The Pastor as Sexual Object

The modern-day Pentecostal pastor is a widely sought after existential micromanager: a blend of spiritual guide, financial coach, marriage counselor, fashion icon, travel advisor, all-purpose celebrity, and last but not least, the center of an erotic economy.

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ACI Indonesia – Women Strengthening Pluralist Co-Existence in Contemporary Indonesia: Analyzing the Role of Komnas Perempuan and the Koalisi Perempuan

FARSIJANA ADENEY-RISAKOTTA AND NELLY VAN DOORN-HARDER

The battles these women had waged for legal, religious, economic, social, and other forms of equality since the 1980s had started to bear fruit; new opportunities had opened to women, and debates about their legal rights had reached the public press and political platforms. Read the full article »

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ACI Indonesia – Rebranding Islam: Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, and the Making of “Moderate Islam”

JAMES B. HOESTEREY

During the years following 9/11, Indonesia’s foreign ministry promoted Indonesia as the model for “moderate Islam.” More recently, in the wake of the Arab Uprisings, Indonesia sponsored several workshops with Egyptian and Tunisian politicians and civil society leaders in order to “share lessons” from Indonesia’s democratic transition from authoritarian rule. Further still, Indonesia has tried to reposition itself as a global peace broker within the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), most recently hosting OIC’s Extraordinary Summit for a just solution in Palestine. Read the full article »

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ACI Africa – Perspectives on Gender and Sexuality in Ivory Coast

LUDOVIC LADO

Sub-Saharan African societies, described as community-oriented, are often compared with Western societies pictured as individualistic. But this simplistic divide can be misleading. The postcolonial predicament in Sub-Saharan Africa is a complex conundrum that encapsulates various dialectical processes involving the constant renegotiation of the relations between community and the individual, belonging and autonomy, submission and rebellion, authority and autonomy. Read the full article »

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ACI Indonesia – The Battle for Meaning: Christians and Muslims at Odds over Indonesian Constitutionalism

STEFANUS HENDRIANTO

The abortion debate in Indonesia is a fitting illustration of the global trend toward liberalization of access to abortion across the world. In Indonesia, this phenomenon cannot be separated from the constitutional reform that took place more than a decade ago. This phenomenon immediately raises a question of how Muslims and Christians will respond to the new notion of constitutionalism. Read the full article »

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ACI Africa – Pentecostal Pastors and the Crisis of Political Authority in Africa

EBENEZER OBADARE

Since January of this year, the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Nigeria has hosted Divine Encounter and Shiloh Hour, a special monthly ministration and prayer service, in Abuja, the Nigerian Federal Capital Territory (FCT). April’s version of Divine Encounter took place in the city’s 60,000 capacity National Stadium complex against a backdrop of a prolonged fuel scarcity that virtually crippled social life and economic activities across the country. Read the full article »

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Introducing ACI Africa

EMMANUEL KATONGOLE

In its broad conception the Authority, Community, and Identity (ACI) Research project is about Africa’s complex modernities. Modernity is not one thing (see, for example, Eisentadt’s multiple modernities thesis). African individuals and communities find themselves at the intersection of multiple modern, global, local, traditional, secular and religious forces. Read the full article »

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Introducing ACI Indonesia

MUN’IM SIRRY

After a careful process of selecting the core research team, the Contending Modernities Authority, Community, and Identity (ACI) working group on Indonesia formally launched last year to begin a three-year research project to better understand the complex issues facing plural societies and to foster possible collaborations among various actors, religious and secular, at different levels: local and global, individuals and communities. Read the full article »

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An interfaith encounter with America (Part 1)

MAHAN MIRZA

“If Islam is so great and things are so wonderful back home, why did you come here?” As an international student from Pakistan who had grown up in a relatively privileged household, my transition to college life in America had promised to be seamless. And in many ways it was, at least outwardly. So my culture shock was extraordinarily abrupt. In the course of a midnight conversation on religion and politics, a fellow student had jolted me out of my comfort zone with his jarring question.

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Which language, whose vernacular?: Vatican II and liturgical politics in Bangalore (Part 3)

BRANDON VAIDYANATHAN

This post is the third in a three-part series on the sometimes violent liturgical battles that have been waged in the Catholic Church in Bangalore, India, since the reforms of Vatican II. Though the Second Vatican Council began fifty years ago this year, conflicts about the place of Bangalore’s diversity of vernacular languages in the Church’s liturgy remain unresolved to this day. Part 1 recounted the origins of the conflict in the 1960s. Part 2 picked up the story at the beginning of the 1970s. Part 3, the present post, takes the story to the present day, drawing out its ironic implications for Catholic modernity and the Church’s modern “reforms.”

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