Current Institutional Affiliation
Associate Professor, Anthropology, Swarthmore College

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2006
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania
Looking Within and Between: Women and Religious Transformations in Mozambique

This ethnographic field research will examine women's participation in healing churches and "traditional" practices of spirit-mediumship in central Mozambique. In recent years, unprecedented growth in Pentecostal-Charismatic churches has coincided with increasing numbers of spirit-mediums and "epidemics" of sorcery accusations in geographically dispersed regions of the world. While these phenomena have drawn substantial attention in both popular and academic writing, scholarly literature has centered analyses on single types of religious communities, thereby limiting the types of questions addressed. By contrast, this study does not limit analysis to a single type of religious group, but focuses on women, who form the conspicuous majority of participants across these dynamic traditions. This approach will situate research both within and between different communities of spiritual healing, enabling me to explore how different religious movements are inter-related. The purpose of this research is to provide an ethnographic account of the ways in which women's experiences are articulated and mediated through different religious frameworks, with significant social impacts. As the relevance of religion to current political, economic, and social life grows, it is becoming more imperative to explore how religious transformations are entangled with the contexts in which they are found. This research will thus offer a different angle from which to approach turbulent social contexts shaped by global economic and political transformations.