Project Team

Annelin Eriksen

Annelin Eriksen is currently Professor at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Bergen and the Gender and Pentecostalism project leader. She has worked since 1995 in Vanuatu, first on Ambrym and later also in Port Vila. Her work deals with social and cultural change, Christianity and gender relations. Her most recent research project ‚ÄúChristianity, Gender, and the Dynamics of Community beyond the State: A Study of Urban Christian Movements in Vanuatu,‚ÄĚ was funded by the Norwegian Research Council from 2006 until 2011. Her publications include Gender, Christianity and Change in Vanuatu: An Analysis of Social Movements in North Ambrym (2008), ‚ÄúNew Life: Pentecostalism as Social Critique in Vanuatu‚ÄĚ (2009) and Contemporary Religiosities: Emergent Socialities and the Post-Nation State (co-edited with Bruce Kapferer and Kari Telle; Berghahn, 2010).

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Michelle MacCarthy

Michelle MacCarthy has newly been appointed as a postdoctoral fellow as part of the GenPent project team.¬†Michelle has recently completed her PhD in social anthropology at the University of Auckland. Her geographical area of interest is Melanesia, and specifically the Trobriand Islands of Papua New Guinea, where she carried out 18 months of doctoral field research. It is to this ‘sacred place’ in anthropology that she will return to carry out additional field research as part of the GenPent project, on the role of recently arrived evangelical churches (which comprise a second wave of conversion in the region, which has a long history with Methodist and Catholic missions) on women’s production and exchange of banana leaf textiles, which underpin the complex exchange relationships between Trobriand clans after the death of a family member. Michelle will examine how the push from some churches to eradicate these practices has implications for Trobriand sociality and gendered personhood.

Michelle is the author of several articles including recently published works in the International Journal of Heritage Studies and Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment (an article which was awarded the 2011 Netting Prize by the Culture and Agriculture section of the American Anthropological Association) and The Journal of Culture & Agriculture.

Ruy Blanes

Ruy Llera Blanes (PhD 2007, Lisbon) is a Spanish anthropologist and newly appointed postdoctoral researcher on the Gender and Pentecostalism project. He has been postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon and Visiting Fellow at Leiden University (2007-2010) and London School of Economics and Political Science (2007-2013). He has worked on the anthropology of religion, identity, politics, mobility and temporality.¬†His current research site is Angola, where he explores the topics of religion, mobility (diasporas, transnationalism, the Atlantic), politics (leadership, charisma, repression, resistance), temporalities (historicity, memory, heritage, expectations) and knowledge. He has published articles in several international journals and edited volumes on the corporeality in religious contexts (Berghahn, 2011, with Anna Fedele) and on spirits and the agency of intangibles (Univ. Chicago Press, forthcoming, with Diana Esp√≠rito Santo). He is forthcoming on a book on ‘Prophetic Trajectories’ (Berghahn).¬†He is also board member the APA (Portuguese Anthropological Association) and co-Editor of the journal¬†Advances in Research: Religion and Society, edited by Berghahn (as of issue 3, 2013).

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Advisory Board

Matthew Engelke

Matthew Engelke is a senior lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at the London School of Economics. He has conducted research on Christianity in Zimbabwe and in England. His book A Problem of Presence: Beyond Scripture in an African Church (University of California Press, 2007) won the 2008 Clifford Geertz Prize from the Society for the Anthropology of Religion and the 2009 Victor Turner Prize for Ethnographic Writing from the Society for Humanistic Anthropology. He is the editor of Prickly Paradigm Press and the editor designate of the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. Engelke has conducted extensive fieldwork on African Churches in Zimbabwe in the 1990s. More recently, he has been conducting research on Christianity in England, with particular attention to Christianity in the public sphere.
Dr Engelke also has an interest in human rights and has served as an expert witness in dozens of asylum appeals by Zimbabweans in the UK.

