W029
African Christianities in Europe: the politics of religious recognition

Convenors:
Simon Coleman (University of Toronto)
Ramon Sarró (University of Oxford)
Chair:
Simon Coleman and Ramon Sarró
Discussant:
Simon Coleman and Ramon Sarró
Location:
209B
Start time:
28 August, 2008 at 14:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

Through an analysis of how some migrant churches seek recognition within and interact with other forms of Christianity, this panel explores the capacity of African Christian diasporas to reconfigure the European religious heritage, influence local identities and establish international connections.

Long abstract:

The diffusion of Christianity in Africa has been a focus of anthropological research for more than half a century now, and it has proved a promising area in which to develop anthropological theory. Today, the input of African Christianities into anthropology continues and has been augmented with an increasing body of research on how African churches fare in European contexts. Through an ethnographic analysis of local 'politics of recognition', of how some migrant churches seek recognition within and interact with other forms of Christianity, this panel invites researchers to explore the capacity of African Christian diasporas to reconfigure the European religious heritage, influence national and regional identities within the continent, and establish connections both across Europe and between Europe and Africa. Some of the questions that could frame our panel are: 1. Does religion serve as a resource for social and spiritual empowerment of African Christian migrants in European societies, for instance in relation to civil participation and social action? 2. How do African migrants and hosts, in particular 'European' churches, interact with each other in terms of a 'politics of recognition' and 'culture politics'? More generally, how useful is the concept of 'recognition' in understanding both the aspirations and the 'reception' of such migrant churches? 3. What is the place of religion in the interplay between African migration and gender politics?