Researchers Receive Millions to Study Pentecostal-Charismatic Movement

Notre Dame University, the University of Chicago and Union College are among a string of educational institutions selected to receive grant money to conduct research on the growing Pentecostal-charismatic movement. 

The Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California (USC) will award five centers and 16 individual scholars and their teams a total of $3.5 million for research.

USC's research initiative is supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The university received close to 500 applications from researchers around the world.

Kimon Sargeant, vice president of human services for the foundation, said Pentecostalism is "one of the most dynamic and potentially transformative religious movements" in this century.

"The researchers selected for the Pentecostal and Charismatic Research Initiative have a unique opportunity to help scholars and the broader public understand how this movement-inspired by powerful worship and religious experience-is changing the cultural, social and religious landscape around the world," Kamon said.

Grant recipients, who represent educational institutions in 23 countries, will conduct research in Asia, Africa, Latin America or the former Soviet Union.

Philip Jenkins, professor of history and religious studies at Pennsylvania State University, said observers have recognized the significance of Pentecostal and charismatic Christianity for years. But he said the movement has never received the recognition it deserves. "The topic has never received the attention it deserves in the academy as a whole, and especially in teaching," Jenkins said.

Grant applications were evaluated by an interdisciplinary team of scholars and are awarded on a competitive basis. Recipients of regional center grants can receive up to $500,000 over a two-year period and recipients of individual grants can receive up to $100,000 in funding.

Professor Donald Miller, executive director of the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at USC, said Pentecostals and charismatics are shifting the momentum of Christianity from the Western world to the Southern Hemisphere.

"Some of the most creative faith-based programs in the world are being developed by fast growing Pentecostal and charismatic congregations-both Protestant and Catholic," he said.

The grant recipients are:

Regional Center Grants

  • Jeannette Aguilar, University of Central America in El Salvador (El Salvador), and Richard Wood, University of New Mexico: "The Impact of the Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements on Local Community Organizations and Civic Participation in Central America"
  • Zainal Abidin Bagir, Center for Religions and Cross-Cultural Studies (Indonesia): "Pentecostal Growth and Social Relations in Indonesia"
  • Umar Danfulani, Musa Gaiya, Yusuf Turaki, and Danny McCain, University of Jos (Nigeria): "Nigeria Pentecostal and Charismatic Research Centre "
  • Alexander Panchenko, European University at St. Petersburg (Russia), and Patrick Plattet, University of Alaska, Fairbanks: "Center for the Study of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements in Russia"

Individual and Team Grants

  • Febe Armanios, Middlebury College: "Coptic Charismatic Renewal in Egypt: A Modern History
  • Chad Bauman, Butler University: "Pentecostals, Charismatics, Conversion and Hindu-Christian Conflict in Contemporary India"
  • Karen Brison, Union College: "A Cosmopolitan Ethnography of Global Pentecostal Networks: the View from Fiji"
  • Graham K. Brown, University of Bath (U.K.), Center for Development Studies: "Theological Resources, Ethnic Boundaries, and Civil Society: A Case Study of Charismatic Churches in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia "
  • Richard Burgess, University of Birmingham (U.K.), Centre of Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies: "Pentecostal Spiritualities, Inter-Religious Relations and Civic Engagement: A Comparative Study of Nigeria and Zambia"
  • Robert Dowd, University of Notre Dame: "The Roman Catholic Charismatic Movement in Sub-Saharan Africa: Its Causes and Consequences"
  • Henri Gooren, Oakland University: "The Pentecostalization of Religion and Society in Paraguay and Chile"
  • Gordon Hanson, University of California, San Diego, and Chong Xiang, Purdue University: "The Global Marketplace for Christianity"
  • Andrew Johnson, University of Minnesota: "Religion Behind Bars: Pentecostalism in Brazilian Prison and the Social Consequences of Religious Prisoners"
  • William Kay, Glyndwr University (U.K.): "Asian Pentecostal-style Church Growth: An International Comparative Project"
  • Karrie Koesel, University of Oregon: "Where Faith Thrives: The Rise of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity in Russia and China"
  • John McCauley, University of California, Los Angeles: "Pentecostal-Charismatic Christianity and the African Political Landscape"
  • Robin Shoaps, University of Chicago: "Making a Religious Difference: Communicative Ecology and Conversion in Two Maya Communities"
  • Daniel Jordan Smith, Brown University: Pentecostalism and AIDS in Nigeria
  • Timothy Wadkins, Canisius College, Institute for the Global Study of Religion: "The Preferential Option for the Spirit: Pentecostalism and Culture in Modern El Salvador"
  • Jiexia (Elisa) Zhai, Miami University, and J. Gordon Melton, Institute for the Study of American Religion: "The Spread of the Chinese Indigenous Pentecostal and Charismatic Movement in the East Asian Chinese Community: the Case of the True Jesus Church"

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