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Jason Bruner

Asst Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4302
Lincoln Fellow
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4302
Asst Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4302
Biography

I am a scholar of religious history with a particular interest in the intersected histories of Christian missions, European imperialism, and the growth of Christianities in Sub-Saharan Africa in the 19th and 20th centuries. I am intrigued by the religious and cultural exchanges between European missionaries and those who converted, with a focus upon the agency of African peoples.

I have recently completed a book manuscript on the history of the East African (Balokole) Revival in Uganda from the early 1930s to the early 1950s. While the revival was a conversionary movement that proclaimed a Christian message of salvation, this project examines the ways in which salvation was not simply a personal, eternal aspiration for the Balokole, but rather a comprehensive way of life. This book will illuminate the many ways in which the revival created a new lifestyle for those who converted through its message, which had profound impacts upon revivalists' understanding of themselves and how they ought to relate to their families, communities, societies, and nations.

I am currently working on two projects. The first will be a study of American discourses of global religious violence, giving particular attention to how the theme of religious persecution frames American perceptions of Christianity in the so-called Global South. The second project is a history of religion, health, and healing in Uganda, from the introduction of missionary hospitals in the 1890s to the present.

In addition to scholarly journal articles and book chapters, my writing has appeared in the Marginalia Review of Books, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Global Post, Religion Dispatches, Religion & Politics, and Sacred Matters.

I have been interviewed for a story on the Catholic Church and marriage on KJZZ, a regional NPR affiliate, and I appeared on 12 News (Phoenix NBC affiliate) on April 3rd and April 6th, 2015 to discuss the early history of Christianity.

ASU's State Press also published a profile on my and my work.

Education

Princeton Theological Seminary, PhD (2013)

Weston Jesuit School of Theology, MTS (2008)

Gardner-Webb University, BA (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

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

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

“‘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.

"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.

“Public Confession and the Moral Universe of the East African Revival.” Studies in World Christianity 18:3 (2012): 254-268.

"Keswick and the East African Revival: A Historiographical Reappraisal." Religion Compass 5:9 (2011): 1-13.“Inquiring into Empire: Princeton Seminary’s Society of Inquiry on Mission, the Opium Trade, and the British Empire, ca. 1830-1850.” Mission Studies 27:2 (2010): 194-219.

“Divided We Stand: North American Evangelicals and the Crisis in the Anglican Communion.” Journal of Anglican Studies 8:1 (2010): 101-125.

 

Book Chapters

“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.

 

Book Reviews

Review of Derek Peterson, Ethnic Patriotism and the East African Revival: A History of Dissent, c. 1935-1972. In The Historian (forthcoming).

International Bulletin of Missionary Research 39:2 (2015): Wilbert R. Shenk. The History of the American Society of Missiology, 1973-2013. Elkhart: Institute of Mennonite Studies, 2014.

Anglican and Episcopal History 83:3 (2014): Michael A. Rutz. The British Zion: Congregationalism, Politics, and Empire, 1790-1850. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2011.

Itinerario: International Journal on the History of European Expansion and Global Interaction 36:3 (2012): T. Jack Thompson. Light on Darkness? Missionary Photography of Africa in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 2011.

African Studies Quarterly 12:4 (2011): Neil Kodesh. Beyond the Royal Gaze: Clanship and Public Healing in Buganda. Charlottesville: University of Virginia, 2010.

African Studies Quarterly 12:3 (2011): Augustine S.O. Okwu. Igbo Culture and the Christian Missions: Conversion in Theory and Practice, 1857-1957. New York: University Press of America, 2011. 

Africa Journal of Evangelical Theology 29:2 (2010): Mark Shaw, Global Awakening: How 20th-Century Revivals Triggered a Christian Revolution. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2010.

Anglican and Episcopal History 79:2 (July 2010): Philip Jenkins. The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia – and How It Died. New York: Harper One, 2008.

Evangelical Review of Theology 35:1 (January 2011): R. Todd Putnam and Mark S. Sweetnam. The Scofield Bible: Its History and Impact on the Evangelical Church. Colorado Springs, CO: Paternoster, 2009.

Koinonia 22 (2011): Jeffrey Cox. The British Missionary Enterprise since 1700. London: Routledge, 2008.

 

Digital Publications and Short Essays

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

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

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

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

God Loves Uganda Film Discussion Guide for Christian Audiences. Full Credit Productions. May 2013.

“What’s behind the controversy over gay rights in Africa?” GlobalPost.com. 19 June 2012.

With Katherine Douglass, “For Schools of Theology, It’s Time to Bend Tradition.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. 13 May 2012.

“Does the East African Revival turn 90 this year?” History of Christianity (American Society of Church History Blog). 21 May 2012.

"The Other, Forgotten Apocalypse of 2011." Religion Dispatches Magazine. 20 October 2011. 

 

Creative Nonfiction

“Unhitching.” Biostories. Forthcoming (2016).

“Sanctification.” Human Parts. July 24, 2015.

“A Death in Exile.” PTS Testament. Winter 2013.

Research Activity

Work in Progress

“Imperialism in Africa and the Question of Genocide.” Book chapter in preparation for Terrortimes, Terrorscapes? Temporal, Spatial and Memory Continuities of War and Genocide in 20th Century Europe, eds. Volker Benkert and Michael Mayer.

“‘What is a European hospital but a pagan shrine?’ Medicine, Christian Independency, and the Problem of Materiality in Colonial Uganda.” Journal article in preparation (expected completion: Fall 2016).

“Whose God was Slain? A Review of The Slain God by Timothy Larsen,” review essay in preparation for Marginalia Review of Books

“Developing a Comparative Genocide Pedagogical Framework,” journal article in preparation, with Volker Benkert, Marcie Hutchinson, Lauren Harris, and Erik Lundin.

“Dissent and Creativity in the East African Revival,” book chapter in preparation.

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
Fall 2014
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 203Saints/Sins-Explore Sacred Bio
REL 207Ritual, Symbol, and Myth
Spring 2014
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 207Ritual, Symbol, and Myth
REL 494Special Topics
REL 691Seminar
Fall 2013
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 270Introduction to Christianity
REL 372Formation/Christian Tradition
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.

Service

Journal of Religious History, Journal article reviewer (2015 - Present)