Mission Station Christianity

Norwegian Missionaries in Colonial Natal and Zululand, Southern Africa 1850-1890


In Mission Station Christianity, Ingie Hovland presents an anthropological history of the ideas and practices that evolved among Norwegian missionaries in nineteenth-century colonial Natal and Zululand (Southern Africa). She examines how their mission station spaces influenced their daily Christianity, and vice versa, drawing on the anthropology of Christianity. Words and objects, missionary bodies, problematic converts, and the utopian imagination are discussed, as well as how the Zulus made use of (and ignored) the stations. The majority of the Norwegian missionaries had become theological cheerleaders of British colonialism by the 1880s, and Ingie Hovland argues that this was made possible by the everyday patterns of Christianity they had set up and become familiar with on the mission stations since the 1850s.

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Ingie Hovland has a Ph.D. (2006) in Social Anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London. Her research interests include the anthropology of Christianity, gender and religion, and the history of Southern Africa.
"She constructs a more convincing account than those offered by strict secularists such as Webb Keane, Joel Robbins or the Comaroffs who, while they may 'factor in' the theology, tend to underestimate the centrality of the fides sola to such projects... A valuable case study in the dynamics of cultural and personal transformation."
Eve Bertelsen (Oxford) in the Journal of Ecclestiastical History 66.1
Scholars and students interested in history, cultural anthropology, colonialism and religion, especially the history of Christianity and Christian mission in Africa, the anthropology of Christianity, and material religion, bodies, and space.
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