Fellowship: Geist and Rosberg Undergraduate Research Grants
Fellowship Year(s): 2018
Project/Theme Title: Reformist Revolutions in Malawi: The Role of Reformed Islamic and Christian Congregations in Rural Malawi
Abstracts: Over the 20th century, the Christian and Muslim population in Malawi skyrocketed from twenty percent of the population (Thorold 1995) to ninety-eight percent today. Recently, reformist Islam--sukuti--and reformist Christian--Pentecostal--movements have taken central roles in the lives of individuals and in society. Existing research shows that both types of congregations empower their members to succeed in the modern economy and that Pentecostal churches often provide basic welfare services to their members (Trinitapoli & Weinreb 2012). In a country with meager government services, understanding the reasons for the success of these reformist movements can guide future development efforts. I propose a two-part study based in two southern Malawian villages--one Muslim and one Christian--to compare specific programs and material support provided by each type of congregation to its members. I will conduct interviews with Pentecostals and sukutis to understand their relationship to their faith and to investigate the social services provided by their respective congregations.