About CSWCEdinburgh

The Centre for the Study of World Christianity (formerly, the Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World) is a research centre in the School of Divinity in the University of Edinburgh.

Studies in World Christianity 28.2

World Christianity and Reciprocal Exchange

Edited by Afe Adogame, Raimundo Barreto and Richard F. Young

There is sometimes an assumption that Christianity operates, grows and develops in a historical, social, cultural, political and religious silo or context. This is hardly the case. Christianity, past and present, has shaped all geographical, religious and cultural contexts in which it has found itself, but all these various contexts, cultures and religious traditions have in turn also had an impact on Christianity in manifold ways. An exploration of this reciprocal interaction is important for our global age. Christians once viewed the world in split-screen mode: there was Europe, the centre of the faith, and there was the rest of the world with large swaths of non-Christian lands that were ripe for the work of missionaries. However, over the last century an enormous growth in Christianity across the Global South and a drop in the proportion of Europeans and Americans who identify as Christian has upended that perspective. The centre of gravity has shifted from the Global North, serving notice that the future of the faith will look increasingly diverse and dynamic.

The study of World Christianity seeks to understand how Christian communities embody historical and cultural experiences locally and globally; as such, it fosters the study of both local and translocal ways of knowing and doing. Thus, World Christianity hardly exists in a historical and socio-cultural vacuum; it encounters, affects, and is in turn impacted by local, indigenous worldviews, religions and cultures. The complex historical and socio-cultural encounters of worldviews, religions and cultures at the root of Christian communities in a variety of contexts demand further understanding and analysis. The selected, peer-reviewed essays in this issue, originally presented at Princeton’s Third International Conference (2021), explore and reflect on such a diversity of local, indigenous expressions and experiences of Christianity, their encounter with other religious traditions, and the variety of ways they interact with one another critically and constructively across time and space. While based on case studies, they focus on ethnographic practices and new methodological directions. Common themes addressed include conversion, translation, identity, missions, materiality, migration, diaspora, intercultural theology and interreligious dialogue.

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The Andrew Walls Fellowships

Professor Andrew F. Walls

The Andrew Walls Fellowships have been established in honour of our colleague Professor Andrew Finlay Walls, OBE and will provide visiting Fellowships for African scholars at the University of Edinburgh, to further research into African Christianity.

The University of Edinburgh is committing seed funding for this initiative, and we are seeking further support from individuals and organisations to enable the Fellowships to be established over several years. Our aim is to raise sufficient funds to launch the Fellowship programme in 2023.

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Fleeing the Hotspots #COP26

On November 16, 2021, Dr Ruth Padilla DeBorst delivered the Alexander Duff Lecture as part of COP26, entitled “Fleeing the hot spots: Climate change, migration and mission.” Her lecture was followed by responses from two World Christianity PhD students, Nuam Hatzaw and Alec Simpson, and a time of discussion.

The Alexander Duff Lecture was sponsored by the Church of Scotland, and cohosted by the Centre for the Study of World Christianity and the Centre for Theology and Public Issues.

If you are unable to access the video above from YouTube, you can also try watching it from the University of Edinburgh’s Media Hopper service.

The Theatre of Conversion

On November 2, 2021, Professor Anthony Clark (Whitworth University) delivered a paper entitled “The Theatre of Conversion: Catholic Drama and the (Re)presentation of China,” speaking about the Jesuit mission to China during the late-Qing that employed the dramatization of Boxer era Christian martyrs to “canonize China” as an East Asian holy land.

If you are unable to access the video above from YouTube, you can also try watching it from the University of Edinburgh’s Media Hopper service.