In the now very rapidly growing literature on Pentecostalism in Africa, Ruth Marshall’s book occupies a special place. In disciplinary terms, most of that literature falls under religious studies or history. The anthropologists came later, particularly those from North America, who had to get over their distaste for a religion that seemed so saturated in the idioms of the US Bible Belt. The originality of Marshall’s book is grounded in its linkage of questions derived from political theory with rich data collected through intensive and sustained fieldwork. But she insists it is not “an ethnography of the movement” (p. 5), so what exactly is it?
Around "Political Spiritualities: The Pentecostal Revolution in Nigeria" by Ruth Marshall
Ruth Marshall, J.D.Y. Peel, Daniel Jordan Smith, Joel Robbins and Jean-François Bayart
J. D. Y. Peel
Marloes Janson, Wale Adebanwi, David Pratten, Ruth Marshall, Stephan Palmié, Amanda Villepastour, J. D. Y. Peel, Richard Fardon and Ramon Sarró
In Nigeria, a country associated with conflict and violence, a common phrase in Pidgin English used to characterize the nation is “Nigeria is a war.” However, as J. D. Y. Peel has pointed out in his extensive work, Christian-Muslim relations in Nigeria are not marked just by conflict and violence. Christians and Muslims have long lived side by side in Yorubaland in southwestern Nigeria, often in harmony with practitioners of Yoruba religion—the boundaries between the three not always sharply demarcated (Peel 2000). In line with J. D. Y.’s optimistic nature, his work has a positive message: the Yoruba teach us about how different faiths can co-exist in peace.