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“African Christian Biography: Narratives, Beliefs, and Boundaries”
Boston University, October 29-31
General Information

Please REGISTER here. Payment is required to register.

Conference Schedule:

Note: The opening reception, the Friday morning plenary, and the Friday afternoon panel are open to non-registrants. Meals (including plenaries at the meals) are open to fully registered participants only. This is a working conference.

Thursday, Oct 29

2:00 – 4:00      Registration in African Studies library, Mugar Memorial Library, 6th Floor

4:00 - 5:30       Opening reception at the African Studies library (Mugar 6th Floor) - OPEN SESSION
Welcome by Dana Robert, Center for Global Christianity and Mission; Beth Restrick, African Studies Library; Jonathan Bonk, Dictionary of African Christian Biography

5:30 – 7:30      Dinner for registrants, discussion of conference details (Terrace Lounge, GSU 2nd Floor)
                         Project plenary, Jon Bonk, African Church History and the Streetlight Effect: Biography as A Lost Key

Friday, Oct 30

9:00 – 10:00    Morning plenary: Lamin Sanneh, Biography and the Narrative of History(Auditorium, GSU 2nd Floor) - OPEN SESSION

10:00 – 10:30 Coffee break (Terrace Lounge, GSU 2nd Floor)

10:30 – 12:30 Concurrent Paper Sessions

1.A. Early Biography. Bishop Graham Kings, chair (Mugar library, Room 503)
 --Michael Glerup, The Life of Paul of Thebes and the Living Memory of Contemporary African Communities.
--Wendy Belcher, The Life and Visions of Krəstos Śämra, a Fifteenth-Century Ethiopian Female Saint.
--John Thornton, King Afonso of Kongo

1.B. Biography as historical narrative: Chris Evans, chair (School of Theology, Room 115)
 --Mark Noll, Mizeki, Chilembwe, Harris and the Future of African Christianity in the Past
Stan Chu Ilo, The Stories My Grand Parents Never Told Me: Memory and Orality in the Narrative of African Christian History
Michele Sigg, Narrative as History: African Christian Biography as History in the Dictionary of African Christian Biography

1.C. Film Screening (School of Theology, Room 306): "Remembering Nokutela," by Cherif Keita.

12:30 – 2:00    Lunch (Terrace Lounge, GSU 2nd Floor)

2:00 - 3:30       Panel: Tim Longman, chair—Biography as History
Panelists: Kathleen Sheldon, Diana Wylie, Richard Elphick

3:30 - 4:00       Coffee break (Terrace Lounge, GSU 2nd Floor)

4:00 - 5:45       Concurrent Paper Sessions.

2.A. Critical perspectives on South African biography. Diana Wylie, chair (Mugar library, Room 503)
 --Joanne Davis, Omission and Elision: Missing the Target in Biographies of the Reverend Tiyo Soga
--Deborah Gaitskell, Preaching as Boxing? The Sermons of Seth Mokitimi, the ‘Brown Bomber,’ as a Biographical Resource
--Roger Levine, Jan Tzatzoe or Dyani Tshatshu: Personal, Political, and Historical Consequences of Naming in African History

2.B. Women in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Dana Robert, chair (School of Theology, Room 115)
 --Heather Hughes, Recovering the Lives of Early African Women Christians in South Africa: The Case of Nokutela Dube
--Barbara Mahamba, A Character Worth Writing About: Roman Catholic Girls and Women’s Education Mirrored through the Experiences of Sikhaulaphi Khumalo
--Wendy Urban-Mead, “Why can’t we ordain Nellie?” Leadership, Faith, and Hagiography in the life of Nellie Maduma Mlotshwa, Zimbabwe, 1934-2015

2.C. Film Screening (School of Theology, Room 306): James Ault, independent filmmaker, short biographical sketches of Kwame Bediako and Bishop Peter Sarpong; Shona Religion Presentation

6:00 – 8:00      Dinner and Plenary (Castle, 225 Bay State Rd)
                        Linda Heywood, Queen Njinga of Angola: Spirituality and Politics

Saturday, Oct 31

9:00 -11:00      Concurrent Paper Sessions

3.A. African Christian Biography in Ghana/West Africa. Nimi Wariboko, chair (STh, Room 325)
 --Ethan R. Sanders, James Aggrey and the Movement of Political Thought in Africa
 --Maureen Iheanacho, Unknown Pioneers and Unsung Heroes: Forgotten Christian Ancestors of the Gold Coast (Ghana)

3.B. Methods, theories, and models for African biography. Jean-Luc Enyegue, chair (STh Community room, basement)
 --Paul Grant, Biography as Counter-Narrative to Rupture: The Moral Problem of Describing Intact Lives
 --The Most Rev Emmanuel A.S. Egbunu, Towards Authentic Characterization in African   Christian Biography
--Philomena Mwaura, Gender and Power in African Christian Biography

3.C. Film Screening (School of Theology, Room 306): "Remembering Nokutela," by Cherif Keita.

11:00-11:15     Coffee break (STh Community room, basement)

11:15 - 1:00     Project Wrap up and Boxed lunch (STh Community room, basement)

Over lunch a panel of “listeners’” will offer a response to the conference and there will be an open discussion. Panelists are Andrew Barnes and Joel Carpenter


>>Conference fee is $120 which covers lunches, dinners, and materials (program booklet and USB drive with presentation papers).

>>The opening reception, the Friday morning plenary, and the Friday afternoon panel are open to non-registrants.

>>Registrants must find their own lodging.

Questions? Email Project Manager Michele Sigg at DACB@bu.edu.

Hotels near Boston University in the $200-$300 range:

Hotel Buckminster (closest, our hotel of choice)
645 Beacon St.
(617) 236-7050

Holiday Inn Boston (Brookline)
1200 Beacon St.
(617) 277-1200

The Bertram Inn (Brookline)
92 Sewall Ave.
(617) 566-2234

Beacon Inn (Brookline)
1087 Beacon St.
(617) 566-0088

Abercrombie Farrington Inn (Allston)
23 Farrington Ave.
(617) 787-1860

There are other options that may be more expensive. Book early as it is leaf-peeping season.