Conference: African Lived Christianity – Faith, Ritual and Power

African Lived Christianity – Faith, Ritual and Power

Lund University, CTR
16 – 18 March 2016

The thematic focus of this conference is on the lived experiences of
African Christianity, on how religion and religious experience are part
of the understanding and explanation of social reality in Africa. By
taking this thematic focus, we wish to overcome the dividing lines in
the study of African Christianity between theology and the social
sciences. We seek to engage with an emerging literature that combines
the analysis of religious experience and faith with an analysis of how
African Christianity feeds into constellations of power hierarchies and
social relationships of dependency, reciprocity and mutuality. One of
the aims is to build interpretative bridges between African enchanted
worldviews and Western academic interpretations and to add to an
emerging dialogue between anthropology and theology.

Within the social science literature the growth of newer African
independent churches (charismatic, Pentecostal, evangelical) has often
been understood as a reaction to changed socio-economic circumstances
such as increased liberalization, modernization, and individualization.
At the same time, scholarly work on African theology or theology in
relation to Christianity in Africa tend to focus merely on ethical and
philosophical issues and hence only in a limited way engaging with
experiences of lived Christianity in Africa.

By focusing on faith, ritual and power, the conference draws attention
to religious experiences and perceptions of faith, to the practices of
religion as well as to the social hierarchies into which religion
enters. African theological interpretations of lived religion are
fertile ground for analyzing and discussing the encounter between
anthropology and theology as well as between African enchanted
worldviews and Western academic interpretations. In other words, we need
this dialogue between anthropology and theology to analyze everyday
experiences and interpretations of Christianity in Africa and to include
the intellectual work and grassroots theology that takes place within

Confirmed plenary speakers

Elias Bongmba (Rice University)
Naomi Haynes (Edinburgh University)
Isabel Mukonyora (West Kentucky University)
Niels Kastfelt (Copenhagen University)
Galia Sabar (Tel Aviv University)
Päivi Hasu (Helsinki University)
Tomas Sundnes Drønen (Stavanger School of Mission and Theology)
Karen Lauterbach (Copenhagen University)
Mika Vähäkangas (Lund University)

The conference is free of charge but the participants are supposed to
cover for their travel, accommodation and meals.

The conference is funded by:

Lunds missionssällskap
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond

For registration please use this link (register on the left side of
conference webpage: