Tagged: Dictionary of African Christian Biography
The CGCM hosted the conference on the theme of “African Christian Biography: Narratives, Beliefs, and Boundaries,” from Thursday, October 29 to Saturday, October 31. Approximately sixty scholars and graduate students converged on the School of Theology from Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Ghana, Great Britain, and various universities in the United States and Canada to present papers and discuss issues on the theme of African Christian Biography. As an intersection between scholars in religious studies and African studies, the conference was a venue for cross-fertilization between the various fields represented. Furthermore, it was an opportunity to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Dictionary of African Christian Biography (DACB).
In the opening plenary, DACB Project Director Jonathan Bonk presented a brief historical overview by looking at the “What?, the Why?, the How?, and the Now What?” of the project. In the Friday morning plenary address, Prof. Lamin Sanneh of Yale University focused his talk on Sir Samuel Lewis whose extraordinary life illustrated the power of human example in the service of religion and society in 19th century West Africa. The afternoon plenary panel with noted scholars Kathleen Sheldon, Richard Elphick, and Diana Wylie addressed, among other questions, the challenge of the portrayal of belief in biography as well as the various uses of biography in historical writing. The dinner plenary by Boston University professor Linda Heywood offered an opportunity to explore the life of a notable 17th century Kongo figure, Queen Njinga.
In the concurrent sessions, questions raised either in the papers or in the subsequent discussion included the role of biography in pedagogy, orality and memory in biography, the use of photography and film in biography, and the use of biography for highlighting the stories of women the Global South. Almost a third of the papers examined the stories of African women, exploring their roles as helpers and leaders, most often unrecognized in the historical record. The discussions also looked at the role of biographers as portrait artists who must paint their subjects with humility and empathy.
In the closing session, the progress of the DACB was praised and many participants offered ideas and challenges for new developments in the future. Conference organizer Dana Robert offered a few words about the book that will be published as a fruit of the conference.
From October 29-31 the Center for Global Christianity and Mission, the African Studies Center and the African Studies Library at Boston University will be co-hosting the conference “African Christian Biography: Narratives, Beliefs, and Boundaries” in celebration of the 20th year anniversary of the Dictionary of African Christian Biography (www.DACB.org).
This working conference will bring together more than 30 international academics whose specialties cover a broad spectrum of time periods and geographical areas in Africa. Coming from a wide variety of disciplines including history, anthropology, theology, women’s studies and African area studies, the speakers will present scholarly papers exploring the historiographical role of biography and its part in shaping our understanding of African Christianity.
Research Professor of Mission Studies, Boston University, Project Director, Dictionary of African Christian Biography.
African Church History and the Streetlight Effect: Biography as a Lost Key
Willis James Professor of Missions & World Christianity, Professor of History, Professor of International and Area Studies, Yale University.
Biography and the Narrative of History
Professor of African American Studies and History, Boston University.
Queen Njinga of Angola: Spirituality and Politics
For more details, the conference schedule, and registration information please go to http://www.dacb.org/acb-conference2015.html.
The Dictionary of African Christian Biography (DACB), now located in the Center for Global Christianity and Mission, held its first annual meeting October 26-28, 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya. This was the first meeting of the DACB advisory council and editorial committee, which consists of ten members: Edison Kalengyo, Michele Sigg, Deji Ayegboyin, Priscille Njomhoue, Jonathan Bonk, James Amanze, Lamin Sanneh, Thomas Oduro (shown in the photo above from left-right), Philomena Mwaura, Paul Nkwi and Dana Robert. They launched the first of many planned annual meetings of the DACB leadership team.
The 2014 commenement of Boston University marks the 40th anniversary of the graduation of one of the School of Theology’s most important African graduates: the late Bishop Josiah Mutabuzi Kibira. Josiah Kibira graduated with an S.T.M. from the School of Theology in 1964. A pioneering local and international leader, Josiah Kibira became the first African to be elected bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Buhaya, Tanzania. He served in the World Council of Churches, and was the keynote speaker at the All Africa Conference of Churches General Assembly held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Bishop Kibira was also the first African to be elected president of the Lutheran World Federation. The memory of Bishop Kibira’s leadership is marked by the establishment in 2010 of an institution of higher education in his name, the Josiah Kibira University College in Bukoba, Tanzania. His son, Josiah Mwesigwa Kibira, is an established director and screenwriter, who in 2010 released a documentary about his father, Bishop Kibira of Bukoba: An African Lutheran. For a fuller account of Bishop Kibira’s life and service, see his biography on the Dictionary of African Christian Biography, and the History of Missiology.
The CGMC was delighted by the visit of Rev. Dr. Fohle Lygunda, Head of the Department of Missiology at International Leadership University (ILU) – Burundi, on June 14. Dr. Lygunda and Dr. Dana Robert discussed a possible collaboration for the Dictionary of African Christian Biography (DACB), which was transferred to Boston University in 2012. Dr. Lygunda previously worked as a Project Luke Fellow for the DACB at Overseas Ministries Study Center (OMSC) in New Haven, CT. He also wrote an article on Central Africa for the Atlas of Global Christianity: 1910-2010. Under his leadership, ILU-Burundi launched a master’s program in Missiology, in which doctoral student Daewon Moon has served as a visiting lecturer since 2012.