Universiteit Leiden

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Corey Williams

Assistant Professor

Name
Dr. C.L. Williams
Telephone
+31 71 527 6903
E-mail
c.l.williams@hum.leidenuniv.nl
ORCID iD
0000-0001-7079-1088

Corey L. Williams (PhD, Edinburgh) is Chair of Religious Studies Programmes and Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Global Christianity at the Leiden University Centre for the Study of Religion (LUCSoR). Corey is a cultural anthropologist and African (Diaspora) Studies specialist with area expertise in West Africa and the United States. His research interests concern African (indigenous) religions, Global/World Christianity, migration, anthropology of religion, interreligious encounters, and religion and public policy. His research has been awarded grants from the American Academy of Religion, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lilly Foundation, and Yale University. Corey is also a Fellow at the African Studies Centre Leiden (ASCL) where he is part of a Collaborative Research Group (CRG) and a Faculty Fellow at the Ife Institute for Advanced Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria. Prior to joining Leiden University in 2015, he was a Visiting Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University (USA) and Lecturer and Tutor in Religious Studies and World Christianity at Edinburgh University (UK).

More information about Corey Williams

Research

My research cuts across Religious Studies, African Studies, and Anthropology. In recent years, this had led me to focus on two long-term research projects. The first relates broadly to Religion in Contemporary Africa. Since 2008, I have conducted field and archival research on interreligious encounters in countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and South Sudan. The results of this research have been published in journals such as Studies in World Christianity, Journal of Religion in Africa, Journal for the Study of the Religions of Africa and its Diaspora, and Religious Studies Review. My first monograph, A Spirit of Accommodation: The Politics of Religious Belonging and Identity in Contemporary Nigeria, is also currently under review.

The second project covers Migration, Religion, and the African Diaspora. My research in this area to date has focused on African Pentecostalism in Los Angeles and Amsterdam, with a particular focus on transnational networks, social and political engagement, and the #MeToo and #ChurchToo movements. This project has been awarded a Collaborative International Research Grant from the American Academy of Religion and a Seed and Breed Grant from the Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society.

Grants and awards

• American Academy of Religion, Collaborative International Research Grant, Project title: Transnational Pentecostalism in the Age of #MeToo: Sexual Violence and Harassment from Lagos to Los Angeles (2019-2020)
• Leiden Islam Academie (LIA), Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs Grant, Project title: Islam in the Modern World. Role: Regional Coordinator and Africa Expert (2016-2019)
• Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society, LUCIS Programme Grant, Project title: Transformations in African Islam: Networks, Identification, and Authority Making (2018)
• Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society, Seed and Breed Grant, Project title: Transnational Religious Networks and Everyday Immigrant Agency in the United States (2016)
• University of Edinburgh, Knowledge Exchange and Impact Grant, Project title: Indigeneity Goes Global (2014)
• Yale University, The David M. Stowe Fellowship, Project title: Interreligious Encounters in Nigeria (2013)
• Gladstone’s Library, Revd Dr Murray McGregor Memorial Scholarship (2013 and 2014)
• American Society of Church History, Graduate Student Paper Award (2013)
• Edinburgh University Students Association, Nominated for Best Postgraduate Tutor Award (2012 and 2013)
• Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Graduate Student Paper Award (2012)
• Institut Catholique de Paris, Research Language Bursary (2011)
• University of Edinburgh, Centre for the Study of World Christianity, Conference and Research Grant (2011)
• University of Edinburgh, New College Postgraduate Research Grant (2010-2014)
• University of Edinburgh, College of Humanities and Social Science Postgraduate Scholarship (2010-2013)
• Lily Foundation, Research and Travel Grant, Project title: Religious Politics and Violence in Contemporary India (2009)
• Pepperdine University, Major Research Grant (2009 and 2010)
• Pepperdine University, Research Assistantship (2008-2010)
• Pepperdine University, Graduate Student Travel Grant (2007 and 2008)
• Pepperdine University, Department of Religion Graduate Scholarship (2007-2010)
• Ozark Christian College, Academic Dean’s List and Scholarship (2002-2007)

Curriculum vitae

Education
• PhD in Religious Studies, The University of Edinburgh, UK (2016)
• MA (summa cum laude) in Religion, Pepperdine University (2010)
• BA (cum laude) in Biblical Literature and Greek, Ozark Christian College, USA (2008)
• BTh (cum laude) in Intercultural Studies, Ozark Christian College, USA (2007)

