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The Uncanniness of Missionary Others

A Discursive Analysis of a Century of Anthropological Writings on Missionary Ethnographers

Travis Warren Cooper

resistant, Keane’s (2007) highly influential Christian Moderns examines the semiotic ideologies of Calvinist missionaries in Southeast Asia alongside the impact of those imported worldviews on indigenous peoples, the receiving end of Christian mission

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The Chaco Skies

A Socio-cultural History of Power Relations

Alejandro Martín López and Agustina Altman


This article looks into notions of the sky among the Guaycurú aboriginal groups in the Argentine Chaco within the context of the socio-religious changes they have undergone since the eighteenth century. By using ethno-astronomy and anthropology of religion perspectives, and based on our own ethnographic and documentary work, we have analyzed both the continuities and the ruptures in the Guaycurú skies. In doing so, we have found that social relations between humans and non-humans shape the Guaycurú experience of celestial space. These bonds have a strongly political character as they are structured around power asymmetries. The colonial experience, including Christian missions, has imposed modernity on these groups as an overall horizon of possibilities. However, the Guaycurú have sought to redefine modernity, creating their own ‘modernity paths’.

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Analyzing African Formations

Multi-national Corporations, Non-capitalist Relations, and 'Mothers of the Community'

Caroline Ifeka

The West gazes hard at the continent it is has exploited for so long. Reflecting Western discourses of Africa as that ‘dark other’, texts use epithets immersed in preconceptions of Africa’s inequality: differences of race and religion, with Western ‘civilization’ standing for, and justifying, unequal power relations of apparent antiquity. Nineteenth-century Royal Geographical Society audiences, enthusiastic supporters of Britain’s growing empire and overseas Christian missions, learned from distinguished travelers about ‘the slave trade’, ‘ju-ju’, ‘paganism and devil worship’, ‘Mecca’, ‘the import-export trade’, ‘white traders’, and ‘black middlemen’. Favorite twentieth-century discourses included ‘black nationalism’, ‘weak states’ and ‘African indebtedness’, ‘corrupt government’, ‘ruthless multi-national oil companies’, ‘environmental pollution’, and ‘poverty’. Twenty-first-century researchers write of ‘endemic violence’ coalescing around inter-state international borders or intra-state ethnic boundaries; ethnic militants fight for ‘ethnic sovereignties’, jostling to wrest from the nation-state customary rights of ownership and control over ‘our god-given’ oil, clashing with giant multi-national corporations that lease from nation-state governments—not oil-producing communities claiming customary ownership—vast blocks of swamp, desert, and sea under which lies ‘black gold’ (Ifeka 2000: 452; cf. Hertz 2001: 194ff.).

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Harsh, Mild or Gone For Good?

Gavin D’Costa

witness is enjoined, and two paragraphs later, witness is rightly seen as a form of mission: ‘Christian mission and witness, in personal life and in proclamation, belong together’ (42). Gift seems to propound a position that holds: no institutional

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Challenging Substantive Knowledge in Educational Media

A Case Study of German History Textbooks

Lucas Frederik Garske

aggression. A related exercise asks the reader to name the “tasks and dangers of the Christian mission” based on the given material. Even though the pupils work with the presented material, both the framing of the question and the reshaped perspective on the

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Nefissa Naguib, Pauline Peters, Nancy Ries, Murray Garde, Zhiying Ma, and Frédéric Keck

maintenance work, and we are reminded of the line of development from Christian mission or other forms of colonial philology to salvage linguistics and the contemporary language documentation movement, which employs an oppositional binary of ‘language

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Arian Hopf

An intensifying encounter between the British colonizers and the Indian colonized characterizes nineteenth-century South Asia. While the Christian mission is the most urgent crisis for South Asian Muslims (and Hindus as well) during the first half

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A Ritual Demystified

The Work of Anti-wonder among Sufi Reformists and Traditionalists in a Macedonian Roma Neighborhood

Galina Oustinova-Stjepanovic

Nicholas Thomas , 1 – 11 . Oxford : Berg . Tomlinson , Matt . 2017 . “ Try the Spirits: Power Encounters and Anti-wonder in Christian Missions .” Journal of Religious and Political Practice 3 ( 3 ): 168 – 182 . 10

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Organic Vehicles and Passengers

The Tsetse Fly as Transient Analytical Workspace

Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga

) from the 1930s onward. Rather, the ancestors were angry at the colonizer’s complete disregard for ancestral spiritual authority, not least the intrusion of Christian mission stations, and the designation of once-sacred forests like Chirinda and

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Johannes Görbert, Russ Pottle, Jeff Morrison, Pramod K. Nayar, Dirk Göttsche, Lacy Marschalk, Dorit Müller, Angela Fowler, Rebecca Mills, and Kevin Mitchell Mercer

includes twelve case studies on themes that range from the Christian missions through the treatment of African prisoners of war in Europe, to fiction, travel writing, and film about Africa, along with a substantial introduction highlighting the continuing