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Collaborative International Research Grant for dr. Corey Williams

Dr. Corey Williams (Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Global Christianity) has received a Collaborative International Research Grant from the American Academy of Religion. This initiative is intended to support generative research collaborations between and among scholars located in different geographical regions who wish to pursue focused, joint projects in any area of the study of religion.

Oladimeji R. Ogunoye

Corey will be working alongside Oladimeji R. Ogunoye, a PhD Candidate at Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria, on a project titled, Transnational Pentecostalism in the Age of #MeToo: Sexual Violence and Harassment from Lagos to Los Angeles.

While #MeToo has made the biggest headlines by toppling elite figures in entertainment, media, and politics, offshoot movements such as #ChurchToo are now putting religious organizations in the spotlight. Launched by Hannah Paasch and Emily Joy in November 2017, #ChurchToo focuses on sharing and confronting stories of sexual violence and harassment that took place in religious spaces and/or with religious leaders. This research project picks up on this significant development by exploring its impact on Pentecostal Christianity.

Corey’s previous research in Los Angeles laid the groundwork for this investigation by contextualizing stories of sexual violence and harassment within several transnational African Pentecostal communities. While this research uncovered worrying patterns of abuse and violence, the next question is whether these patterns exist on a larger scale. Corey and Oladimeji will be conducting fieldwork in Nigeria at the headquarters of several major Pentecostal churches and focusing on their models of leadership, educational programmes, cultures of authority, and transnational mission operations.

A Pentecostal revival near Ogbomoso, Nigeria. Multi-day revivals such as this draw in millions of participants.

While Corey’s former work in Los Angeles was conducted individually, this phase of the project demands international collaboration. Even though Corey has conducted long-term fieldwork in Nigeria since 2008, Oladimeji’s linguistic expertise and on the ground knowledge allows for much better field access to research informants. Additionally, as a beneficial methodological contrast, Corey brings expertise in anthropology, African studies, and religious studies, while Oladimeji’s work combines literary studies, media studies, and sexual and reproductive health.

For more information about this grant initiative and a list of award winners, see the American Academy of Religion website.

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