Call for Papers: Christianity in India

Call for Papers for a Double-volume Special Issue of Nidān

The bi-annual, peer-reviewed and open access Journal “Nidān: International Journal for Indian Studies”, published from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban is pleased to announce a double-volume special issue on Christianity in India, to be published in July and December 2019 respectively. We elicit 8000 to 10,000 word-long original research articles on Christianity in India from scholars of different disciplinary backgrounds, using a variety of methodological approaches or a combination thereof, including anthropological, sociological, historical methods and literary analysis.

Christians constitute approximately 3% of India’s population and self-define their identity and devotional practices in a variety of cultural, vernacular and regionally specific ways. This is not only because Christians are historically dispersed across India and the Indian diaspora, but also because conversions were concentrated around diverse cantonment cities and towns during the colonial period in India, known for vernacular missionary activities. Asserting alternative cultural identities in accompaniment to Christianity such as caste-status and regional or vernacular belonging influenced Christian devotional practices and led to their representation within the public domain as a diverse and hybrid group.

In our present double-volume issue on Christianity in India, we elicit original research papers (between 8000 and 10,000 words) that focus on the emotions of the Christian self and conversion, Christian devotional and identity formation in India and the representation of Indian Christianity within the public domain from an anthropological or historical/ literary perspective. Contributors for the special issue would ideally introspect on questions such as caste and conversion, Indian Christianity within the diaspora, vernacular expressions of Christian devotion, regional identities formed through Christianity (such as in the case of Goa or the North-East) and the representation of Indian Christianity within the public domain (both anthropological and historical). I am also interested in academic introspection about Indian missions and Christianity that emerges from other missions across the world.

Those interested in contributing, please email an abstract of up to 500 words with author institutional details to Deepra Dandekar (deepradandekar@gmail.com) by August 15th, 2018. Once approved, original research articles (8000 – 10000 words) should be emailed to Deepra Dandekar by November 30th, 2018for the July 2019 volume. For the December 2019 volume, the deadline for article submission is April 30th, 2019.

Journal Editor: Professor P. Pratap Kumar
School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics
University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, Durban
penumalak@yahoo.com
https://journals.co.za/content/journal/nidan

Guest editor for the special issue: Deepra Dandekar (Ph.D.)
Researcher, Center for the History of Emotions, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin.
deepradandekar@gmail.com
https://www.mpib-berlin.mpg.de/en/staff/deepra-dandekar

The Global Young Peoples’ Convocation

By driJuly 30th, 2018in People, Students, World Christianity

Dominic Mejia and his legislative small group, composed of members from three different jurisdictions in the USA as well as the German and Philippine Central Conferences.

The Global Young Peoples’ Convocation of the United Methodist Church was held from July 18 to July 22 in Johannesburg, South Africa. This gathering sought to bring together youth, young adults, and those who work with youth from around the global United Methodist connection in order to develop relationships across geographic and language barriers, legislate and issue statements on issues important to young people, and navigate the significance and meaning of being a global church in a modern context. Dominic Mejia, a rising second-yearMDiv student at BU School of Theology, attended the event as a voting delegate with support from the Center for Global Christianity.

 The Global Young Peoples’ Convocation was a microcosm of the hopes, fears, frustrations, tensions, and possibilities found in the United Methodist Church as a whole. The theme phrase and the focus of many sermons and reflections, “United We Go,” captured these and placed them uncomfortably yet powerfully before those who were told repeatedly, “you are not the future of the church, you ARE the church!”

Of first importance is what it means to be “united.” We heard speakers who asked us to place what were referred to as our soapboxes to the side, coming to conversations without an agenda and to allow ourselves to be brought into unity found in the Holy Spirit. This understanding of unity must be pushed back upon. How do we lay aside that which makes us who we are? How can we as a church be satisfied with a cheap unity based not upon loving community but upon silence on that which is most important? Unity is found in the Holy Spirit, yes, but I doubt the Spirit is calling us towards stagnation and apathy. The unity statement passed by the legislative body calls for unity that challenges injustice while simultaneously moving us to be a global church and to hold the tensions and inconsistencies of doing so. Unity that does not hear the voice of less-powerful and minority voices is not true unity.

