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Decolonizing Christianity
Religion and the End of Empire in France and Algeria

$105.00 (C)

  • Date Published: June 2016
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107118171

$ 105.00 (C)
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  • Decolonizing Christianity traces the dramatic transformation of Christianity from its position as the moral foundation of European imperialism to its role as a radical voice of political and social change in the era of decolonization. As Christians renegotiated their place in the emerging Third World, they confronted the consequences of racism and violence that Christianity had reinforced in European colonies. This book tells the story of Christians in Algeria who undertook a mission to 'decolonize the Church' and ensure the future of Christianity in postcolonial Algeria. But it also recovers the personal aspects of decolonization, as many of these Christians were arrested and tortured by the French for their support of Algerian independence. The consequences of these actions were immense, as the theological and social engagement of Christians in Algeria then influenced the groundbreaking reforms developing within global Christianity in the 1960s.

    • Ties the local context of Algerian decolonization to the global currents of both Protestant and Catholic movements that were concerned about the future of Christianity in the decolonizing world
    • Provides a much-needed analysis of the role of religion in European decolonization
    • Reframes the history of twentieth-century Christianity through a social history of theology, which examines how Christians understood and used theological principles in their everyday lives, how theology influenced their understanding and engagement with politics, and how the actions of Christians then influenced shifts in theological principles
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Fontaine's monograph is clearly intended for historians of French colonialism, but should be read by anyone concerned with the development of global Christianity in the second half of the twentieth century, ecumenicalism, Christian-Muslim relations, the ethical and moral dilemmas facing Christians during politically divisive times, and the ways in which Christianity has been and can be appropriated for different purposes.' Bradley Rainbow Hale, Fides et Historia

    'Decolonizing Christianity is a most welcome addition to histories of empire, religion, and politics. It is a must-read for historians of France and Algeria, scholars of the new imperial history, and social and intellectual historians interested in contextualizing Christianity.' Minayo Nasiali, French History

    'Decolonizing Christianity is a detailed and well-researched book, which clearly succeeds in demonstrating the importance of Christianity to debates about Algerian independence on a whole host of levels. Its range is, quite simply, impressive: it moves seamlessly between Algeria, France, Vatican II and the World Council of Churches, covering Catholics and Protestants, metropole and periphery, procolonial and anti-colonial Christians. Its scholarship is equally strong: the large quantity of archival evidence is supported by twenty oral interviews, and extensive reading of the relevant anglophone and francophone historiography.' Sam Brewitt-Taylor, The Journal of Ecclesiastical History

    'Darcie Fontaine’s Decolonizing Christianity examines the history of Christianity in colonial Algeria, and the ramifications of decolonization on a local and global scale. It alternates between close historical details, as it narrates the lives of individual Christians living in Algeria, and broad theoretical discussion, as it shows how decolonization drove reforms of 'global Christianity' in the twentieth century. Balancing a challenging combination of minute detail and broad debate, this work paints a compelling and well-articulated portrait of decolonization and Christianity that will be of interest to a wide range of readers.' Erin Twohig, Contemporary French Civilization

    'Decolonizing Christianity demonstrates the deep ties between religion and politics in France and its North African colony, as well as the reciprocal nature of theological debates across the Mediterranean. But if the book adds to a growing literature on religion and decolonisation, it makes an equally important intervention into the history of Algerian independence. Fontaine is careful not to recreate a totalising narrative of Christians’ engagement in the war; in so doing, she offers a more complex and pluralistic history of Christian activism, the broader settler community, and the young Algerian state’s attitude toward its religious minorities.' Terrence G. Peterson, The Journal of North African Studies

    'In tracing the relationship between religion and politics across a broad timeframe while simultaneously connecting developments in Algeria to those within metropolitan France and global Christianity, Fontaine draws together geographical and chronological frames of analysis usually kept separate. This allows her to fulfil her stated objective of ‘provincializing Christianity’ without decontextualising it. However, the most compelling sections of the book are the ones that tell the story on the ground in Algeria. This reflects the archive-based fieldwork and oral histories Fontaine undertook in Algeria, which add much to her original and engaging study.' Clare Eldridge, Modern & Contemporary France

    'The book’s merits are its details and its descriptions of a wide array of Christian organizations. The author’s archival research is especially commendable.' Phillip. C. Naylor, The American Historical Review

    'Decolonizing Christianity offers a compelling look at the decades surrounding Algeria’s independence that makes excellent use of private Algerian archives and contributes to a growing body of literature on Christianity’s encounter with the end of empire, at an institutional and individual level.' Naomi Davidson, The Journal of Modern History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2016
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107118171
    • length: 251 pages
    • dimensions: 239 x 159 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.51kg
    • contains: 5 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction
    1. Christianity and French Algeria
    2. Christianity on trial: the battle to define Christian morality
    3. The metropolitans respond: the conflicts of politics and conscience
    4. The religious politics of independence
    5. Inventing postcolonial Christianity
    Conclusion.

  • Author

    Darcie Fontaine, University of South Florida
    Darcie Fontaine is an assistant professor of history at the University of South Florida. She is the recipient of numerous fellowships to support her research in Europe and North Africa, including a Fulbright-IIE fellowship to France and multiple grants from the American Institute of Maghrib Studies. Her scholarship situates the history of modern France and its empire in a global perspective, and seeks to trace the long-term impact of colonialism and decolonization on a wide spectrum of actors, institutions, and ideas. She is currently completing a textbook on France and its empire from the eighteenth century to the present.

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