Pentecostalism in Transnational Perspective

Year Awarded: 2009

This Initiative has concluded its research.

In 2009–2010, a team composed of Professors Jacob Olupona, Harvey Cox, and Marla Frederick, and doctoral candidate Devaka Premawardhana, of the Harvard Divinity School, carried out a scholarly workshop at Harvard on the topic of “Pentecostalism in Transnational Perspective,” supported as the tenth Weatherhead Initiative. Their project sought to advance understanding of the worldwide phenomenon of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity, its causes and effects, and the unquestioned stereotypes and misunderstandings of Pentecostals as fundamentalist, reactionary, exploited or exploitative, and antithetical to material and political progress. Their aim was to bring the study of Pentecostalism into creative dialogue with inquiries about global and transnational forces—particularly where it is commonplace to assume that the process of modernization occurs in spite of the role of religion, rather than as facilitated by it. A subsequent non-Initiative but Weatherhead Center-funded faculty grant, in 2010, enabled these scholars to go to the field to gather data on three continents.

Principal Investigators

Jacob Olupona

Faculty Associate. Professor of African Religious Traditions, Harvard Divinity School; Professor of African and African American Studies, Department of African and African American Studies, Harvard University.

Harvey Cox

Hollis Research Professor of Divinity, Harvard Divinity School.

See also: Initiatives