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Joel Robbins

Joel Robbins¬†is Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, San Diego. Much of his work has focused on the anthropology of Christianity and on other topics in the anthropology of religion. He is the author of Becoming Sinners: Christianity and Moral Torment in a Papua New Guinea Society (University of California Press, 2004). Trained in symbolic, semiotic and structural anthropology, Robbins has carried out research focused on Christianity and cultural change among the Urapmin of Papua New Guinea. Building on this background, for the last several years Robbins has been conducting research on the social and cultural processes that have shaped the rapid globalization of Pentecostal and charismatic Christianity. Alongside of and in dialogue with these two projects, he has also helped to lay the theoretical groundwork for the developing field of the anthropology of Christianity and has been working to advance our theoretical understanding of cultural change, and particularly of processes of radical cultural change that have rarely been adequately theorized within anthropology. Robbins is currently co-editor of the journal Anthropological Theory and editor of the University of California Press book series “The Anthropology of Christianity.”

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Bj√łrn Inge Bertelsen

Bj√łrn Bertelsen is a social anthropologist working at the University of Bergen. His research interests include the issues of violence, state, memory and tradition within political anthropology in Southern Africa and Mozambique. His current postdoctoral research project is entitled “Social imaginaries of death, suffering and accumulation. Urban spaces of insecurity and poverty in Mozambique and Zimbabwe”. Bertelsen has published an anthology together with Bruce Kapferer entitled “Crisis of the state. War and social upheavel” (Berghahn Books, 2009).

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Knut Rio

Knut Rio is Professor of Social Anthropology at the Bergen Museum, University of Bergen. He has conducted long-term fieldwork in Vanuatu in the western Pacific, and his research themes relate to ideas about social ontology, production, and ceremonial, and the relation between the monetary economy and sorcery in Vanuatu. His monograph, The Power of Perspective: Social Ontology and Agency in Ambrym island, Vanuatu, was published in 2007.

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Edvard Hviding

Edvard Hviding is Professor of Social Anthropology and head of department at the University of Bergen, Norway. Since 1986, Hviding has been engaged in long-term anthropological research in Solomon Islands, where he has carried out more than three years of fieldwork mainly in the Marovo Lagoon area of Western Province, from bases in the villages of Chea (on Marovo Island) and Tamaneke (in northern Marovo). Hviding’s enduring research interests cover a range of interrelated topics such as fishing, agroforestry and the customary tenure of sea and land; kinship and social organization; cultural history and languages of New Georgia; indigenous environmental knowledge and epistemology; leadership and customary law; and the local manifestations and consequences of globalization. Hviding leads the Bergen Pacific Studies Research Group based at his university.

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Vigdis Broch-Due

Vigdis Broch-Due is Professor in the Department of Social Anthropology. She also holds a special Professoriate in International Poverty Research at the Faculty of Social Sciences. Broch-Due is Deputy Leader of the National Council (Nasjonalt fagr√•d) of Development Studies, and at the University of Bergen, she serves ¬†as member on the University Library Board and the Centre of Women and Gender (SKOK). Broch-Due heads the Poverty Politics Research Group and she is in charge of the MPHIL programme ‚Äúthe Anthropology of Development‚ÄĚ at the Department of Social Anthropology.

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Associate Scholars

Naomi Haynes

Naomi Haynes is a social anthropologist working at the School of Social and Political Science, Universty of Edinburgh. Her research examines Pentecostal Christianity in urban Zambia – a country that has made at constitutional declaration that it is a “Christian nation.”¬† She addresses how various aspects of Pentecostalism, especially the prosperity or “health and wealth” gospel, shape exchange relationships and social life more generally.¬† Haynes is also interested in the way that external economic factors, whether privatization or the global financial crisis that struck during her dissertation fieldwork in 2008 and 2009, impact those same social and relational forms.

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Sitna Quiroz-Uria

Sitna Quiroz-Uria is a PhD candidate at the London School of Economics and Political Science working on Pentecostalism, Kinship, Subjectivity and Morality in Benin, West Africa.

