Affective Trajectories

Religion and Emotion in African Cityscapes

Affective Trajectories

Religious Cultures of African and African Diaspora People

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Book Pages: 320 Illustrations: 10 illustrations Published: February 2020

African Studies, Cultural Studies > Affect Theory, Religious Studies

The contributors to Affective Trajectories examine the mutual and highly complex entwinements between religion and affect in urban Africa in the early twenty-first century. Drawing on ethnographic research throughout the continent and in African diasporic communities abroad, they trace the myriad ways religious ideas, practices, and materialities interact with affect to configure life in urban spaces. Whether examining the affective force of the built urban environment or how religious practices contribute to new forms of attachment, identification, and place-making, they illustrate the force of affect as it is shaped by temporality and spatiality in the religious lives of individuals and communities. Among other topics, they explore Masowe Apostolic Christianity in relation to experiences of displacement in Harare, Zimbabwe; Muslim identity, belonging, and the global ummah in Ghana; crime, emotions, and conversion to neo-Pentecostalism in Cape Town; and spiritual cleansing in a Congolese branch of a Japanese religious movement. In so doing, the contributors demonstrate how the social and material living conditions of African cities generate diverse affective forms of religious experiences in ways that foster both localized and transnational paths of emotional knowledge.

Contributors. Astrid Bochow, Marian Burchardt, Rafael Cazarin, Hansjörg Dilger, Alessandro Gusman, Murtala Ibrahim, Peter Lambertz, Isabelle L. Lange, Isabel Mukonyora, Benedikt Pontzen, Hanspeter Reihling, Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon


“This amazing collection of highly evocative and sophisticated essays makes a cutting-edge intervention into current debates on the role of emotions and affect in religious practice as well as the study of urbanity in African studies and beyond. There is no doubt that Affective Trajectories will be of keen interest to those researching African urbanities and religion and urban studies more broadly.” — Birgit Meyer, author of Sensational Movies: Video, Vision, and Christianity in Ghana

“Providing a diverse range of case studies of how religious experience plays out and is expressed affectively, this unique and timely volume pushes forward the study of affect and emotion in religious contexts. An innovative and original contribution.” — Kai Kresse, author of Swahili Muslim Publics and Postcolonial Experience

"Linking affect, emotion, and religion in urban African settings, this volume contributes to studying how new modes of existence may emerge in Africa. Published before the emergence of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, Affective Trajectories is particularly useful for considering its consequences on the continent." — E. P. Renne, Choice


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Hansjörg Dilger is Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Freie Universität Berlin.

Astrid Bochow is Senior Researcher at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen.

Marian Burchardt is Professor of Sociology at Leipzig University.

Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon is Lecturer of Social Anthropology at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments vii
Introduction. Affective Trajectories in Religious African Cityscapes / Hansjörg Dilger, Marian Burchardt, Mathew Wilhelm-Solomon, and Astrid Bochow 1
Part I. Affective Infrastructures
1. Affective Regenerations: Intimacy, Cleansing, and Mourning in and around Johannesburg's Dark Buildings / Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon 29
2. Emotions as Affective Trajectories of Belief in Mwari (God) among Masowe Apostles in Urban Zimbabwe / Isabel Mukonyora 52
3. The Sites of Divine Encounter: Affective Religious Spaces and Sensational Practices in Christ Embassy and NASFAT in the City of Abuja / Murtala Ibrahim 77
4. Religious Sophistication in African Pentecostalism: An Urban Spirit? Rijk Van Dijk 98
Part II. Emotions on the Move
5. Affective Routes of Healing: Navigating Paths of Recovery in Urban and Rural West Africa / Isabelle L. Lange 119
6. The Cleansing Touch: Spirits, Atmospheres, and Attouchment in a "Japanese" Spiritual Movement in Kinshasa / Peter Lambertz 138
7. Learning How to Feel: Emotional Repertoires of Nigerian and Congolese Pentecostal Pastors in the Diaspora / Rafael Cazarin and Marian Burchardt 160
Part III. Embodiment, Subjectivity, and Belonging
8. "Those Who Pray Together": Religious Practice, Affect, and Dissent among Muslims in Asante (Ghana) / Benedikt Pontzen 185
9. Longing for Connection: Christian Education and Emerging Urban Lifestyles in Botswana / Astrid Bochow 202
10. "Here, Here Is a Place Where I Can Cry": Religion in a Context of Displacement: Congolese Churches in Kampala / Alessandro Gusman 222
11. Men of Love? Affective Conversions on Township Streets / Hans Reihling 243
Bibliography 263
Contributors 299
Index 303
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0626-8 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0549-0