Studies in World Christianity, Issue 24.2

It is a truism to state that Christianity has spread across the world as a result of cross-cultural communication. Andrew Walls, who has done so much to set the approach, research questions and tone of World Christianity studies, has highlighted how scripture and Christian thought are translated into new languages and thought-forms as Christianity spreads. Walls, who celebrates his ninetieth birthday this year, has encouraged attention to the historical processes at work in communication that are examined in this edition of Studies in World Christianity. Between them, the articles in this edition illustrate the variety of form and effectiveness of cross-cultural communication in the modern history of encounter with Christianity. They also show familiar patterns. All these articles prioritise textual and oral communication. Reading, writing, preaching and proclaiming are the main modes of communication under scrutiny. (Continue reading Emma Wild-Wood’s introduction here.) Continue reading

Recap of Memorial Conference for John McCracken and Jack Thompson

To celebrate the work of John McCracken and Jack Thompson, scholars from around the world gathered at a conference in Edinburgh on 26 April. The conference, titled ‘Politics, Society and Christianity in Malawi and Beyond’, brought together emerging and established scholars to discuss some of the important themes in these two men’s work. Speakers presented papers on the academy in society, material and visual culture, Malawi and global history, Christianity and political change in Africa, and Christian missions and the making of modern Malawi. Continue reading

Looking Eastward: The Middle East in the Field of World Christianity

Elizabeth Marteijn is a PhD student at the Centre for the Study of World Christianity, University of Edinburgh. Her research brings together the methods of theology and ethnography in the study of Palestinian Christianity. Her post here continues our series discussing the conference titled ‘Currents, Perspectives, and Methodologies in World Christianity’ at Princeton Theological Seminary held 18–20 January 2018. Our series began with an essay by Jason Bruner on 30 January and continued with a post from Elizabeth on 13 February.

Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

In the field of World Christianity, scholars regularly speak about the ‘global South’ and the ‘global North’. But what about the East? By asking this question, I would like to elaborate on the recent post by Jason Bruner, where he excellently reflected on the thought-provoking World Christianity conference held at Princeton Theological Seminary from 18–20 January. Bruner rightfully highlighted remarks being made about territoriality in the field, that areas like the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and denominations like Orthodoxy and Eastern Christianity have a marginal position. Continue reading

Imagining a Church of Wakanda in Marvel’s Black Panther

Marvel’s Black Panther movie portrays the interesting idea of an African society largely untouched by European colonialism. Introduced to comic-book readers in the 1960s amidst European decolonisation and the US civil rights movement, the fictional Kingdom of Wakanda’s success in resisting forces that would exploit its people and resources was compelling. Movie goers today, when popular depictions portray a war-torn and poverty-stricken continent, find the portrayal of a free African society at the forefront of technological advancement no less compelling. As a scholar of African Christianity and colonialism, the idea of Christianity in this African culture unaffected by colonial influences intrigues me. What would such a Christianity look like? Continue reading

Dr Emma Wild-Wood: Where does the wisdom of the white man come in?

Dr Emma Wild-Wood delivered the lecture ‘Where does the wisdom of the white man come in? The Interpretations, Problems and Possibilities of Missionary Sources in the History of Christianity in Africa’ on 6 February 2018 in the jointly hosted Centre for the Study of World Christianity and History of Christianity research seminars at the School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh.

Questioning a Paradigm: World Christianity

This guest post was written by Dr Jason Bruner, assistant professor of religious studies at Arizona State University, as a reflection on the recent conference “Currents, Perspectives, And Methodologies In World Christianity” held at Princeton Theological Seminary. Dr Bruner’s most recent book is entitled Living Salvation in the East African Revival in Uganda. He can often be found on Twitter @jason_bruner.

Is World Christianity a field, a sub-discipline, an analytical disposition? What are its methods, if any? And where is research in relation to it going at present? I will reflect on these questions in light of the proceedings of a recent conference, convened at Princeton Theological Seminary from January 18-20, 2018, which gathered a remarkable group of scholars from around the world who saw their work as intersecting with World Christianity. Continue reading

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

In Memory of Dr T. Jack Thompson

Professor Brian Stanley remembers Dr T. Jack Thompson (1943–2017), former director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World

It is with great sadness that the School announces the death on 10 August 2017 of Dr T. Jack Thompson. Jack came to New College as Lecturer in Mission Studies in 1993 from the Selly Oak Colleges in Birmingham.  He remained on the staff until December 2008, becoming Senior Lecturer in African Christianity. He served as Director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World (now the Centre for the Study of World Christianity) from 2005 to 2008, and fulfilled a number of key roles in the School, including that of Director of Postgraduate Studies. He was a devoted supervisor of many PhD students in world Christianity. Continue reading

New Appointment: Dr Emma Wild-Wood

The Centre for the Study of World Christianity is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Emma Wild-Wood as our new Senior Lecturer in African Christianity and African Indigenous Religions, with effect from 1 January 2018.

Emma comes to us from Cambridge, where she has been the Director of the Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide and more recently has filled the post of Lecturer in World Christianities in the University’s Faculty of Divinity while the current post-holder has been on a two-year research leave. She also taught in DR Congo and in Uganda for a number of years. Emma did her PhD in the Centre here in Edinburgh under Dr Jack Thompson, so she is returning to familiar territory. Continue reading