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CfP: Pentecostal Strategies of Public Engagement

11th conference of the European Research Network on Global Pentecostalism (, Basel, February 14-15, 2020

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. The 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.

The call for papers invites contributions to parallel panels. The conveners 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?

Submission deadline for abstracts: 30th September 2019