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Steering Group Profiles

The GloPent steering group consists of the Centre for Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies at the Graduate Institute for Theology and Religion at the University of Birmingham, the Hollenweger Center at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Department of History of Religions and Mission Studies at the Faculty of Theology, University of Heidelberg, and the Institute for Pentecostal Studies at the University of Uppsala.


Centre for Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies (Birmingham, United Kingdom)

The Graduate Institute for Theology and Religion in the College of Arts and Law at the University of Birmingham has a long tradition in the academic study of global Pentecostalism, dating back to 1971-1989 when Walter J. Hollenweger was appointed Professor of Mission here. Through Hollenweger's work, the department became a world leader in this field and for many years was the only university in Europe where Pentecostalism could be studied. In 1995 Allan Anderson from the University of South Africa was appointed as a specialist in African Pentecostalism, since which time research into global Pentecostalism has expanded steadily. A wide range of library and other resources are available to researchers, in particular, the Harold Turner Collection on New Religious Movements. Annual postgraduate lectures on global Pentecostal and Charismatic history and theology and regular research seminars have taken place since 1997. In 2005, Allan was given a personal Chair in Global Pentecostal Studies. By 2008, seventeen doctoral students had completed their studies here, while there were some twenty doctoral and several masters students pursuing their research on global Pentecostalism, mainly from historical, theological and ethnographic perspectives. Our Senior Lecturer in Pentecostal and Charismatic Theology, Dr Mark Cartledge, was appointed in May 2006.
A wide range of research is conducted here. Topics of completed doctoral research have included political theology within black Pentecostalism in Britain, two studies on Filipino Pentecostalism, contextual theology in Korean Pentecostalism, exorcism in Ghanaian Pentecostalism, the history of new Pentecostal churches in Nigeria, three studies on African independency, one on Argentine Pentecostalism, and one on Charismatic Renewal in Britain. Current projects include studies on Pentecostal churches in Ghana expanding into the West, Korean Pentecostalism, Indian independent Pentecostal churches, early British Pentecostalism, early American Pentecostalism, and theological studies in pneumatology and ecumenism and the Charismatic movement in mainline churches. Prof. Anderson has published extensively in global Pentecostalism and African Independency, and has written seven books on these subjects, including Zion and Pentecost (2000), African Reformation (2001), An Introduction to Pentecostalism (2004), and Spreading Fires (2007). He is presently writing a book on the expansion of Pentecostalism in the Third World. Two international conferences in 1996 and 2001 in Birmingham resulted in the edited collections Pentecostals After a Century (1999) and Asian and Pentecostal (2005). Dr Cartledge has written and edited several books, including Charismatic Glossolalia (2002), Practical Theology: Charismatic and Empirical Perspectives (2003), and Encountering the Spirit (2006). He is currently busy with a research project on a local Pentecostal congregation in Birmingham.

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The Hollenweger Center (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

The Hollenweger Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements at the Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam is the result of a longer existing research interest. In the 1970s the late Hans Tennekes studied Pentecostal churches in Chile and since then the topic has always been on the research agenda of the Anthropology department. When André Droogers joined the department in 1986 he became the coordinator of Pentecostal research and started the still existing Interdisciplinary Study Group Pentecostalism. This study group initiated a conference on Latin American Pentecostalism and was the driving force behind the publication of the book Algo Mas Qui Opio, which was later translated into the English language (More Than Opium).

After Droogers became Professor of the Anthropology of Religion in 1989 he supervised four PhD researches in the field of Pentecostal studies in Latin America and the Netherlands (Guerrero, Miguez, Kamsteeg, Versteeg).

In 2001 agreements were made to join efforts in Pentecostal research with Azusa Theological Seminary, which moved to the Faculty of Theology of the VU in 2002. Azusa director Cornelis van der Laan became Professor of Pentecostal Studies in that same year. The Hollenweger Center was officially instituted in 2003 as an interfacultary and interdisciplinary research center for the study of global Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity. André Droogers became the director of the Hollenweger Center. The steering group comprises, apart from Droogers, the following members:  Cornelis van der Laan (Professor of Pentecostal Studies), Cornelis van der Kooi (Professor of Theology of the Charismatic Renewal), Hijme Stoffels (Prof. of the Sociology of Religion) and Birgit Meyer (Prof. of the Anthropology of Religion).

As a platform for the academic study of Pentecostal/Charismatic Christianity, the Hollenweger Center’s main aim is to stimulate research in Pentecostal studies, in particular PhD research. Therefore the center offers a PhD program on various topics, e.g. the study of conversion, Pentecostalism and cultural pluralism, missiology and Pentecostal church history. Currently, the Hollenweger Center is an institutional participant in the VU research group “Conversion Careers and Culture Politics in Global Pentecostalism”, funded by the Dutch National Research Council.

The Hollenweger Center offers several research resources of which the website is the most important. This website functions as a forum board for researchers and hosts the Bibliography of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements in Latin America and the Caribbean. More regional bibliographies are in preparation. The Hollenweger Center also administers the Walter J. Hollenweger collection, a collection of books and documentation, which Walter Hollenweger donated to the Center.

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Department of History of Religions and Mission Studies (Heidelberg, Germany)

The Department of History of Religion and Mission Studies at the Department of Theology at the University of Heidelberg has a long tradition in the study of Religion and Christian Mission. In 2002 it became the first of its kind in Germany with a special research and study focus on global Pentecostalism allowing students and researchers to consider the worldwide Pentecostal movement under sociological, ethnological, historical and theological perspectives. For this purpose an extensive collection of books, reference material and journals has been acquired, including general reference titles, historical, sociological and theological studies, as well as ample source material. The department has national and international researchers with dissertation projects on global Pentecostalism. Lessons on the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement are an integral part of the Chair's curriculum. In 2004 the “Interdisziplinäre Arbeitskreis Pfingstbewegung” was founded by the department, which facilitates various ways to connect researchers and church representatives from the German-speaking countries who are interested in academic studies on Pentecostalism.

In all fields of study the department works interdisciplinary by utilizing different approaches from the fields of ethnology, sociology, history, cultural studies and theology under careful consideration of  their differences in paradigms and methodology. Furthermore it has a special interest in the methodological, historical and theological implications of postmodern and postcolonial perspectives for the study of global Pentecostalism.

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Institute for Pentecostal Studies (Uppsala, Sweden)

The Institute for Pentecostal Studies at the University of Uppsala was founded in 2007 as a joint venture between the Department of Theology and the Pentecostal Theological Seminary of Sweden, located in Uppsala. From the start, IPS has been led by Dr Jan-Åke Alvarsson, Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Uppsala University. The overall aim of the institute is to promote the study of Pentecostal and Charismatic movements, globally, regionally and locally, focusing on faith as well as practice. The activities include specialized research as well as work on theoretical and methodological issues relevant for the field. One obvious ingredient is a cross-disciplinary doctoral program in the field of “Pentecostal Studies”, in close cooperation with the respective University sections. The results of the research at IPS are published as IPS Research reports (2010, 2011), as monographs in Swedish and English, and as articles in international scientific journals. Theses produced at the Institute are, through the systemic cooperation with different departments and sections of the University, automatically subjected to the quality requirements of Uppsala University. Some of the Research Reports are written in a form geared to promote discussion and critical reflection in the Pentecostal and Charismatic churches themselves.

In its studies of Pentecostal and Charismatic movements, the IPS represents a cross-disciplinary approach, including for example ecclesiology, church history, missiology, anthropology of religion, and sociology of religion. Over the years, the members of the Institute have acquired a particular specialty in the history of the Swedish Pentecostal Movement.

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last modified 2011-10-20 10:41