The responses of Christian religions to HIV/AIDS in Africa have been described either with regard to the stigmatising attitudes of churches, or with reference to the charitable acts of Christian organisations in the context of the epidemic. Drawing on fieldwork in a Neo-Pentecostal church in urban Tanzania, this article shows that the Full Gospel Bible Fellowship Church in Dar es Salaam is becoming highly attractive to its followers because of the social, spiritual and economic perspectives that it offers, and particularly because of the networks of healing and support that it has established under the circumstances of urbanisation, structural reform programmes and the AIDS epidemic. The author argues for a stronger focus on practices of healing and community building in studies on Pentecostalism, which may shed light on the continuities as well as the ruptures that are produced by the rise of Neo-Pentecostalism in the context of globalisation, modernity and HIV/AIDS.
In recent decades, religiously motivated schools have gained a new social and political presence and significance in many African countries. Although religious networks and organizations—Christian as well as Muslim—have played a central role in providing education in colonial and postcolonial settings, liberalization and privatization measures since the 1980s have opened up new opportunities for religious engagement at all educational levels. The contributions to this issue explore the implications of these recent transformations on Christian and Muslim investments in the educational domain. To do so, they examine these implications in view of reconfigurations of national and regional educational fields under the influence of colonial and postcolonial administrations. Furthermore, they address the multiple, often-contested meanings, practices, and institutional setups that have shaped and been constituted by, the field of ‘religious schooling’ in the context of both neoliberal reform measures and transnational religious renewal trends. Finally, they illustrate the need to adopt an increasingly comparative perspective in the analysis of religious education, and to understand how (internally differentiated) instances of Christian and Muslim education have developed historically in relation to each other.
Over the last decade in Tanzania parents’ and students’ quest for a good school has been shaped by the growing presence of religiously motivated schools, especially in urban settings. This paper argues that the diverse social positioning and educational appeal of new Christian and Muslim schools in Dar es Salaam are intimately intertwined with the continued weakening of state education that has been taking place since the mid-1990s to early 2000s as the result of privatization and World Bank educational policies. It also shows that the growing stratification and commodification of the education sector is tightly knitted with histories of inequality and religious difference in colonial and postcolonial Tanzania, as well as with the establishment and diversification of ties between actors and institutions on the East African coast on the one hand, and with those in North America, Europe, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia on the other. Finally, this paper demonstrates how macroeconomic and macrohistorical forces have become condensed in processes of subject formation and the widely varying production of religious spaces in an urban educational market. I argue that the resulting reinscription of religion in the public sphere must be understood not so much as an unintended side-effect of transnational reform processes, but more as part and parcel of multilayered histories of schooling and Christian-Muslim encounters in Tanzania that have also shaped the recent repositioning of the country’s education sector in the global and transnational context.
This article provides a preliminary framework of useful methodologies and topics for future ethnographic research on medical migration from Africa to North America. We argue that medical professionals’ migrations must be understood in terms of their multiple struggles for meaning as they negotiate their professional and personal preferences in light of their desires to help rebuild ailing medical systems in their countries of origin. Our ethnographic interviews suggest that networks and family have been of critical importance to medical mobility, as well as providing a potential means of continued involvement in philanthropic investments in their countries of origin. Ultimately, we argue that economic perspectives on medical migration are insufficient, and leave out the complexities of balancing professionalism, personal goals and moral obligation to the country of origin.