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Workshop | Keynotes | Preparatory Readings

WORKSHOP "STUDYING PENTECOSTALISM IN A TRANSCULTURAL PERSPECTIVE"

 

3-5 April, 2014

 

Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies

Cluster of Excellence Asia and Europe in a Global Context at Heidelberg University

Room 212

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Pentecostalism, one of the many faces of contemporary Christianity, is frequently referred to as a “global phenomenon.” Shaped by globalization processes, but also a major contributor to and integral part of broader global transformations, Pentecostal forms of Christianity have shown a remarkable ability to transgress boundaries and adapt to any new cultural contexts. As such, Pentecostalism acts both, as a homogenizing force that transcends locality and as a transformative power of indigenous appropriation and differentiation. The fundamental heterogeneity of the transnational Pentecostal network is conducive for its flexibility to react on and accommodate to the enormous upheavals and changes in a globalized world. As a global phenomenon, Pentecostalism operates within the logic of de-territorialization and re-territorialization, in which boundaries and localities are constantly shifted, reshaped and reconstituted through different local and global processes of exchanges.

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Pentecostalism’s adaptability, the resulting transcultural entanglements and inner diversity pose a serious challenge to the study of Pentecostalism. It does not only prompt scholars to question the boundaries and use of the term itself, but also raises issues on how to approach and study such an ever-changing, multisited and contested phenomenon in a meaningful way.

Taking up the notion of “transculturality” as an entry point into this discussion, this interdisciplinary workshop explored these issues in a twofold way: on the one hand addressing theoretical and methodological concerns and on the other hand discussing those concerns with reference to specific case studies. 

The workshop consisted of three parts: keynote lectures in the evenings; discussing relevant texts in the morning sessions and sessions in the afternoon with presentations from the participants to discuss their questions and giving advice for further research.

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Cristina Rocha from the University of Western Sydney in Australia presented a keynote lecture titled “Researching Pentecostal Transnational Fields: The Case of Australia - Brazil Connections.” Michael Wilkinson from Trinity Western University in Canada gave a keynote speech titled “Global Spirit: Globalization Theory and the Study of Pentecostal Christianity.”

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