Employment
• Chair of Religious Studies Programmes, Leiden University Centre for the Study of Religion, The Netherlands, since 2019
• Assistant Professor, Leiden University, The Netherlands, since 2015
• Visiting Professor of Religion, Pepperdine University, USA, 2014
• David M. Stowe Research Fellow, Yale University, USA, 2013
• Lecturer and Tutor, The University of Edinburgh, UK, 2012-2014
• PhD Fellowship, School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh, UK, 2010-2013
• Research and Teaching Assistant, Pepperdine University, USA, 2008-2010

Professional Service
• Co-Chair, World Christianity Unit, American Academy of Religion, since 2016
• Steering Committee, African Association for the Study of Religions Unit, American Academy of Religion, since 2019
• General Secretary, African Association for the Study of Religions, 2015-2020

Professional Memberships
• American Academy of Religion (since 2007)
• African Association for the Study of Religions (since 2009)
• International Association for the History of Religions (since 2009)
• Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (since 2011)
• African Studies Association of the United Kingdom (since 2013)
• Dutch Association for the Study of Religion (since 2015)

Editorial Boards
• Editorial Board Member, Studies in World Christianity (Edinburgh University Press), since 2019
• Editorial Board Member, Journal of Religion in Africa (Brill), since 2019
• Assistant Deputy Editor, Journal for the Study of the Religions of Africa and its Diaspora (African Association for the Study of Religions), since 2015

PhD Supervision
I welcome enquiries from potential PhD students. I am particularly interested in proposals that aim to employ a qualitative social scientific approach (anthropology, sociology, etc.) and are focused on some aspect of Religion in Africa, Global Christianity, Religion and Public Policy, and/or Religion and the African Diaspora.

Teaching
At Leiden, I teach and supervise in both BA and MA programmes across Religious Studies, African Studies, and International Studies. My recent courses include:
• Global Christianity
• Methods and Techniques 3: Qualitative Research
• Research Methods in International Studies
• Cultural Encounters in Postcolonial Africa
• Religions in the Modern World
• Religion Rules! Regulating Religion in a Globalizing World
• Religion on the Move: From Local Origins to Global Networks (MA)
• Qualitative Interviewing (MA)

International Conference Organisation
• Lusaka, Zambia. Role: Chair of International Conference Committee and Co-organiser with Marja Hinfelaar and Judith Ziwa. Organisation: African Association for the Study of Religions. Hosts: University of Zambia and Justo Mwale University. Theme: Revisiting Religion, Politics, and the State in Africa and the African Diaspora. Dates: 1-4 August 2018.
• Accra, Ghana. Role: Chair of International Conference Committee and Co-organiser with Rose Mary Amenga-Etego. Organisation: African Association for the Study of Religions. Host: University of Ghana. Theme: Religion, Sexuality, and Identity in Africa and the African Diaspora. Dates: 26-29 July 2016.
• Cape Town, South Africa. Role: Planning Committee. Organisation: African Association for the Study of Religions. Host: University of Cape Town. Theme: Religion, Ecology, and the Environment in Africa and the African Diaspora. Dates: 30 July-3 August 2014.
• Egerton, Kenya. Role: Co-organiser with Afe Adogame and Damaris Parsitau. Organisation: African Association for the Study of Religions. Host: Egerton University. Theme: Sports, Leisure, Religion, and Spirituality in Africa and the African Diaspora. Dates: 18-23 July 2012.
• Abuja, Nigeria. Role: Head of Secretariat and Co-organiser with Afe Adogame. Organisation: International Sociological Association. Theme: Religion, Conflict, Violence, and Tolerance in Global Perspectives. Dates: 27-30 January 2012.

