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Transnational Tradition: The Global Dynamics Of “African Traditional Religion”

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Chapter Summary

Taking as an ethnographic case study the Ghanaian Afrikania Mission's representation of traditional African religion as a world religion of the same stature as Christianity or Islam, this chapter argues against treating neo-traditional African religion and new African Christianity as mutually opposed and distinct religious phenomena. It traces the transnational genealogy of the notion of African traditional religion (ATR), which gained prominence when the first Christian missionaries arrived on the West African coast. The chapter explores Afrikania's history, to show how its reformulation of ATR speaks to all of these, while continuing this "long conversation" - to use Comaroff and Comaroff 's (1991) phrase - between global and local actors. It also explores how transnational dynamics have shaped and transformed the Afrikania Mission in Ghana and its revival of Afrikan Traditional Religion in national and transnational spaces.

Keywords: African traditional religion (ATR); Afrikania Mission; Comaroff; Ghana; Ghanaian Afrikania Mission; new African Christianity



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