New Directions in the Study of Prayer grantee Ruth Marshall has received a Chancellor Jackman Fellowship in the Humanities from the Jackman Humanities Institute at the University of Toronto. The fellowship will begin in June 2013. Marshall describes her project, entitled “Speaking in Tongues: Religion and the Call of the Political,” as follows:
My project explores how Pentecostal and charismatic Christianity owes its astonishing success in the postcolonial South to the ways it stages faith as an experience of language that maintains a unique relation to translation, mediatization and universalization. Instead of deploying itself through a process of translation into the vernacular, Pentecostalism attempts to deactivate the force and signification of cultural and linguistic difference through the staging of a universally singular experience of the Word as performative. My project thus explores the ways in which global Pentecostalism ‘revives’ Christian faith as a veridictive force through the experience and dissemination of religious speech: tongues, prayer, prophecy, witness and testimony. I examine the ethico-political force of the Pentecostal deployment of language and the political ambivalence of the Pentecostal response to what I have termed ‘the call of the political’. This project is interdisciplinary, grounded on extensive field research while developing a sustained theoretical reflection in conversation with continental philosophical criticism. It is intended as a work of ‘contrapuntal’ analysis, in which I use my theoretical exploration of this religious phenomenon to reflect critically on the problematic attitude to radical religious ‘otherness’ in the writings of contemporary political philosophers. The problem of translation and translatability is thus posed both as an object of critical inquiry and as a ‘method’, initiating a critical conversation between two idioms or languages: the political and philosophical critique of religion and the religiously grounded critique of political philosophy.
You can read about the other fellows here.
For more information about Marshall’s New Directions in the Study of Prayer project, read her project description.