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Jason Bruner

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Associate Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4302
Director of Undergraduate Studies & Associate Professor, Religious Studies
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4302
Lincoln Fellow
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4302
Assoc Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4302
Biography

Jason Bruner is a scholar of religion with a particular interest in the histories of Christian missions, European imperialism, and the growth of Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa in the 19th and 20th centuries.

His first book, Living Salvation in the East African Revival in Uganda (University of Rochester Press, 2017), is a cultural history of a Christian revival movement in Uganda from the early 1930s to the mid 1950s. While the revival was a conversionary movement that proclaimed a Christian message of salvation, the book examines the ways in which "salvation" was not simply a personal, eternal aspiration for these revivalists. Rather, the book uses colonial and Uganda archives, anthropologists’ field notes, and ethnographic interviews with revivalists in order to illuminate the many ways in which the revival created a new lifestyle for those who converted. These changes then had profound impacts upon revivalists' understanding of themselves and how they ought to relate to their families, communities, societies, and nations.

He is working on a second monograph, provisionally titled Imagining Persecution: Why American Christians Believe There is a Global War Against Their Faith. This book will provide a genealogy of American Christian discourses of global religious violence, giving particular attention to how the theme of religious persecution has come to frame American perceptions of Christianity worldwide.

He is co-editing (with David Kirkpatrick) a collection of essays, provisionally titled, A Global Vision of Violence: Agency, Persecution, and Martyrdom in World Christianity.

He is co-editor (with Dima Hurlbut) of a special issue of Religions on Conversion in Africa (expected 2020).

In addition to scholarly journal articles and book chapters, Dr. Bruner’s writing has appeared in publications such as the Marginalia Review of Books, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Religion Dispatches, Religion & Politics, and Sacred Matters. He has published creative nonfiction pieces at River Teeth, Image Journal, and BioStories. His photography has appeared in Breadcrumbs Magazine and Gnu Journal. In his spare time, he is working on a children's book that he is illustrating with cut paper artwork (click here for an example). 

ASU's State Press and ASU Now have published profiles on his work and teaching.

Education
  • Ph.D. Princeton Theological Seminary 2013
  • M.T.S. Weston Jesuit School of Theology 2008
  • B.A. Gardner-Webb University 2005
Research Interests

History of Christianity

Anthropology of Christianity

Religion in Africa

East Africa

Uganda

History of World or Global Christianity

European Imperialism

Christian Missionary Movement

Evangelicalism

Publications

Books

Imagining Persecution: Why American Christians believe there is a global war against their faith (under advance contract, Rutgers University Press). 

Living Salvation in the East African Revival in Uganda. Studies in African History and the Diaspora (Univ. of Rochester Press, 2017). 

 

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles (selected)

Jason Bruner. “Review Essay: Faith In Flux,” for Religious Studies Review (forthcoming).

Jason Bruner. “Religion and Politics in the East African Revival.” International Bulletin of Mission Research (2019).

Jason Bruner. “Conversion and the Problem of Discontinuity in the East African Revival.” Journal of Ecclesiastical History (2018).

Jason Bruner. “‘What is a European hospital but a pagan shrine?’ Missionaries, Progress, and the Problem of Materiality in Colonial Uganda.” Material Religion (2018).

Jason Bruner. “Religion, Medicine, and Global Health in Uganda: Reflecting Critically on an Afternoon at Mulago Hospital.” Fieldwork in Religion 12:1 (2017), 27-49.

Jason Bruner, Volker Benkert, Marcie Hutchinson, Lauren Harris, and Anders Erik Lundin. “Developing a Comparative Genocide Method.” World History Connected 14:2 (June 2017), (7,000 words).  [Corresponding author and contributed 20% of article.]

Lauren Harris, Volker Benkert, Jason Bruner, Marcie Hutchinson, and Anders Erik Lundin. “Learning and Researching Genocide Comparatively.” World History Connected 14:2 (June 2017), (3,200 words). [Contributed 20% of article.]

Jason Bruner. “Contesting Confession in the East African Revival.” Anglican and Episcopal History 84:3 (2015): 253-278.

Jason Bruner. “‘The testimony must begin in the home’: The Life of Salvation and the Remaking of Homes in the East African Revival in Southern Uganda, c. 1930-1955.” Journal of Religion in Africa 44:3-4 (2015): 309-332.

Jason Bruner. "The Cambridge Seven, Late Victorian Culture, and the Chinese Frontier." Social Science and Missions, Special Issue: “Beyond Borders: 'China' in Missions” 27:1 (2014): 7-30.

 

Book Chapters

“Imperialism in Africa and the Question of Genocide.” In Terrortimes, Terrorscapes? Temporal, Spatial and Memory Continuities of War and Genocide in 20th Century Europe, Volker Benkert and Michael Mayer, eds. (forthcoming).

