Date of Award

Spring 2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group


First Advisor

Sandra T. Barnes

Second Advisor

Steven Feierman

Third Advisor

Carol Muller


In recent years, new Pentecostal-style churches have proliferated around the world. Expanding at astonishing rates in Africa, Latin America, and Asia, the growth of Pentecostal-Charismatic Churches has shifted the global center of gravity of Christianity from the West to the global South. This dissertation takes a new approach to studying the impacts of such powerful new religious developments. Rather than study a single type of religious group, the study follows women, the striking majority of participants in Pentecostal churches and in emergent forms of “traditional” religion, through new networks of spiritual healing. Drawing on over ten years of personal connections and more than three years of ethnographic field research in central Mozambique, this dissertation examines the dynamics of these religious developments in the lives of women participants, providing a view into how larger forces associated with globalization differentially impact women. Central to the dissertation is an illustration of how, through participation in new networks of religious and spiritual healing, women are creating and adopting new strategies to cope with increasing strain in their daily lives.

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