Writing the History of African Christianity: Reflections of an Editor

in Journal of Religion in Africa
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Abstract

This article reviews the literature on African Christian Studies from the 1990s onwards and suggests new directions for research. The field has drawn great impetus from a series of historical/anthropological debates over conversion and the relative significance of missionary imperial hegemony and African agency. But there is a great need for work on twentieth-century missionaries and their contribution to colonial science. And there are too few studies of African leaders within mission churches, particularly in the era of decolonisation. Research on Pentecostalism has flourished but needs to be historicised. New areas for research are: African Christian diaspora and its impact on host communities; the impact of development and human rights agendas on the church; the effects of the AIDS pandemic. As the African Church becomes a more prominent part of World Christianity, scholars need to assess how African moral sensibilities are recasting the theology and politics of the historic mission churches.

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