A preliminary programme is now available and registration is open for the memorial conference in honour of John McCracken and Jack Thompson.
Click here to register.
Click here for a pdf version of the programme.
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
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
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
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
Appropriations of Christianity
The five main articles in this issue have been selected from papers given at the 2016 meeting of the Yale-Edinburgh Group on the history of the missionary movement and world Christianity, held at New College, Edinburgh, from 23 to 25 June 2016. The theme of the conference was ‘Responses to Missions: Appropriations, Revisions, and Rejections’. Perhaps the most significant shift discernible in the historiography of the missionary movement over the last few decades has been the progressive transfer of scholarly attention from the Western missionaries themselves to indigenous hearers, receptors and agents. Responses to missions were almost always multifaceted and only rarely can be described without qualification as either ‘acceptance’ or ‘rejection’. Indigenous peoples responded selectively to both the missionaries’ presence and their message. Sometimes they welcomed the former, for a variety of instrumental reasons, while being obstinately indifferent to the latter. On other occasions – particularly in the twentieth century – they appropriated the gospel itself while being less than enthusiastic about the continued presence and claims to religious authority of those who had first brought it. Continue reading
In scenes played out all over Britain, men, women, and children sat in darkened church halls mesmerised by missionary photographs projected on white walls or make-shift screens. Before the average British citizen could see pictures from all over the world on a mobile phone or a home computer, these kinds of presentations were the closest most of them would ever come to seeing other parts of the world. Their conceptions of far-off places were shaped in large part by these slide shows given by missionaries trying to enlist the support of congregations at home.
The Centre for the Study of World Christianity has thousands of these images in its collection of material relating to the history of world Christianity and the missionary movement. Documenting the spread of Christianity outside of the West has been a major part of the Centre’s work since Andrew Walls founded it in 1982. After working as an archivist for more than fourteen years, the Centre’s archives were an important part of my decision to study here. One of the first things I did after I arrived was meet with the Centre’s archivist, Kirsty Stewart, to discuss material relevant to my project. Continue reading