Versteeg.  2012.  “Can we dance in this place?”: Body Practices and Forms of Embodiment in Four Decades of Dutch Evangelical Youth Events.  Journal of Contemporary Religion.  27(2): 241-256.

Abstract: This article describes the developments of the EO Youth Day, a Dutch Christian mass event that attracts thousands of young people every year. It is argued that in the course of time, the EO Youth Day has changed from a modest and sober event characterized by a Calvinist outlook to an expressive ‘hip’ event with an evangelical swing. This change becomes especially visible when the first versions of the EO Youth Day in the 1970s are compared with more recent ones—a comparison we shall make in this article. Central to this change is the way the body is addressed and referred to in what we call the ‘forms of embodiment’ offered at the EO Youth Day. Evidence for this is provided by an explorative empirical study of four EO Youth Days—those organized in 1977, 1987, 1999, and 2008.

Engelke, “Angels in Swindon: Public religion and ambient faith in England”

Engelke, Matthew (2012) “Angels in Swindon: Public religion and ambient faith in England” American Ethnologist 39(1):155-170

Abstract: this article, I introduce the idea of “ambient faith” in an effort to clarify the stakes in long-standing debates about public and private religion. I take as my starting point the increasingly common recognition that conceptual distinctions between publicity and privacy are difficult to maintain in the first place and that they are, in any case, always relative. The idea of “ambient faith,” which I connect to work on the turn to a materialist semiotics, can serve as both a critique of and supplement to the ideas of “public” and “private” religion. Introducing ambience—the sense of ambience—allows one to raise important questions about the processes through which faith comes to the foreground or stays in the background—the extent to which faith, in other words, goes public or stays private. I use my research on a Christian organization in England, the Bible Society of England and Wales, to illuminate these points, discussing the society’s campaign in 2006 to bring angels to Swindon and its promotion of Bible reading in coffee shops. I also consider Brian Eno’s music and recent advertising trends for additional insights into the notion of “ambience.”

Farhadian, “Introducing World Christianity”

Farhadian, Charles E.  (2012) Introducing World Christianity. Madden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Publisher’s Description: This interdisciplinary introduction offers students a truly global overview of the worldwide spread and impact of Christianity. It is enriched throughout by detailed historic and ethnographic material, showing how broad themes within Christianity have been adopted and adapted by Christian denominations within each major region of the world.

  • Provides a comprehensive overview of the spread and impact of world Christianity
  • Contains studies from every major region of the world, including Africa, Asia, Latin America, the North Atlantic, and Oceania
  • Brings together an international team of contributors from history, sociology, and anthropology, as well as religious studies
  • Examines the significant social, cultural, and political transformations in contemporary societies brought about through the influence of Christianity
  • Takes a non-theological approach, focusing instead on the impact of and response to Christianity
  • Discusses Protestant, Evangelical, Catholic, and Orthodox forms of the faith
  • Features useful maps and illustrations
  • Combines broader discussions with detailed regional analysis, creating an invaluable introduction to world Christianity

This is an engaging multidisciplinary introduction to the worldwide spread and impact of Christianity. Bringing together chapters from leading scholars in history, sociology, anthropology, and religious studies, this book examines the major transformations in contemporary societies brought about through the influence of Christianity.

Each chapter shows how the broad themes within Christianity have been adopted and adapted by Christian denominations within each major region of the world. In this way, the book paints a global picture of the impact of Christianity, enriched by detailed historic and ethnographic material for each particular region. Throughout, the chapters examine Protestant, Evangelical, Catholic and Orthodox forms of Christianity. The combination of broader perspectives and deep analysis of particular regions, illuminating the social, cultural, political, and religious features of changes brought about by Christianity, makes this book essential reading for students of world Christianity.