DPDF Revitalizing Development Studies fellow Nicolette Manglos-Weber recently published Joining the Choir. In Joining the Choir, Nicolette D. Manglos-Weber takes a deeply personal look at the lives of a few central characters in Accra, Ghana and Chicago, Illinois, examining what religious membership means for them as Christians, transnational Ghanaians, and aspirational migrants. She sheds light on their search for people they can trust and their desires to transcend divisions of race, ethnicity, and nationality in the context of Evangelical Christianity. Her characters are complex, motivated, and adaptable people for whom religious membership answers some questions of integration and raises others.
The stories of these migrants show how racial divides are subtly perpetuated within congregations in spite of hopes for religious-based assimilation. Yet they also reveal the potential of religious-based personal trust to bridge those divides, as an imaginative and symbolic leap of faith with the unknown stranger. Finally, their stories highlight the continuing role of religion as a portable basis of trust in the modern world, where more and more people live between nations.