The African Diaspora and Pentecostalism in Australia (with Richard Vokes, UWA, and Kathleen Openshaw, WSU)
Australian Research Council Discovery, 2019-2022
In the past two decades, Australia, like other countries in the Global North, has received a growing number of people from the African continent. Many bring their religions with them, particularly Pentecostalism, but many more convert after arrival. As a global phenomenon, Pentecostalism gives them a sense of belonging to the host and homeland societies and beyond. This project is theoretically innovative as it develops a network perspective on global P/cC (Pentecostal and charismatic Christianities). The various branches of the churches under investigation – which are physically located in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney and parts of Africa – are not analysed as separate social-cultural forms, but instead as a single translocal and transnational religious field through which people, ideas, practices, technologies and resources, constantly circulate.
We consider how translocal and transnational fields are common features of migrants’ lives in our contemporary ‘global’ world; for P/cC, spiritual and geographical belonging are mapped onto each other, giving diasporic subjects a sense of local, national, and transnational belonging; and P/cC make cities sacred by acquiring buildings, infusing them with sacred sounds and images, conducting prayer walks, etc. – thus creating an ‘urbanscape’ that connects cities within nations and across the world.
We are particularly interested in how human and media elements may combine to produce powerful religious affect across multiple locations, and in why mediated religious representations and ideas are apparently so powerful.