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Locating religion: mapping world Christianities in the modern era


The geographical and cultural location of Christian belief and practice has been a recurring theme in scholarship on global Christianity. Christianity has a profound capacity for translation into local cultures through vernacular scriptures and the agency of its converts.

But Christians also grasp that their faith has come from another time and place, and that their practice does not meet its ultimate normative standards. This gap between religion and society means that analysis of Christianity can never be purely contextual or functional.

This CRASSH-sponsored and hosted research network brings together participants from a variety of Faculties within Cambridge, as well as from the LSE, London. It will explore the tensions of ‘locating religion’ in a variety of ways. We will seek to identity methods of describing religious particularity without leaning upon reified notions of the ‘local’; to account for European and American influence in the production of religious knowledge without exaggerating Western agency; to attend to large-scale religious networks while taking note of specific commitments formed in and to particular regions.

Finally, participants aim to begin to construct a new topography of Christianity: to chart the multi-layered intersections and exchanges between Christian communities and individuals within and between Asia, Africa, Latin America and Oceania, thereby avoiding a stale dichotomy of Western metropole versus non-Western periphery, while simultaneously refocusing scholarly attention on the role of alternative hubs of religious activity and agency in these regions.


Mondays, 1:30-3:30pm, CRASSH, Alison Richards Building, Cambridge

*If you are interested in attending, please contact either  or  as the number of participants is limited. 

Michaelmas Term

All seminars held in Room SG1, Alison Richard Building. 

Monday 20 October: Ankur Barrua (Divinity, Cambridge):  'Interreligious Dialogue, Christian Comparative Theology and the Alterity of Hindu Thought’

Monday 3 November: Tim Jenkins (Divinity, Cambridge): ‘Issues in the Study of Spiritualism’

Monday 17 November: David Maxwell (History, Cambridge): ‘The Invention of Lubaland: Missionary Science and Christian Literacy in the Making of Luba ethnicity in Katanga, Belgian Congo'

Monday 1 December: Joel Cabrita (Divinity, Cambridge): ‘Christian Divine Healing and British Imperial Networks in Johannesburg, South Africa’

Lent Term

All seminars held in Room 204, 2nd Floor, Alison Richard Building (Centre for Latin American Studies meeting room). A poster is available for this term.

Monday 26 January 2015: Jörg Haustein (Study of Religions, SOAS), 'Colonialism, Christianity, and Islam in Tanganyika: Locating Christian Missions in the German Colonial Project' 

No seminar 9 February 2015

Monday 23 February 2015: Andrea Grant (Anthropology, Cambridge), 'Spiritual temporalities and the new Pentecostal churches in Rwanda: Affect, silence, and noise'

Monday 9 March 2015: Gabriela Ramos (History, Cambridge), 'The Body in Words: Sacred Oratory in Seventeenth Century Peru.'

Easter Term

Programme to be announced.