Workshop and Exhibition Organisation
• Workshop at the African Studies Centre Leiden (ASCL). Role: Co-organiser. Theme: Collaboration and Contestation in Words: Dialogues and Disputes in African Social Realities. Date: 26 October 2018. Blog post about the workshop.
• Policy workshops at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Hague. Role: Organiser and Africa Expert. Theme: Islam in the Modern World: Sub-Saharan Africa Region. Date: 17 January and 27 June 2017.
• Workshop and Public Lectures at Leiden University. Role: Organiser. Theme: Religion in Africa. Dates: 15-16 December 2016.
• Photo Exhibition: ‘The Spiritual Highway’, featuring the photography of Akintunde Akinleye and a public lecture by Marloes Janson, School of African and Oriental Studies, University of London. Role: Organiser. Dates: 1 February-31 March 2016. Featured in the Leidsch Dagblad: News Article.
• Workshop at Leiden University. Role: Co-organiser with Ab de Jong and Markus Davidsen. Theme: Jan Platvoet and the Study of Religion. Date: 8 June 2015.
• Workshop at the University of Edinburgh. Role: Co-organiser with Afe Adogame. Theme: Indigeneity Goes Global. Date: 29 May 2014.
• Workshop at the University of Edinburgh. Role: Co-organiser with Afe Adogame. Theme: Religion and Sport: Past, Present, and Future. Date: 27 March 2013.

Conference Presentations and Invited Lectures
• Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton World Christianity Conference, Paper title: Incurably Religious? Coming Out Atheist in ‘Africa’s Religious Mecca’ (March 2021)
• Ife Institute of Advanced Studies, Nigeria. Workshop title: Research and Writing for the Academy (28 July 2020)
• Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton World Christianity Conference, Paper title: Pentecostalism in the Age of #MeToo: Sexual Violence and Harassment Among African Initiated Churches in Los Angeles (16 March 2019)
• Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton World Christianity Conference, Paper title: The Limits of Reflexive Ethnography: A Response to James Spickard (15 March 2019)
• Lagos, Nigeria, International Conference on African Pentecostalism, Keynote lecture title: African Pentecostalism in the Age of #MeToo: Sexual Abuse Among African Immigrant Churches in Los Angeles (30 July 2018)
• Ife Institute of Advanced Studies, Nigeria, Plenary paper title: Fieldwork, Interviews, and Working with Ethnographic Data (23-30 July 2018)
• Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton World Christianity Conference, Paper title: Re-envisioning Discourses in World Christianity (19 January 2018)
• Princeton Theological Seminary, Lecture title: Chrislam and World Christianity (16 November 2017)
• Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies, PhD Student Workshop on Research and Writing Culture and Society, Lecture title: Working with Ethnographic Data (26 October 2017)
• Leiden University, Opening Lecture for Religious Studies, Lecture title: Boko Haram and ‘Religious’ Violence (5 September 2017)
• Leiden University, Leiden Society of Christianity and Culture (S.S.S.), Lecture title: African Depictions of Jesus: Western Symbolism, Realism, and African Symbolism (15 February 2017)
• University of Cambridge, ASAUK Conference, Paper title: Global Flows of West African Religious Healing Practices (8 September 2016)
• Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin, Germany, Paper title: Interreligious Encounter in Nigeria’s Public Domain: Chrislam and Multiple Religious Belongings and Identities (18 July 2016)
• Leiden University, Alumni Day on Global Religion, Lecture title: Is God Dead? Global Christianity in the Twenty-First Century (23 May 2016)
• Leiden University, Guiding Travelers Workshop Series, Lecture title: Visual Religion: Anthropological and Religious Studies Perspectives (10 December 2015)
• Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society, What’s New Public Lecture Series, Lecture title: Varieties of Religious Belonging and Identity Among the Yorùbá of Ogbómòsó, Nigeria (24 September 2015)
• IAHR World Congress, Erfurt, Germany, Paper title: Looking Back into Religious Futures: Dynamics of Resilience and Mutation in African Religionscapes (24 August 2015)
• Utrecht University, The Netherlands, Paper title: Varieties of Religious Belonging and Identity Among the Yorùbá of Ogbómòsó, Nigeria (6 March 2015)
• University of Sussex, ASAUK Conference, Paper title: On the Mutability of Religious Traditions: Chrislam and Beyond (10 September 2014)
• Centre for the Study of World Christianity, University of Edinburgh, UK, Paper title: Exploring Multiple Religious Belongings in Contemporary Nigeria: Chrislam and Beyond (4 March 2014)
• American Academy of Religion, Baltimore, USA, Paper title: Religious Bricolage and Typology: The Case of Chrislam in Nigeria (24 November 2013)
• American Society for Church History, New Orleans, USA, Paper title: Christianity and Cultural Bricolage in Nigeria: An Ethnohistorical Approach to Transmission and Appropriation (4 January 2013)
• Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Phoenix, USA, Paper title: Toward Ethno-Religious Solidarity: The Case of the Ogbomoso Society of Chrislam (11 November 2012)
• University of Edinburgh, UK, Paper title: Religio-Cultural Bricolage as Conflict and Renewal in Nigeria: An Ethnography of the Ogbomoso Society of Chrislam (19 September 2012)
• Yale-Edinburgh Conference, University of Edinburgh, UK, Paper title: Religio-Cultural Bricolage and Conflict: The Chrislam Movement in Nigeria (30 June 2012)
• International Sociological Association, Abuja, Nigeria, Paper title: Deconstructing Religious Violence: Anthropological Reflections on Herbert Blumer’s Method of Symbolic Interactionism (26 January 2012)
• Yale-Edinburgh Conference, Yale University, USA, Paper title: Education and Muslim-Christian Encounter in Contemporary Nigeria: The View from Ogbomoso and Kaduna (1 July 2011)
• American Academy of Religion, Western Region Conference, Arizona State University, Tempe, USA, Paper title: A Flattened History of World Christianity: Epochal Destruction as a Pattern for Emergence (15 March 2010)
• African Association for the Study of Religions, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, Paper title: World Christianity? The Case for a Multi-directional Approach (20 January 2010)

