Political Spiritualities: The Pentecostal Revolution in Nigeria
University of Chicago Press, 2009
After an explosion of conversions to Pentecostalism over the past three decades, tens of millions of Nigerians now claim that “Jesus is the answer.” But if Jesus is the answer, what is the question? How can we account for the dramatic rise of Pentecostalism and understand its socio-political significance? In this interdisciplinary study, I analyze the development of Born-Again subjects, showing how the ‘new birth’ comes to be experienced as a plausible mode of overcoming the bondage of the past and achieving mastery in a context of radical insecurity. With their emphasis on individual spirituality, revelation and the miraculous, successive waves of Pentecostalism have enabled a new experience of the world, new modes of governing the self and others. And yet, the movement’s failure to institute new forms of sovereignty and political community undermines its project of socio-political redemption and leads to a dangerous politics of conviction. The global explosion of Pentecostalism presents new challenges to political thought and practice. Political Spiritualities reveals the significance of the Nigerian case and argues passionately for new ways of thinking about the place of religion in contemporary politics.
Between Babel and Pentecost:Transnational Pentecostalism in Africa and Latin America
Co-edited with André Corten, Indiana University Press, 2001.
This collection of 16 essays from several disciplines evaluates the global explosion of Pentecostalism as its center of gravity shifts from North to South, from the United States to Latin America and Africa. The book deploys the tropes of transnationalism and globalization to address the tensions and fractures between a worldwide movement and its local variations. The volume’s contribution is in the ethnographic plunge into the “word, space and time” of Pentecostals as they simultaneously play roles in local, transnational, and transcendent scripts and scenarios.
Selected Articles and Chapters
Christianity, Anthropology, Politics Current Anthropology Dec. 2014.
Around Political Spiritualities: An author meets her critics Religion and Society: Advances in Research 2 (2011): 138–157.
The Sovereignty of Miracles. Constellations Vol. 17, N°2, June, 2010.
L’explosion des pentecôtismes. Esprit. N°333, March – April, 2007.
Ruth Marshall, Miriam Ticktin, Paola Bacchetta. A Transnational Conversation on French Colonialism, Immigration, Violence and Sovereignty. Neferti Tadiar (ed.). Scholar & Feminist Online. Issue 6.3: Summer 2008.
Côte d’Ivoire: Negotiating Identity and Citizenship Through the Barrel of a Gun”, In Bøås, M. and Dunn, K. (eds.) African Guerrillas: Raging against the Machine. Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2007. Joint with R. Banégas.
The War of ‘who is who’: Autochthony, Nationalism, and Citizenship in the Ivoirian Crisis. African Studies Review, Vol. 49, N° 2, September, 2006.
La France en Côte d’Ivoire: l’interventionnisme à l’épreuve des faits. (Pax Africana, special issue on international interventionism) Politique Africaine, N°98, June 2005.
Modes de Régulation Politique et Reconfiguration des Espaces Publics. in J. Damon and J. O. Igue (eds.) L’Afrique de l’Ouest dans la compétition mondiale. Quels atouts possibles? Paris, Karthala, 2004. Joint with R. Banégas.
L’ouest de la Côte d’Ivoire: un conflit libérien? Politique Africaine N° 89, March 2003. Joint with C. Ero.
La religion du sujet en Afrique. (Les sujets de dieu, special issue on religious movements) Politique Africaine, N° 87, October, 2002. Joint with D. Péclard.
Prospérité Miraculeuse: Les pasteurs pentecôtistes et l’argent de Dieu au Nigéria. Politique Africaine. N° 82, juin, 2001.
Mediating the Global and Local in Nigerian Pentecostalism. Journal of Religion in Africa 28/3, Leiden: E.J. Brill Publishers, 1998.
’God is not a Democrat’: Pentecostalism and Democratisation in Nigeria”, Paul Gifford (ed.) The Christian Churches and the Democratisation of Africa, Leiden: E.J.Brill Publishers, 1995.
Power in the Name of Jesus: Social Transformation and Pentecostalism in Western Nigeria Revisited. Terence Ranger (ed.) Legitimacy and the State in Twentieth Century Africa, Oxford: St. Antony’s College Macmillan Series, OUP, 1993.