New Media and Religious Transformations in Africa

New Media and Religious Transformations in Africa

Foreword by Francis Nyamnjoh, edited by Rosalind I J Hackett and Benjamin F Soares
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 01/21/2015
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-01524-2
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New Media and Religious Transformations in Africa casts a critical look at Africa's rapidly evolving religious media scene. Following political liberalization, media deregulation, and the proliferation of new media technologies, many African religious leaders and activists have appropriated such media to strengthen and expand their communities and gain public recognition. Media have also been used to marginalize and restrict the activities of other groups, which has sometimes led to tension, conflict, and even violence. Showing how media are rarely neutral vehicles of expression, the contributors to this multidisciplinary volume analyze the mutual imbrications of media and religion during times of rapid technological and social change in various places throughout Africa.

Author Bio

Rosalind I. J. Hackett is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is editor of Displacing the State: Religion and Conflict in Neoliberal Africa. She is President of the International Association for the History of Religions.

Benjamin F. Soares is an anthropologist and Chair of the research staff at the Afrika-Studiecentrum in Leiden, The Netherlands. He is author of Islam and the Prayer Economy: History and Authority in a Malian Town.


“Backed by grounded theory in the emergent field of research on the nexus of religion and media, these essays offer detailed and deep insights into the ingenious, often surprising ways in which new--and old--media are negotiated and employed in Christian, Muslim, and indigenous religious practices across the African continent. A wonderful resource for teaching and a treasure box sparkling with new ideas for future research on the intricacies of religious mediation.”
 — Birgit Meyer, Utrecht University

“Represents, as a whole, an excellent piece of academic work edited by two of the leading scholars in the field, bringing together an impressive number of authors who have done pioneering work in religion and media studies.”
 — Roman Loimeier, University of Göttingen

“This collection considers Islam and Christianity, but also African indigenous religions and will be extremely useful to scholars in media studies, religious studies, and African studies, in sociology, political science and anthropology among other disciplines.”
 — Robert Launay, Northwestern University

“These empirical case studies, drawn from diverse indigenous, Islamic, Christian and neotraditional religions and multiple kinds of media technologies, are a must-read for academics and graduate students in the social sciences and humanities and for non-academic readers interested in changing social trends in Africa.”
 — Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations

“[This] volume is an engaging and innovative contribution to scholarly work on religion, media, and politics, and an effective critique of the concept of the public sphere as an a-religious or secular zone.”
 — Journal of Modern African Studies

“It is to be expected that in such a dynamic situation, with rapid changes taking place in media technologies and their applications globally, changes in religion in Africa triggered by changes in their globally massaged, embodied mediation would follow. This book gives valuable insights into the dimensions of those changes, in both detail and broader reflection. It is a commendable collection.”
 — Nova Religio

“Taken as a whole, the contributions to New Media and Religious Transformations in Africa will surely appeal to scholars and students who are interested in either religion and/or media in Africa, and to those well versed in media or religious studies in other contexts. The collection is an exciting contribution by scholars doing pioneering work at the intersections of religion, media, culture, and politics, and will be a valuable resource for scholars wishing to follow the many suggestive avenues for future research on the complexities of religious mediation.”
 — International Journal of African Historical Studies

“New Media and Religious Transformations in Africa casts a critical look at Africa’s rapidly evolving religious media scene. . . Showing how media are rarely neutral vehicles of expression, the contributors to this multidisciplinary volume analyze the mutual imbrications of media and religion during times of rapid technological and social change in various places throughout Africa.2/2/15”
 — North American Assn. for the Study of Religion

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Table of Contents


Francis B. Nyamnjoh

Introduction: New Media and Religious Transformations in Africa
Rosalind I. J. Hackett & Benjamin F. Soares

Part I. "Old" Media: Print and Radio
1. A History of Sauti ya Mvita ("Voice of Mombasa"): Radio, Public Culture, and Islam in Coastal Kenya, 1947-1966
James R. Brennan
2. Between Standardization and Pluralism: The Islamic Printing Market and its Social Spaces in Bamako, Mali
Francesco Zappa
3. Binary Islam: Media and Religious Movements in Nigeria
Brian Larkin
4. Muslim Community Radio Stations: Constructing and Shaping Identities in a Democratic South Africa
Muhammed Haron

Part II. New Media and Media Worlds
5. Mediating Transcendence: Popular Film, Visuality, and Religious Experience in West Africa
Johannes Merz
6. The Heart of Man: Pentecostalist Emotive Style in and beyond Kinshasa’s Media World
Katrien Pype
7. Islamic Communication and Mass Media in Cameroon
Hamadou Adama
8. "We Are on the Internet:" Contemporary Pentecostalism in Africa and the New Culture of Online Religion
J. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu
9. Conveying Islam: Arab Islamic Satellite Channels as New Players
Ehab Galal
10. Religious Discourse in the New Media: A Case Study of Pentecostal Discourse Communities of SMS Users in South-western Nigeria
‘Rotimi Taiwo

Part III. Arenas of Exchange, Competition, and Conflict
11. Media Afrikania: Styles and Strategies of Representing "Afrikan Traditional Religion" in Ghana
Marleen de Witte
12. Senwele Jesu: Gospel Music and Religious Publics in Nigeria
Vicki L. Brennan
13. Managing Miracles: Ambiguities in the Regulation of Religious Broadcasting in Nigeria
Asonzeh Ukah
14. Living across Digital Landscapes: Muslims, Orthodox Christians, and an Indian Guru in Ethiopia
Samson A. Bezabeh
15. Zulu Dreamscapes: Senses, Media, and Authentication in Contemporary Neo-shamanism
David C

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