19 April 2022

The (Spiritual) Revolution, Pentecostal Belonging, and the Past in Zanzibar

Hans Olsson, Marie Curie Fellow at CAS has contributed with a chapter in the recently published book Across the Waves Strategies of Belonging in Indian Ocean Island Societies edited by Iain Walker & Marie-Aude Fouéré (Brill 2022).

In his contribution Olsson addresses the past’s influence on the formation of religious belonging in present-day Zanzibar. Focusing on Pentecostal Christians’ engagement with historical scripts when interpreting present-day experiences of violence, conflict and contestations, Olsson analyses how certain elements of Zanzibar’s history—African slavery and Muslim Arab domination over Africans—become important features in carving out Christian space. Highlighting how Pentecostal Christian migrants situate their presence, growth, and influence in society in continuation with scripts of the Zanzibar revolution and constitution of the Union between Zanzibar and Tanganyika in the 1960s, the chapter argue for looking at Pentecostal Christians’ engagements with the past to reveal processes of emplacement, localization and agency between positions of inclusion and exclusion.

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