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Abstract

Prayer camps are Pentecostal healing centres established across various parts of Ghana. Prayer camps in Ghana have become notable centres offering mainly spiritual help to people with mental health conditions. Arguably, prayer camps serve as a breakpoint or watershed between traditional healing shrines and the ‘gardens’ operated by Spiritual churches, popularly known as Sunsum sorè, in Ghana. Analysing data collected from fieldwork between 2019 and 2021, this article shows that the healing rituals for the mentally ill at prayer camps in Ghana share similarities with traditional healing shrine practices. The article argues that while such practices reveal the appropriation of traditional healing approaches at prayer camps, they also bring the tension and contestation inherent to the concept of appropriation into perspective.

In: Exchange
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In: Exchange
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Abstract

This article applies selected aspects of Depesh Chakrabarty’s concept of “Provincializing Europe” to the discourse of world Christianity studies. It argues that colonial-era mission scholars constructed a grand narrative of a united Christian Europe to justify European missions to the rest of the world. Contemporary postcolonial efforts to de-center Europe now contrast a vitiated European Christianity with a vibrant nonwestern Christianity that is required to re-evangelize Europe. Paradoxically, the trope of a formerly Christian Europe merges with a caricature of its numerical failure to make European Christianity the permanent foil for world Christianity studies. The article urges that European Christianity be studied in its diverse contexts, that the distinction between migrant and missionary be queried, and that European Christianity be considered essential to world Christianity studies.

In: Exchange
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Abstract

After several decades of relative silence in the Netherlands on the topic of church and racism, the Black Lives Matter Movement and the public debate on reparations for colonial enslavement have brought the issue back on the agenda of church and theology. Fuelled by the Programme to Combat Racism (PCR), previous ecumenical discussions on this topic in the 1970s provide a good starting point for reflection today.

This paper first provides some basic background on the PCR and then describes three theological positions in relation to reconciliation that shaped the discussions around racism. Based on these historical insights, the article summarizes the experiences and insights of the PCR in three major points, and discusses their relevance for today’s conversation on church, diaconia, and racism. The paper argues that commitment, the transfer of power, and the value of discomfort provide important theological and practical insights for today’s debate.

In: Exchange
In: Exchange
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In: International Journal of Islam in Asia
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Abstract

Looking back at the articles collected in this issue, I want to propose that Asia is a privileged space for Islamic studies for addressing three questions in particular that are relevant for the wider discipline and demand a radical rethinking of familiar understandings of Islam as it has come to be represented in contemporary scholarship. First, the highly heterogeneous landscapes of Islamic Asia invite us to consider the significance of cultural, linguistic, and religious complexity in Islam more broadly. Second, while exhibiting the fundamental changes that Asian Muslims have navigated against the background of the increasing reach of colonialism and globalization, the preceding articles simultaneously resist easy dichotomizations between tradition and modernity. And third, a focus on Islam in Asia allows us to reassess established paradigms of transmission with its various infrastructures, as well as understandings of centers and peripheries undergirding such processes of transmission.

Open Access
In: International Journal of Islam in Asia
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Abstract

This article examines the intersections of gender, consumption, and Muslim cosmopolitanism in the emerging bridal fashions of the Hui Muslims in Xi’an, China. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in Xi’an during 2015 and 2016, I analyze the visual and textual discourses surrounding urban Hui Muslims’ pursuit of a globalized Muslim lifestyle, with a particular emphasis on fashion and representations of women. I explore how the image of the modern Muslim is produced and constructed in Hui-owned bridal salons, which offer bridal makeovers and stage wedding portraiture. By focusing on the perspectives of entrepreneurs within the bridal fashion and portraiture industry, I examine the production of ideal bridal aesthetics and a cosmopolitan female piety that are intertwined with universal Muslim values. This affinity for the universal fosters a sense of superiority among the Hui in their predominantly Han context. Engaging with scholarship on Muslim fashion and vernacular cosmopolitanisms, I argue that the Hui’s adoption of cosmopolitan Muslim-ness embodies both globally circulated lifestyles and local interpretations of modesty and piety. This study of Hui Muslim fashion choices showcases a locally embedded transnational Muslim modernity and underscores the diverse ways in which individuals position themselves within their imagined Muslim ummah.

In: International Journal of Islam in Asia
Free access
In: International Journal of Islam in Asia