The active “go” found fertile ground in the Convocation. The body passed legislation that challenged extreme nationalism, called the church to account for being lax in combating sexism, sexual harassment, and gender-based discrimination, submitted suggested changes to the Social Principles of the United Methodist Church in order to protect refugees and undocumented persons, condemned arranged child marriages, emphasized the importance of local churches in ministering to young people, and issued the previously mentioned unity statement. This reflects a deep desire found among many of those gathered in Johannesburg – young people want to be a part of a church that has something to say about the social, political, and spiritual contexts people find themselves in. Young people worldwide desire to be part of a church that calls systems and people to do and be better, to care more deeply for people and creation and does not strip the transcendent God of God’s ability to be present in the particular lived realities.

The legislation passed by the Convocation will be submitted to the 2020 General Conference of the United Methodist Church. If the Convocation truly does represent more than the future of the church but the present reality of it then it is the responsibility of the General Conference to listen and respond to these uplifted voices of young people.

Mapping Chinese Christianity

In early June, Professor Eugenio Menegon (Chinese History), together with co-investigator Prof. Daryl Ireland (Associate Director of the Center for Global Christianity and Mission & Research Assistant Professor of Mission, BU’s School of Theology) received the exciting news that a Digital Humanities Project they are jointly sponsoring was awarded a seed grant for Summer 2018 by the BU Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Sciences.

Map of the 200-odd Jesuit churches and missions established across China by the late 17th century, from Confucius sinarum philosophus, sive, Scientia sinensis latine exposita (Confucius, Philosopher of the Chinese, or The Chinese Wisdom Expounded in Latin), Paris, 1687 [Sources: Wikipedia and Internet Archive]
The project is conceptually managed by Alex Mayfield, doctoral candidate in History of Christianity at BU’s School of Theology, with the voluntary assistance of Victor Huang, Computer Science major in CAS and current Treasurer of the BU Undergraduate History Association.The winning DH project, titled The China Christian Database: An Essential Digital Tool for the Cartography and Prosopography of Christianity in China, has two major goals. First, it intends to create and populate an online relational database that will track major Christian institutions and people in China between the 16th-20thcenturies. Second, it aims to make this data available for studen ts, teachers, and general research purposes through a user-friendly online platform that includes both textual search and geographic visualization

Nationalist historiography and post-colonial theory have tended to relegate Christianity to the status of “foreign,” thus rendering it peripheral to the story of China. Yet, as more recent studies have demonstrated, Christianity has undergone a process of localization and “sinicization” since its arrival in China, and its historical experience can actually provide an essential window through which to understand the revolutionary changes of identity, politics, and geography that took place in China during the modern period.

That said, the disparate and constantly evolving nature of Christianity within China has presented key challenges to its study: historical agents were highly mobile, relational networks were constantly in flux, and historical resources remain disparate. Thus, it continues to be difficult to triangulate historical research and accomplish macro-analyses of Christianity in China. So far, no existing effort has taken on the complicated task of organizing and making sense of spatial, temporal, and relational data pertaining to Christianity in China.

This summer research and development grant will focus on the long-term feasibility of the project and prepare it for larger funding opportunities and collaborations with other institutions, producing a proof of concept to be tested for further expansion.

Testimony and Fellowship

By driJuly 23rd, 2018in Africa, People, Publications, Students

The East African Revival emphasized the so-called conversion experience, including an individual’s conviction of sin and experience of forgiveness. The revivalists asserted that evidence of one’s conversion would be – and had to be – discernable at both the personal level and the communal level. Daewon Moon (projected ’18) argues in his latest article that one distinctive feature of the Revival was that in revival meetings or marketplaces, converts shared testimony that re-enacted their original conversion experiences, in order to demonstrate the genuineness of their conversion and maintain its continuing efficacy in their daily lives. A second distinctive feature of the Revival was its strong focus on fellowship with other converts. Structured opportunities for fellowship facilitated the ongoing process of identity reorientation and provided a safe, embracing environment in which new converts could receive spiritual and practical support from other members of the Revival. This article examines the significant roles of fellowship and testimony in the East African Revival and how they upheld the authenticity of a person’s initial conversion experience while also cultivating ongoing conversion through involvement in this new religious community.

