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World Christianity in the Andes and Amazonia

Socio-Cosmological Transformations

Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich,
11-12 November 2010

In recent years major efforts have been undertaken to understand Amerindian Christianity not as a cultural variation of European Christianity, but as an ontology in its own terms. This symposium invites scholars to debate how specific socio-cosmological relations make Christianity meaningful to Andean and Amazonian peoples, or in other words, how Christianity is becoming Amerindian. Although there is a consensus that Andean and Amazonian societies have been transformed by Christianity as much as they have transformed it, little is known about the dynamics of recent religious changes in both regions. How does the newest missionary move, anchored on mass media and represented by Latin American mega churches, confront the sedimented forms of Andean/mestizo/caboclo Christianity? What does it mean for Amerindians to embrace a religion centered on the word and on an individual relationship with the Holy Spirit? Is this a new process of Amerindianization of Christianity or the contrary, a de- Amerindianization of it? How social scientists and historians should approach sudden and dramatic religious changes in indigenous South America? The Andes and Amazonia have been historically exposed to the same missionary agents: Jesuits, Dominicans and Franciscans in the first centuries of the colonization, and Evangelicals and Pentecostals in recent decades. Although Andeans and Amazonians have mostly given different responses to Christian proselytism, we hope this symposium will be an opportunity to explore both the differences and similarities in Indigenous South America.

See the Full Programme and Abstracts for more details of the event.