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CFP: “Pentecostals and the Body”

Volume 8: Pentecostals and the Body
Forthcoming 2017
Edited by: Michael Wilkinson (Trinity Western University, Canada) and Peter Althouse (Southeastern University, USA)

The body is an important area of research in sociology as well as across a number of disciplines including religion. The intersection of religion, sexuality, gender studies, queer studies, disability studies, health and illness, pain, death and dying, emotions, and embodiment, or more specifically the social and cultural meanings of the body are especially insightful. While literature on embodiment continues to expand, to date, there is no sustained examination of Pentecostalism and the themes associated with research on the body. And yet, Pentecostals offer some very interesting observations about religion, religious experience, religious embodiment, healing, sexuality and notions of control, holiness, and celebration. Pentecostals are well known for
overt bodily expressions of religious experience, spirituality that includes kinesthetic worship such as speaking in tongues, dancing, twirling, and falling down. Among Pentecostals there is also
considerable debate about bodies, the relationship between bodies and the Holy Spirit, possession of evil spirits, deliverance and exorcism.

Pentecostalism also has a long history of claiming divine healing for the body and emotions. Believing that healing is a sign of divine power and presence raises a certain tension with bodies that never experience healing or face some type of disability. Pentecostalism is also associated with notions of sexuality, and gender roles that are liberating and limiting. Generally, we intend to explore the following: How and by what means is Pentecostalism embodied? What debates highlight the tensions over bodies and so called authentic expressions of Pentecostalism vis-à-vis the body and the politics of the body? What is the social processes and social interactions by which bodies embody religion?

To explore these issues we propose to include articles around the following themes.

  1. The Kinesthetic Body – Pentecostals and charismatic worship, speaking in tongues, dreams, and visions.
  2. Bodies and Spirit(s) – Pentecostal notions of being filled with the Holy Spirit and deliverance of other spirits.
  3. Health, Illness, and Disability – Pentecostals and the practice of healing and discourses around illness and death.
  4. The Politics of Sexuality and Gender Roles – Pentecostalism as liberating and limiting for bodies, social control and gender roles, sexuality and notions of holiness/purity of body.

The editors will seek out contributors who can address questions raised in the sociology of religion about Pentecostalism and the sociology of the body with authors representing regional and cultural variation. Please send all proposals (300 words) to

Submission of proposals: July 30, 2015
Notification of acceptance: September 30, 2015
Completed manuscripts (7,000 words): June 30, 2016