Book Release: Jesus for Zanzibar

Book release and open lecture with Hans Olsson, post-doc fellow at Centre of African Studies, Univeristy of Copenhagen

In this seminar Hans Olsson present his book Jesus for Zanzibar: Narratives of Pentecostal (Non-)Belonging, Islam, and Nation (Brill 2019). The work is an ethnographic account of the lived experience and socio-political significance of newly arriving Pentecostal Christians in the Muslim majority setting of Zanzibar. Jesus for Zanzibar analyzes how a disputed political partnership between Zanzibar and Mainland Tanzania intersects with the construction of religious identities.

Undertaken at a time of political tensions, the case study of Zanzibar’s largest Pentecostal church, the City Christian Center, outlines religious belonging as relationally filtered in-between experiences of social insecurity, altered minority / majority positions, and spiritual powers. It addresses how Pentecostal Christianity, as a signifier of (un)wanted social change, exemplifies contested processes of becoming in Zanzibar that capitalizes on, and creates meaning out of, religious difference and ambient political tensions.

For a link to the book click here.
Student and employees at University of Copenhagen can get a sneak peek here.

Hans Olsson (Ph.D, Lund University) is currently a post-doc fellow holding a Marie Curie Grant at the Centre of African Studies. His current research addresses the promotion of Charismatic Christian farming in South Africa. Jesus for Zanzibar is based on his doctoral research conducted in a Pentecostal church in Zanzibar.


Benjamin Kirby (Ph.D, University of Leeds) is British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Leeds University Centre for African Studies (LUCAS). His current research focuses on forms of Muslim sociality and 'religious infrastructure' in African cities. This builds on ethnographic work in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on the relationship between Muslim politics and urban livelihoods in the Kariakoo market district.

Primus Mbeabwoah Tazanu (Ph.D, University of Freiburg) is a social anthropologist and visiting researcher at the Centre of African Studies, UCPH. He is currently working on media and politics – the various ways Africans engage in politics through smartphones and social media. He has also researched the role of media and technologies among Pentecostal Christians in West Africa.