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Church and Society in the Mobile Phone Age
This is an original and innovative study of mobile phones in Africa from a theological perspective. The First and the Second Special Assemblies for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, held in Rome in 1994 and 2009 respectively, made an urgent appeal to the Church in Africa to employ various media forms of social communications for evangelization and the promotion of justice and peace. Evidently, electronic media are now increasingly used for evangelization across Africa. The proliferation of the mobile phone in Africa is a most welcome development to this end. On the basis of a thorough review of the growing literature on the mobile phone and the cultures it inspires, Goliama highlights the ambivalent nature of mobile cultures for the Roman Catholic Churchís evangelization mission in Africa. He argues not only for the continued merits of face-to-face communication for the Churchís pastoral approach in the African context. He points to how this could be enriched by a creative appropriation of the mobile phone as a tool for theological engagement, in its capacity to shape cultures in ways amenable to the construction of a Cell phone Ecclesiology. Such emergent mobile cultural values include the tendency of mobile users to transcend social divides, to promote social interconnectedness, and to privilege the question ìwhere are you?î. This informed and well articulated exploration of Cell phone Ecclesiology is thus envisaged to aid the Church in Africa to wrestle more effectively with challenges that diminish human life and promote instead qualities that are life-affirming to all categories of people in the Church and society.
Complementary Dualism in Modern Peru
Yanantin and Masintin in the Andean World is an eloquently written autoethnography in which researcher Hillary S. Webb seeks to understand the indigenous Andean concept of yanantin or “complementary opposites.” One of the most well-known and defining characteristics of indigenous Andean thought, yanantin is an adherence to a philosophical model based on the belief that the polarities of existence (such as male/ female, dark/light, inner/outer) are interdependent and essential parts of a harmonious whole.
Webb embarks on a personal journey of understanding the yanantin worldview of complementary duality through participant observation and reflection on her individual experience. Her investigation is a thoughtful, careful, and rich analysis of the variety of ways in which cultures make meaning of the world around them, and how deeply attached we become to our own culturally imposed meaning-making strategies.
Exploring the Yoruba tradition in the United States, Hucks begins with the story of Nana Oseijeman Adefunmi’s personal search for identity and meaning as a young man in Detroit in the 1930s and 1940s. She traces his development as an artist, religious leader, and founder of several African-influenced religio-cultural projects in Harlem and later in the South. Adefunmi was part of a generation of young migrants attracted to the bohemian lifestyle of New York City and the black nationalist fervor of Harlem. Cofounding Shango Temple in 1959, Yoruba Temple in 1960, and Oyotunji African Village in 1970, Adefunmi and other African Americans in that period renamed themselves “Yorubas” and engaged in the task of transforming Cuban Santería into a new religious expression that satisfied their racial and nationalist leanings and eventually helped to place African Americans on a global religious schema alongside other Yoruba practitioners in Africa and the diaspora.
Alongside the story of Adefunmi, Hucks weaves historical and sociological analyses of the relationship between black cultural nationalism and reinterpretations of the meaning of Africa from within the African American community.