The Bartolomé de Las Casas Conference

las casas

“Las Casas in Hemispheric American Perspective:

II International Conference on Bartolomé de Las Casas.”

July 15-16 (Monday-Tuesday), 2019

Providence College, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A.

The first International Conference, “Bartolomé de Las Casas, O.P.: History, Philosophy, and Theology in the Age of European Expansion,” held in 2016, was a landmark event for Lascasian scholarship. In response to this success, Providence College is pleased to invite interested scholars to our next gathering in 2019: “Las Casas in Hemispheric American Perspective: II International Conference on Bartolomé de Las Casas.”

Conference organizers welcome academic presentations related to the life, labor, and legacy of Bartolomé de Las Casas in the larger context of Hemispheric American studies. We especially encourage proposals that employ Las Casas as a prism for the interpretation of the interaction, expansion, culture, and ancestry of Indigenous people, Africans, Europeans and Asians in the American Hemisphere. The organizers programmed this Lascasian conference to coincide with the III International Conference on the History of the Order of Preachers in America, to be held July 17-19th (Wednesday-Friday) at Providence College (Dominican conference link). Participants can benefit from and contribute to the rich combination of unique research interests afforded by these two international gatherings.

For the Las Casas’s Conference, organizers welcome scholarly reflection on the themes of contact, conquest, colonization, and conversion as found in theology, philosophy, law, literature, poetry, theater among other disciplinary  approaches. Scholarly panels as well as special plenary sessions by leading scholars are planned.

 Call for Papers:

Papers in Spanish, Portuguese, and English are welcomed. Interested scholars, whether presenting an individual paper or collaborating in a panel of three papers, must submit an abstract for each proposal (250-500 word, Microsoft Word, single-spaced, 12pt New Times), and the following:

  • Author(s): (maximum of three) including name(s), professional title(s), and affiliation;
  • Title of presentation, and relationship to Conference theme(s);
  • E-mail and mailing addresses;
  • Short biographical note (maximum 200 words).
  1. Please email paper proposals before September 1st, 2018. Send your proposal(s) to both Rady Roldán-Figueroa, Th.D. and David Orique, O.P., Ph.D. at Lascasasconference2019@gmail.com More information and details to follow.
  2. Approved proposals will be announced by email on December 15, 2018.
  3. Conference oral presentations are limited to 20 minutes (approximate 8 double-spaced pages).

 Conference site in Spanish

Conference Organizers:

David T. Orique, O.P., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of History
Director of Latin American and Latino Studies
Providence College

Rady Roldán-Figueroa, Th.D.
Associate Professor of the History of Christianity
Boston University

American Society of Missiology

IMG_0200
L-R: Anicka Fast, Daryl Ireland, Eva Pascal, Michele Sigg, Dana Robert, David Scott, Titus Presler, Ben Hartley, Kendal Mobley, and Steve Lloyd

Friendship was the theme of this year’s meeting of the American Society of Missiology. Boston University was well-represented at the conference. Twelve alumni gave papers, Amos Yong was a keynote speaker, and Anicka Fast won the award for the best paper by a graduate student.

Mennonite Brethren Historical Commission Award

Anicka_Fast_profile 2 thmAn M.B. Studies Project Grant of $2,500 was awarded to Anicka Fast for her Ph.D. dissertation project: “Living in the same house: Contested ecclesial identity in the Mennonite and Mennonite Brethren missionary encounter in Congo, 1912–1989.” Like other sectors currently receiving attention (e.g., Mennonites and the Holocaust, Mennonites and Canadian “Indian Day Schools,” etc.), Anicka’s project considers Mennonites and the mission sector, exploring aspects of the Mennonite story that may be disturbing, given our contemporary sensibilities.