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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

Thursday Apr. 3, 2014, 4.15 to 5.45 pm Keynote Lecture 1

“Researching Pentecostal Transnational Religious Fields: The Case of Australia-Brazil Connections”

Prof. Cristina Rocha (University of Western Sydney, Australia)

Abstract: In the past decade the global spread of Pentecostalism has received a lot of scholarly attention as one of the most powerful examples of cultural globalisation. Pentecostalism is a portable religion par excellence. It has portable practices: a strong personal experience of salvation, glossolalia, divine healing, exorcism, and prophesy. It also has a transposable message: for many Pentecostal churches health and wealth are signs of salvation and gifts from God. Unlike the Catholic Church, Pentecostalism is polycentric. It lacks a central authority and local entrepreneurs work as ‘glocalisers,’ adapting its beliefs and practices to the local culture. Consequently Pentecostal churches are established much faster than Catholic churches, particularly in the diaspora.Furthermore, the fast expansion of global Pentecostalism is deeply connected to media and mediation. If in the early days books, tapes, radio and TV were used to spread the message and capture audiences, now Pentecostalism relies on much faster new information technologies to get its message across. In this paper I want to explore theoretical and methodological considerations when researching global religious phenomena. Drawing on Levitt & Schiller's concept of transnational social fields, here I follow Sheringham in deploying the concept of transnational religious field to account for how global religious institutions affect the everyday lives of migrants, those who stay behind, and those who return, and how migrants and missionaries localise these religions as they negotiate integration into the host country. A transnational religious field is circular, rather than one-way. Subsequently I develop a methodology to research this transnational religious field and draw on my own research on Pentecostal connections between Australia and Brazilas a case study.

Friday Apr. 4, 2014, 4.30 to 6.00 pm Keynote Lecture 2

“Global Spirit: Globalization Theory and the Study of Pentecostal Christianity”

Dr. Michael Wilkinson (Trinity Western University, Canada)

Abstract: Globalization is now widely used, if not accepted, in almost all disciplines of scholarly work. This was not the case in the 1990s when most writers on the topic were wondering about the importance of globalization. Scholars focused on the origins of the term, how quickly globalization ascended into the academy, it is widespread usage in popular culture, business, and other areas of social life. In the past decade a greater emphasis was placed on refining theoretical positions with a growing body of empirical work testing specific theories. In the area of religion, there is some sustained work on globalization. There are also areas of research on religion that assumes globalization as a framework but fails to adequately wrestle with theoretical issues in a sustained way that moves research on religion and globalization forward. While this unevenness should be addressed in the next decade, this presentation examines the social scientific work on religion and globalization and discusses ways in which the field can develop. Specifically, this paper reviews the key theorists of globalization and the implications for research on Pentecostal movements. It then examines four key areas of research in religion and globalization, how they have developed, and raises questions for expanding the field of Pentecostal studies.

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