After two years of research on sub-Saharan Africa for the John Templeton Foundation, the Nagel Institute proposes two grant making programs that will inaugurate more concerted JTF work in the region. One grants program will feature African theologians and the other will focus on the continent's social sciences. Instead of taking a problems approach, this program's researchers will ask why, in spite of so many problems, do so many Africans flourish and make progress? It focuses on African Christianity, one of the most dynamic forces in Africa today. The grants for theologians will address how African modes of spirituality shape African Christianity today and how African values and virtues are embedded within a Christian context. The program for social scientists addresses contemporary African Christianity as a social force, focusing on its innovative and competitive character. Many social scientists still ignore or discount religion's social impact, and many Christian theologians regret African Christians' diversification and competitiveness. This program will ask, to the contrary, how might religious innovation and competition in Africa be contributing to social and theological renewal? These two programs will feature requests for proposals, 24 grants, two research seminars for grantees, leadership and guidance from senior African scholars, two books of grantees' articles and dozens of conference presentations. These two programs will also interact. Thus they will promote appreciation for religious dynamics among African social scientists and refresh African theologians' approach to contemporary life via new social research. The project aims to find, network, support and advance the work of African scholars who are keen to emphasize African agency and African wellsprings of hope rather than African problems and victimization. We expect that they will develop a dynamic new emphasis in their respective fields that will have an influence on their peers.
Templeton.org is in English. Only a few pages are translated into other languages.
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