Indigenous Christianities: Commensuration, (De)Colonization, and Cultural Production in Latin America
From the earliest moments of the colonial encounter, indigenous Christianity has been an object of scrutiny. This chapter examines indigenous Christianity in its connection with a founding problem of Latin American studies: the asymmetrical encounter of indigenous communities with external powers and the resulting complex of social, political, and economic entanglements is the origin story of the project. The discussion is framed around two correlated arguments. First, like many other “Spanish” forms, Christianity was quickly insinuated as a self-evident and potent component of indigenous experience. This had cosmological as well as more prosaic implications. Within this context, indigenous locality—the ground of indigenous Christianities—is best examined not as an insular embattled survival (the “closed corporate community” of classical social science), but as an ever-emergent project of cultural production undertaken always with respect to a more inclusive sacred and social universe. The second argument concerns the ways this founding entanglement has become constitutive of indigenous locality, and advocates approaching Christianity less as an index of degrees of assimilation or change, and more as a dynamic cultural resource and frame of continuing encounter that remains a generative component of an emerging indigenous modernity.
Jenny Te Paa-Daniel
In 1992 the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia, which owed its origin ultimately to the work of Samuel Marsden and other missionaries, undertook a globally unprecedented project to redeem its inglorious colonial past, especially with respect to its treatment of indigenous Maori Anglicans. In this chapter Te Paa Daniel, an indigenous Anglican laywoman, explores the history of her Provincial Church in the Antipodes, outlining the facts of history, including the relationship with the Treaty of Waitangi, the period under Selwyn’s leadership, as experienced and understood from the perspective of Maori Anglicans. The chapter thus brings into view the events that informed and influenced the radical and globally unprecedented Constitutional Revision of 1992 which saw the creation of the partnership between different cultural jurisdictions (tikanga).
Jesuits have commanded scholarly attention in recent years, with Jesuit studies almost becoming an independent academic discipline. However, their involvement in Africa remains largely unstudied, even though they were in parts of the continent for close to two centuries. Moreover, after their restoration in 1814, the Jesuits played a significant role in the evangelization of Africa. This essay is an overview of Jesuit presence in Africa over the centuries. While it gives more prominence to the historical missions of the pre-suppression period in Congo, Angola, Mozambique, and Ethiopia, it also covers more recent presence in Madagascar, southern Africa and Egypt, and concludes with a brief analysis of the state of the Society of Jesus in Africa today. The essay underscores the challenge of locating Jesuit records related to Africa and the importance of understanding early missionary efforts on the African continent for the benefit of similar efforts in our time.