“British Missions and Missionaries in the High Imperial Era, ca. 1857-1914." In The Routledge History of Western Empires, Robert Aldrich and Kirsten McKenzie, eds. (Routledge, 2013), 425-438.

"Fishers of Men and Hunters of Lion: British Missionaries and Big Game Hunting in Colonial Africa." In A Cultural History of Firearms in the Age of Empire, eds. Karen Jones, Giacomo Macola, and David Welch (Ashgate, 2013), 57-72.

 

Encyclopedia Articles

Jason Bruner. “Uganda" and "Missions and Anthropology." In Encyclopedia of Christianity in the Global South, George Thomas Kurien and Mark Lamport, ed. New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2018.

 

Digital Publications and Short Essays (selected)

Jason Bruner. “‘Blessed are those who have not seen’: Image and Belief in Jonas Bendiksen’s The Last Testament” for The Revealer (forthcoming Dec. 2018).

Jason Bruner. “The American Search for an Authentic Christianity.” Marginalia Review of Books. April 13, 2018.​

Jason Bruner. “Tortured for Christ in Trump’s America.” Sacred Matters. April 16, 2018.

Jason Bruner. “Questioning a Paradigm: World Christianity.” Centre for the Study of World Christianity, University of Edinburgh. January 30, 2018.

Jason Bruner. “Writing Living Salvation in the East African Revival in Uganda.” African Griot. November 2017.

Jason Bruner. “Whose God was Slain? Anthropology and the Diversity of World Christianity. A Review of The Slain God by Timothy Larsen.” Marginalia Review of Books. March 15, 2016.

Jason Bruner and T.J. Tallie. “Truly Ugandan: Martyrs, Pope Francis, and the Question of Sexuality.” Notches: Remarks on the History of Sexuality. January 5, 2016. 

Jason Bruner. “Testimony and the History of the East African Revival” Marginalia Review of Books. January 28, 2015.

Jason Bruner and Ryan Linde. “Eusebius and the Global War on Christians.” Sacred Matters. June 2014.

Jason Bruner. “Uganda’s President Will Sign Anti-Gay Bill. How Did the Nation Get to this Point?” Religion & Politics. February 18, 2014.

 

Creative Nonfiction Writing (selected)

Jason Bruner. “Eavesdropping in Arizona.” River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative. August 14, 2017.

Jason Bruner. “This Place Is an Altar.” Good Letters, Image Journal. April 2017.

Jason Bruner. “Unhitching.” Biostories. April 2016.

 

Book Reviews (selected)

Jason Bruner. Review of Rachel McBride Lindsey, A Communion of Shadows: Religion and Photography in Nineteenth-Century America, in Anglican and Episcopal History (forthcoming).

Jason Bruner. Review of Paddy Musana, et al., eds., The Ugandan Churches and the Political Centre, in International Bulletin of Mission Research (forthcoming).

Jason Bruner. Review of David Hollinger, Protestants Abroad, in the Journal of Presbyterian History (forthcoming).

Jason Bruner. Review of Derek Cooper, Introduction to World Christian History (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2016), in Anglican and Episcopal History 87:3 (2018).

Jason Bruner. Review of Derek Peterson, Ethnic Patriotism and the East African Revival: A History of Dissent, c. 1935-1972 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), in The Historian 78:1 (2016).

Research Activity

Grants, Fellowships, and Awards (External to ASU)

Principal Investigator. Louisville Institute. Project Grant for Researchers (2017-2018) $25,000

 

Grants, Fellowships, and Awards (Internal to ASU)                                                                                                

Co-Principal Investigator (with Volker Benkert and Lauren Harris). 2016-2017. Project Title: “Comparative Genocide Testimony Project”. Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics Fellowship. Arizona State University. $2,604

Co-Principal Investigator (with Gaymon Bennett and Christine Buzinde). 2015-2016. Project Title: “Making Religion Visible in Global Health". Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, seed grant. Arizona State University. $6,700

Co-Principal Investigator (with Volker Benkert, Lauren Harris, Mark Tebeau, Don Fixico, and Michael Simeone). 2014-2015. Project Title: “Never Again is Not Enough: Researching and Representing Genocide Comparatively”. Institute for Humanities Research. Arizona State University. $11,808

Co-Principal Investigator (with Volker Benkert). Project Title: “Armenian Genocide in Comparative Perspectives”. 2015. Seed Grant. School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies. Arizona State University. $2,000

Co-Principal Investigator (with Gaymon Bennett and Christine Buzinde). Project Title: “Making Religion Visible in Global Health. 2015. Seed Grant. School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies. Arizona State University. $1,800

Co-Principal Investigator (with Volker Benkert, Lauren Harris, and Mary Hutchinson). Office of Knowledge and Educational Development Grant (co-investigator) (2014). Science and Citizen Engagement. 2014-2015. Project title: “MOORS (Massive Open Online Research), Memory and the Museum". Arizona State University. $10,000