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Martin Lindhardt

Martin Lindhardt holds a PhD in social anthropology (University of Aarhus, Denmark, 2004) and is presently employed at the faculty of Ethnology, University of Copenhagen. His research and writing mainly focus on Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity in Chile and Tanzania. Areas of particular interest include Pentecostal-charismatic ritual practice; Pentecostal material culture; the prosperity gospel and occult economies: Pentecostalism and political culture; and continuity/discontinuity between Pentecostal/charismatic Christianity and African traditional religion. Also, his recent research has focused on intergenerational transmission of Pentecostal religion in Chile. Lindhardt has published several articles and book chapters. He is the author of the book Power in Powerlessness. A Study of Pentecostal Life Worlds in Urban Chile (Brill 2012) and the editor of the book Practicing the Faith. The Ritual Life of Pentecostal-charismatic Christians (Berghahn 2011).

At present he is editing an anthology on African Pentecostalism to be published by Brill.

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Thomas Mountjoy

Formerly a doctoral candidate in social anthropology (2009-2012) at the University of Bergen, Mountjoy completed his research on sport in Solomon Islands as part of the Pacific Alternatives project successfully defending his PhD thesis. He has worked with sports ethnography since 1995, conducting extended fieldwork in New Zealand, Norway and Solomon Islands focussing on the history of sporting practice and its contemporary relevance to social and political forms of solidarity and social change. His topics of interest include the colonial history of the Pacific, ontology, phenomenology, medical anthropology, and the philosophy of sport and bodily practice in processes of transformation. Mountjoy has always played an active role in his ethnographic research aiming at pushing the methodological boundaries of anthropology using the medium of competitive physical practice. Future research will focus on comparative insights from the constitution of sport and bodily practice to further develop central problems in anthropology within a systems-based interdisciplinary framework.

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Rodolfo Maggio

Rodolfo started to work on Pentecostalism in 2007, as he was studying the first year of his undergraduate degree in Cultural Anthropology. One day towards the end of the spring, he was approached by a couple of Christian missionaries who proposed him to join their Bible Study Group. That was the beginning of his first experience as participant observer, which culminated with an international gathering of Charismatic Christians in Prague. That experience became the basis for his undergraduate dissertation on the origins of the Pentecostal movement, the Second and the Third wave, and a focus on glossolalia. Later, he continued to work on Pentecostalism as he studied his MSc in Anthropology and Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He wrote his Master dissertation on African Pentecostalism, with a focus on its impact on economic development. In 2010 he moved to the University of Manchester, where he wrote his Research Proposal to study Pentecostalism in Solomon Islands. In November 2012, he concluded 13 months of fieldwork in Honiara. He is now in the writing-up phase of his PhD in Social Anthropology.

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Juliet Gilbert

Juliet Gilbert is a DPhil candidate in Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford. Her research focuses on young women’s livelihoods in Calabar, Nigeria. Examining the concept of destiny, her doctoral research asks how Pentecostal rhetoric and practice enable young women to reconcile and negotiate potential futures with present-day realities. She asks how religious techniques mould new subjectivities, allowing young women to overcome uncertainty in their quest to attain ‘destinies of greatness’. Her research also looks at the country’s popular beauty pageants and sewing shops as sites of individualism, examining how new Pentecostal subjectivities play out in everyday urban life.

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Unni Kiwanuka

Unni Kiwanuka is a Master’s student at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Bergen.

She has carried out fieldwork in Kampala, Uganda. For centuries the city has been the central field of power for the Baganda Kingdom. Today however the cultural landscape of Kampala is more complex as the city takes part in modern development of national, transnational and global dimensions. Unni is currently writing her thesis on the topic of charismatic Christianity and cultural change within Kampala.  During fieldwork she participated in three independent churches all highlighting the blessings of the Holy Spirit. The focus of the thesis is on the health and wealth gospel as a way of understanding collective and personal processes of convictions.  Another important aspect is the churches aim to battle evil, often thought of as the immanent threat of witchcraft, in order to proceed towards the modern lifestyle.


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