Tag Archives: religion

Episode 78: Spirituality in Central African History

Invisible_AgentsDavid Gordon (Bowdoin, History) on his recent book Invisible Agents: Spirits in a Central African History. Gordon explores how and why spirits and discourses about spirits inspired social movements and influenced historical change, from precolonial Bemba chieftaincies and 1930s Watchtower millenarianism to the postcolonial state’s humanism and Pentecostalism under Kaunda and Chiluba, respectively. Gordon closes by noting the effervescence of Zambian studies today. (Note: the interview was recorded via Skype.)

 

Episode 68: Witchcraft, AIDS and Power

Adam Ashforth (Univ. of Michigan) on “witchcraft”  in rural Central and urban Southern Africa. Discusses connections with colonial and postcolonial power and authority; gender; spiritual insecurity and religious enthusiasm; law, culture, and HIV/AIDS in Malawi; “anti-anti-witchcraft,” and the “serious laughter” of photographer Santu Mofokeng.

Episode 61: ‘Holy Hustlers’, Freud, and African Wisdom Diviners

Anthropologist Richard Werbner (University of Manchester) on the similarity between Freud and African wisdom diviners, ethnographic filmmaking in southern Africa, and the place of ‘Holy Hustlers’ (pentecostal churches and prophecy in Botswana) — the subject of his latest book – in the public sphere.

 

Episode 31: Garvey in Africa

vinson_portraitDr. Robert Vinson (History, College of William and Mary) on the spread of Garveyism in South Africa and its political and cultural impact.  Vinson explains how black men and women in the 1920s and 30s appropriated Garvey’s ideas of racial pride, pan-Africanism, and modernity to sustain themselves and to propel South Africa’s struggle for freedom.

Episode 21: Transnational Islam

leichtman_m1Anthropologist Mara Leichtman (MSU) on religion, migration, and politics. Leichtman unveils her new book  New Perspectives on Islam in Senegal (co-edited with Mamadou Diouf). She then discusses transnational Shi’a Islam in Dakar among Lebanese migrants and Senegalese converts, and in London at the Al-Khoei Foundation.  A fine example of why we cannot properly analyze “globalization” without including Africa.

Episode 7: American Zulus and the Ash Heap of South African History

Prof. Edgar and the \Historian Robert Edgar (Howard University) discusses his project on African Americans and South Africa, showing how black communities in different parts of the world engage, interact and influence each other. Edgar talks about the history of representations of the Zulu in America, and reflects on how he rescued the Prophetess Nonthetha Nkwenkwe and the African Communist Edwin Thabo Mofutsanyana from the ash heap of history. No wonder The New York Times dubbed him “the Indiana Jones of South Africa.”