Memorial Conference for John McCracken and Jack Thompson

Politics, Society and Christianity in Malawi and Beyond
A Memorial Conference for John McCracken and Jack Thompson

Thursday 26 April 2018
New College, The Mound, Edinburgh

hosted by
Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh
Centre for the Study of World Christianity, University of Edinburgh
Division of History and Politics, University of Stirling
Scotland-Malawi Partnership

In 2017, two eminent historians whose work focused on Malawi passed away. To
commemorate John and Jack we cordially invite you to attend the conference ‘Politics and Christianity in Malawi and Beyond’ on 26 April 2018. The conference offers an opportunity to reflect on their tremendous contribution to African studies, studies of African Christianity and the historiography of Africa. Further, it provides a platform for younger generations of scholars who have been inspired by John’s and Jack’s work.

The conference invites you to explore key themes in the historical and social scientific study of Africa featuring prominently in John’s and Jack’s research such as the embeddedness of the academy in society both in Africa and the UK; Christianity and power; material and visual culture in Africa; and Malawi and Global History. Continue reading

Studies in World Christianity, Issue 23.3

Spirits of Nationalism, Power and Prophecy

Studies in World Christianity

The four articles published in this issue cover a wide range of geographical contexts – Manchuria and Korea, the colonial Gold Coast (modern Ghana) and London, Sierra Leone, and Rwanda. They also embrace a variety of themes that occur with some frequency in the story of world Christianity over the last century or more – the disruptive or catalytic impact on Western missions and indigenous churches of nationalism and communism, the historical origins and contested influence within the public sphere of Pentecostal styles of Christianity, the significance of migrant churches, and the ambiguous role of the Church in promoting reconciliation following the disaster of ethnic conflict in which too many Christians remained silent. If there is a common thread linking all four articles together, it is the dynamic power for good or ill wielded by new movements that previous generations of Christians would have struggled to recognise or incorporate within their worlds of understanding. Continue reading

Formation of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian

Dr Retief Müller of the University of Stellenbosch

Along with other students, I look forward to the Centre’s weekly research seminars. Each week brings scholars from all over the world. The 7 November seminar brought Dr Retief Müller of the University of Stellenbosch who presented a paper entitled ‘Negotiating (with) the Other: Afrikaners, Scots, and the Formation of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) [Nkhoma Synod]’. In it, Müller examined the role played by missionaries from South Africa’s Dutch Reformed Church in creating the CCAP out of disparate missions, largely of Scottish origin. His presentation was especially interesting to me because my own doctoral thesis also examines aspects of the interactions between Scotland, South Africa, and Nyasaland (present-day Malawi), as well as Northern Rhodesia (Zambia). Continue reading

Middle East Christians: Searching for a ‘Christian Country’

The Middle East’s Christian communities frequently make headlines as they emigrate rapidly from from ancient homelands to Europe and the Americas. The Centre for the Study of World Christianity and the Christian-Muslim Studies Network co-sponsored a discussion that explored the fate of those whose emigration led them to the United Kingdom.

Dr Fiona McCallum, a lecturer in International Relations at the University of St. Andrews, presented findings from the Humanities in the European Research Area project, ‘Defining and Identifying Middle Eastern Christian Communities in Europe’. Dr Fiona McCallum in New College

Dr McCallum’s work found an audience of particular interest at the Centre for World Christianity at New College, where two PhD students have launched research in the fledgling field of Arab Christianity. Continue reading

Prof. Andrew Walls: European Christianity, the Missionary Movement and the Rebirth of World Christianity

Prof. Andrew Walls delivered the lecture ‘European Christianity, the Missionary Movement and the Rebirth of World Christianity’ on 26 September 2017 in the research seminar of the Centre for the Study of World Christianity at the School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh.

Women and the World Church: Second Panel

The Centre for World Christianity co-hosted a one-day conference on ‘Women in the World Church’ to explore the historical and contemporary role of women in global Christianity on 16 September 2017. The title address came from guest scholar Professor Kwok Pui-Lan, an Asian feminist theologian, who focused her remarks on both the women who helped to build the growing Christian communities in the Global South and those of the women missionaries who served them.

As one of a panel of respondents from the field of Arab Christianity, I focused my remarks on a portion of Professor Kwok’s thesis:

The study of the agency of local Christian women must take into consideration the wider social, historical, and political environment in which these women lived.

As I consider the field of the world’s Christianity in which I aim to specialize – contemporary Christianity of the Arab world and of Jordan in particular – I would consider the effects of such environments on local Christian women as well. They have not always affected them, or myself, as I first expected. Continue reading

Women and the World Church: First Panel

I was invited to respond to Professor Kwok Pui-lan’s paper, and share about being a woman in the Zomi church. Professor Kwok highlighted the somewhat contradictory nature of freedom that many missionary women experienced. She noted that although mission work allowed women to have a profession, they were still nonetheless working within the confines of set gender roles and Victorian notions of domesticity. Their work was ‘woman’s work’, and they received low wages if any. For me, as a Zomi woman, her remarks reminded me of the current situation of many women in my community. Continue reading

Prof. Kwok Pui-lan: Women, Mission, and World Christianity

Prof. Kwok Pui-lan delivered the Alexander Duff lecture ‘Women, Mission, and World Christianity’ on 16 September 2017 at the School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh. It was the keynote lecture in the ‘Women and the World Church’ day conference co-sponsored by the Church of Scotland World Mission Council.


For more about the ‘Women and World Church’ conference, you can read about the response panels, authored by Nuam Hatzaw and Lucy Schouten, respectively.