Key publications

• A Spirit of Accommodation: The Politics of Religious Belonging and Identity in Contemporary Nigeria (monograph currently under review)
• ‘Multiple Religious Belonging and Identity in Contemporary Nigeria: Methodological Reflections for World Christianity’, in World Christianity: Methodological Considerations, eds. Martha Frederiks and Dorottya Nagy (Leiden: Brill, 2021), 225-250.
• Fighting in God’s Name: Religion and Conflict in Local-Global Perspectives, eds. Afe Adogame, Olufunke Adeboye, and Corey L. Williams (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2020).
• ‘Researching Religion and Violence: Reflections on Symbolic Interactionism and Fieldwork’, in Fighting in God’s Name: Religion and Conflict in Local-Global Perspectives, eds. Afe Adogame, Olufunke Adeboye, and Corey L. Williams (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2020), 25-36.
• Review Essay: ‘A Postmodern Islamic Revolution? Shari’ah Through the Lens of the Sunnaic Paradigm’, in Religious Studies Review 46.2 (June 2020): 185-186.
• ‘Special Issue: Christianity and Multiple Identities’, Studies in World Christianity 25.1 (2019): 1-124. Guest Edited with Afe Adogame.
• ‘Chrislam, Accommodation, and the Politics of Religious Bricolage in Contemporary Nigeria’, in Studies in World Christianity 25.1 (April 2019): 5-28.
• ‘Pentecostalism in the Age of #MeToo: Sexual Violence and Harassment Among African Initiated Churches in Los Angeles’, in African Pentecostalism, Probity, and Accountability, eds. Babatunde Adedibu and Benson Igboin (Ibadan: University of Ibadan Press: 2019), 54-68.
• ‘Religion and Sport in Multireligious Nigeria: The Case of Kaduna City Interfaith Football Club,’ in Global Perspectives on Sports and Christianity, eds. Afe Adogame, Nick Watson and Andrew Parker (New York: Routledge, 2018), 114-128.
• Book Review: Joel Cabrita, David Maxwell, and Emma Wild-Wood, eds. Relocating World Christianity: Interdisciplinary Studies in Universal and Local Expressions of the Christian Faith (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2017). Review in International Review of Mission 107.2 (December 2018): 561-563.
• ‘Nigerian Christianity and the Making of an African Religion’, Journal for the Study of the Religions of Africa and its Diaspora 2.1 (2016): 43-68.
• Book Review: Afe Adogame, Ezra Chitando, and Bolaji Bateye, eds. African Traditions in the Study of Religion in Africa (London: Ashgate, 2013). Review in Journal of Religion in Africa 44.3 (March 2014): 430-433.
• ‘Religion, Conflict, Violence, and Tolerance in Global Perspectives,’ Politics and Religion Journal, 6.1 (2012): 163-168.

Assistant Professor

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies
  • LUCSoR

Work address

Matthias de Vrieshof
Matthias de Vrieshof 1
2311 BZ Leiden
Room number 2.03b

Contact

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