Sisters in Spirit cover
Sisters in Spirit
Christianity, Affect, and Community Building in East Africa, 1860–1970
In this pioneering study, historian Andreana Prichard presents an intimate history of a single mission organization, the Universities’ Mission to Central Africa (UMCA), told through the rich personal stories of a group of female African lay evangelists. Founded by British Anglican missionaries in the 1860s, the UMCA worked among refugees from the Indian Ocean slave trade on Zanzibar and among disparate communities on the adjacent Tanzanian mainland. Prichard illustrates how the mission’s unique theology and the demographics of its adherents produced cohorts of African Christian women who, in the face of linguistic and cultural dissimilarity, used the daily performance of a certain set of “civilized” Christian values and affective relationships to evangelize to new inquirers. The UMCA’s “sisters in spirit” ultimately forged a united spiritual community that spanned discontiguous mission stations across Tanzania and Zanzibar, incorporated diverse ethnolinguistic communities, and transcended generations. Focusing on the emotional and personal dimensions of their lives and on the relationships of affective spirituality that grew up among them, Prichard tells stories that are vital to our understanding of Tanzanian history, the history of religion and Christian missions in Africa, the development of cultural nationalisms, and the intellectual histories of African women.
Publication Date: May 1st, 2017
360 pages| 6 in x 9 in
Andreana C. Prichard is the Wick Cary Assistant Professor of Honors and African History in the Joe C. and Carole Kerr McClendon Honors College at the University of Oklahoma.  

Early Praise

“This richly detailed and highly readable book is a valuable contribution to Tanzanian history, women’s history, and the history of Christianity in Africa. Sisters in Spirit takes us into the lives of several generations of East African women as they navigate matters of friendship, spirituality, fertility, and morality in the entangled worlds of the church, empire, and nationstate. By focusing on the everyday lives and labors of Christian women, Prichard finds a unique and intimate vantage point from which to tell the history of a critical century in East Africa.”
Emily Callaci, Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of Wisconsin–Madison


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