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The Church of Women:  Gendered Encounters Between Maasai and Missionaries

The Church of Women: Gendered Encounters Between Maasai and Missionaries
Dorothy L. Hodgson
Bloomington : Indiana University Press, 2005
BV3625 .T4 H63 2005

In Africa, why have so many more women converted to Christianity than men? What explains the appeal of Christianity to women? Do religious conversion and spirituality serve as sites for the negotiation of gender and ethnic identity? Can religion inspire personal, political, and collective empowerment of women? How does spiritual power articulate with other domains of power?

In The Church of Women, Dorothy L. Hodgson explores how gender has shaped the encounter between missionary priests and Maasai men and women in Tanzania. Building on her extensive experience with Spiritan missionaries and Maasai, Hodgson examines how gendered change among Maasai has affected women's and men's notions of religious faith, religious practice, and spiritual power. Hodgson looks at the appeal of Catholicism among women in East Africa, the enmeshing of Catholic and Maasai religious beliefs and practices, and the meaning of conversion to new Christians. This rich, engaging, and original book challenges notions about religious encounter and the dominance of political economic understandings of gender.

Quoted from back cover.