Spirit, Structure, and Flesh: Gender and Power in Yoruba African Instituted Churches

Paperback | May 18, 2010

byDeidre Helen Crumbley

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Although popularized in Africa by Western missionaries, the Christian faith as practiced by Africans has acquired unique traits over time. Some of the most radical reinterpretations of Christianity are offered by those churches known as “AICs” (variously, African Initiated, African Instituted, or African Independent Churches)—new denominations founded by Africans skeptical of dogma offered by mainstream churches with roots in European empires. As these churches spread throughout the African diaspora, they have brought with them distinct practices relating to gender. Such practices range from the expectation that women avoid holy objects and sites during menstruation to the maintenance of church structures in which both men and women may be ordained and assigned the same duties and responsibilities.
            How does having a female body affect one’s experience of indigenized Christianity in Africa? Spirit, Structure, and Flesh addresses this question by exploring the ways ritual, symbol, and dogma circumscribe, constrain, and liberate women in AICs. Through detailed description of worship and doctrine, as well as careful analyses of church history and organizational processes, Deidre Helen Crumbley explores gendered experiences of faith and power in three Nigerian indigenous AICs, demonstrating the roles of women in the day-to-day life of these churches.

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From the Publisher

Although popularized in Africa by Western missionaries, the Christian faith as practiced by Africans has acquired unique traits over time. Some of the most radical reinterpretations of Christianity are offered by those churches known as “AICs” (variously, African Initiated, African Instituted, or African Independent Churches)—new denom...

Deidre Helen Crumbley is associate professor of Africana studies at North Carolina State University, where she teaches courses on African civilization, religions, and diaspora.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:200 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.7 inPublished:May 18, 2010Publisher:University Of Wisconsin PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0299229149

ISBN - 13:9780299229146

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Contents
 
Prologue          
Introduction: Spirit, Structure, and Flesh           
1. Historical Contexts and Engendered Institutional Narratives  
2. Worshipping With the Aladura: Ritual, Symbol, and Gender  
3. Gender and Power Within and Without Church Structures    
Conclusion      
 
Notes  
References      
Index   
 

Editorial Reviews

“At a time when scholarly focus is gradually shifting to new religious movements in Africa, Deidre Helen Crumbley has revisited the Aladura in a refreshing manner, drawing our attention to the intricacies of their gender practices. . . . She has successfully contributed to the gender debate by laying out the various ways in which women have continued to exercise their agency to enhance their status within the Aladura churches, just as their counterparts are doing in the wider society. I recommend this book to all interested not only in gender issues but also in religious matters.”—Olufunke Adeboye, African Studies Review