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Call: Conference "Pentecostal Strategies of Public Engagement" (Basel, February 14-15, 2020)

European Research Network on Global Pentecostalism

The eleventh international and interdisciplinary conference of the European Research Network on Global Pentecostalism ( will be held on 14–15 February 2020 at the University of Basel, Switzerland.

Conference Theme:
Pentecostal Strategies of Public Engagement

Convenor / contact: Andreas Heuser (

Call for Papers

The growing evidence of Pentecostal public engagement has attracted academic attention, especially, but not exclusively in arenas of the Global South. Recent explorations of the global ‘Charismatic city’, the notion of an African ‘Pentecostal republic’, or assertions about ‘property Christianity’ in China point to peculiar Pentecostal taxonomies in the public realm. Pentecostal politics of public prayer, ‘spiritual warfare’ or ‘crusades’ seek to transform religious landscapes, while ‘Dominionist’ theologies claim to transcend narrow Pentecostal interests in order to advocate the common good. Megachurches establish networks to access political, economic and cultural elites. Prosperity theologies also target social transformations and partly enable structural innovations in economic life. The Pentecostal media revolution with its constitutive elements of religious broadcasting and publishing interferes in local public discourses; professionalized e-church performances disseminate transcultural strategies to impact a given political culture. Whether Pentecostal migrant communities in the Global North are pursuing a strategic ‘reverse mission’ to ‘conquer secular nations for Christ’ remains open to debate.

Thus, Pentecostalism entails a variety of modes, forms and patterns of public mobilization or a religious mobilisation of public realms, which are the theme of this conference. Our keynote speakers will address a diversity of public strategies in the Global South: Heinrich Schäfer (University of Bielefeld) will discuss Pentecostal political agendas in Latin America; Ilana van Wyk (University of Stellenbosch) focuses on Pentecostal public strategies in Southern Africa; and Nanlai Cao (Renmin University, Beijing) will address Pentecostal patterns of public engagement in China and within the Chinese diaspora.

This call for papers invites contributions to our parallel panels. We are particularly interested in presentations that study concepts, strategies and agendas of how Pentecostals shape public spheres. Papers may present case studies or comparative analyses of Pentecostal strategies of public engagement. What are peculiar issues, themes, and areas of Pentecostal public engagement? How do Pentecostal communication, network and support structures look like in specific contexts? Last but not least: what are the limits of Pentecostal theo-political imaginations, and who are opponents of Pentecostal strategies to direct and redirect of public opinion making?

Proposals for entire panels or individual papers from current research on a different aspect of Pentecostal Christianity are also welcome, but we advise to contact the conference organiser before submitting your abstract.

Submission deadline for abstracts: 30th September 2019 (300 words max/send to Anna Kühleis:
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