Current Institutional Affiliation
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Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2002
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropolgy and History, University of Michigan
Ethnography of Faith: Personal Conceptions of Religiosity in the Zoutpansberg, South Africa in the 19th and 20th centuries

This study examines how individuals who came into the sphere of Christianity and the teachings of Christian mission societies in the northern regions of South Africa from the late 19th century onwards formulated their personal faiths and forms of religiosity. It analyses the effects of and meanings accorded to the difference between these individual forms of faith and church doctrine and practice, within both the churches and society more widely. The project is located in the literature between the disciplines of history and anthropology in attempting to tease out the social significance of personal faith which is carefully situated in its historical context. The project proposed here is a one-year anthropological field study in the Zoutpansberg, Northern Province, in South Africa to be carried out from January to December 2003. It is based on a one-year archival study, to be completed in August 2002, in the archives of the Berlin Mission Society that for several decades was the most influential society to work in this area.