Gender of Christian Charisma AAA (20 November 2013)

The Gender of Christian Charisma: Debating Ethnographies of Agency, Power and Engendered Leadership in Contemporary Christianity

American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting

Chicago, USA.

20 November 2013

In this session we propose to debate the intersection of gender and charisma in Christian cultures. We incorporate empirically grounded and/or theoretically based discussions on charismatic leadership in Christian cultures, but also discussions on charismatic forms that do not easily fit with categories of leadership. The primary aim of the workshop is to investigate the way in which gender as an analytic tool can reveal different forms of charisma, some of which are more easily transformed into leadership positions. The relationship between the charismatic leader and the congregation is a specific entry point into this discussion; is the charisma of the leader necessarily different from the charisma of the congregation? Furthermore; what forms of charisma can bring about radical forms of change and fuel socially powerful movements? Is the ‚Äúeffective‚ÄĚ form of charisma always the personified form, and in which way is this form of charisma gendered? We bring contributions that investigate the way in which a focus on gender can open different perspectives and new ways of understanding the dynamics of charisma in Christianity. We incorporate both papers that investigate these fundamentally gendered capacities of charisma (the gender of charisma) and papers that look at how theologies and experiences of charisma are bound to (or contest) political constructions of gender roles in religious organizations (how gender roles relate to charisma). We include scholars of Pentecostal, Evangelical, Catholic, Protestant and other Christian traditions to reflect on the relationship between gender and the morphologies of charisma on both of these levels. Themes approached will include: is charisma gendered?; the aesthetics of charismatic leadership; historicities and models for charisma; the agency of charisma versus the agency of leadership; gender roles in the intersection of tradition and iconoclasm; spiritual and cultural mediations in gendered religious inter¬≠relationships.


Organisers: Annelin Eriksen (University of Bergen) and Ruy Blanes (University of Bergen)

Chair: Annelin Eriksen (University of Bergen)

Discussant: Naomi Haynes (University of Edinburgh)


Male Testimonies of Fantastic Sin and Miraculous Redemption: Cultivating Charisma in a Caribbean Pentecostal Community
Brendan Jamal Thornton (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)


(En)Gendered Charisma and Contesting Forms of Power in the Prophetic Movement of Amalia Bautista, Mexico
Sitna Quiroz (LSE)


Charisma, Gender and Calling in a Nigerian ­Initiated Church

Kim E Knibbe (University of Groningen)


Men and Women of God. Gendered Charisma in Contemporary Tanzania

Martin Lindhardt (University of Southern Denmark)


The Gender of Charisma in a Melanesian Pentecostalism: The Holy Spirit and Mechanisms of Change in Port Vila, Vanuatu
Annelin Eriksen (University of Bergen)


Gender, Leadership and Charismatic Circulations in the Angolan Bakongo World

Ruy Blanes (University of Bergen)


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