Co-Principal Investigator (with Volker Benkert, et al.) Research cluster grant. 2013-2014. Institute for Humanities Research. Arizona State University. $2,000

Fall 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 371New Testament
REL 405Problems in Religious Studies
Spring 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 371New Testament
REL 493Honors Thesis
REL 592Research
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 287Topics Film, Media & Religion
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 371New Testament
REL 492Honors Directed Study
WST 494Special Topics
REL 494Special Topics
ENG 494Special Topics
Fall 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 287Topics Film, Media & Religion
REL 371New Testament
REL 494Special Topics
Spring 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 207Ritual, Symbol, and Myth
REL 270Introduction to Christianity
REL 592Research
Fall 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 287Topics Film, Media & Religion
REL 371New Testament
REL 599Thesis
Spring 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 371New Testament
REL 372Formation/Christian Tradition
REL 493Honors Thesis
REL 592Research
Fall 2015
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 599Thesis
Spring 2015
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 270Introduction to Christianity
REL 371New Testament
REL 592Research
REL 599Thesis
Presentations

Conference Papers

“‘All One in Christ Jesus’ – Except for the Catholics: Ethnicity and the Limits of Christian Unity in the East African Revival, c. 1930-1950.” American Catholic Historical Society annual conference. January 2016.

“Dissent and Creativity in the East African Revival.” “Religion as Creativity” symposium at Miami University (Ohio). October 2-4, 2015.

“Coming from the Outside: Why did Uganda want to ‘kill the gays’?” American Society of Church History/American Historical Association Conference. 2-5 January 2015.

“‘The testimony must begin in the home’: Re-making Families in the East African Revival.” Yale-Edinburgh Group on the History of World Christianity. New College, University of Edinburgh. 26-28 June 2014.

“Migration, Integration, and the Fellowship Networks of the East African Revival.” American Society of Church History/Ecclesiastical Historical Society. Oxford, UK. 3-5 April 2014.

“Dissenting Discourse in Colonial-Era Uganda.” Pacific Coast Conference on British Studies annual meeting. Riverside, CA. 7-9 March 2014.

“Public Confession and the Moral Universe of the East African Revival.” Yale-Edinburgh Group on the History of World Christianity. University of Edinburgh. Edinburgh, UK. 28-30 June 2012.

“Secrecy and the Limits of Colonial Knowledge: Uganda in the 1940s.” Mid-Atlantic Conference on British Studies. Penn State University, Abington. Abington, PA. 21-22 April 2012.

“Public Confession and the Crossing of Colonial Boundaries and Barriers in the East African Revival.” Boston University’s Graduate Student Conference in African Studies. Boston University. Boston, MA. 30-31 March 2012.

“‘We are in train – are you too?’ Technology and Networks of Knowledge in the Development of the East African Revival.” Empires and Technologies in World History, Northeastern University. Boston, MA. 24-25 March 2012.

"Religion and Public Healing at the Uganda Museum." Windows of Empire: Colonial Celebrations & the Imperial World, 1780-1950. University of Bristol. Bristol, UK. 15-16 September 2011.

"Fishers of Men and Hunters of Lion: English Missionaries and Big Game Hunting in Colonial East Africa, ca. 1880-1930." Guns and Identity in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries Conference. University of Kent. Canterbury, UK. 5-6 May 2011.

"The Cambridge Seven, Late Victorian Culture, and the Chinese Frontier." American Society of Church History. Grand Rapids, MI. 7-10 April 2011.

"A Colonial World of Light and Darkness: Reading 1 John 1:5-10 in the East African Revival." Society of Biblical Literature, Mid-Atlantic Region Conference. New Brunswick, NJ. 15 March 2011.                       

“Inquiring into Empire: Princeton Seminary’s Society of Inquiry on Missions and the British Empire, ca. 1820-ca. 1850.”   American Society of Church History. Montreal, Canada. April 2009.

Honors / Awards

Connected Academics, Champion Mentor Award (ASU)

Editorships

Marginalia Review of Books, Global Christianity 

Professional Associations

American Society of Church History

American Historical Association

Service

Director of Undergraduate Studies (2018-present)

General Studies Council (2016-2019)

Religious Studies Forum, chair (2015-2018)

Global Futures Initiative, Human Factors Collaborative (Fall 2018-)

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Future Collaborative (Fall 2018-)

History of Christianity lecturer search committee member (Fall 2018-Spring 2019)

World War II Studies Clinical Assistant Professor search committee member (Fall 2018)

Institute for Humanities Research board member (Fall 2018-)

Interdisciplinary Health Humanities certificate advisory committee (Spring 2018)

“Sports, Cultures, and Ethics” undergraduate certificate advisory committee (2017-2018)

ASU Fulbright Interview Committee, Middle East and North Africa/Sub-Saharan Africa (Fall 2016-Spring 2019)