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Religion, Culture and Spirituality in Africa and the African diaspora

A new book co-edited by Dr William Ackah uses historical and contemporary examples to show how spiritual rituals and religion are understood by people of African descent.

A new book co-edited by the Department of Geography’s Dr William Ackah explores the ways in which religious ideas and beliefs continue to play a crucial role in the lives of people of African descent.

Entitled Religion, Culture and Spirituality in Africa and the African Diaspora, the book looks at how ideas of spirituality emanating from Africa and the diaspora are still influenced by an African aesthetic; what the impact globalisation has had on spiritual and cultural identities on people of African descent; and what the utility of the practices and social organisations that house African spiritual expression is, in tackling social, political cultural and economic inequities.

Dr Ackah said: “African communities are dynamic and diverse, with their religions and spirituality having been shaped by factors of geographic location, organised religious settings, enslavement, colonialism, social oppression and the contemporary globalised world.

“Broad structural influencers, however, are not the whole story. Creativity, spiritual insight, organisational prowess, sense of collective agency gave also shaped the communities’ spirituality. This book is our attempt to explore and explain how these processes combine to produce engaging, powerful, diverse and sometimes contrasting forms of religious spiritual life and practice.”

Dr Ackah has been a lecturer in Community and Voluntary Sector Studies at Birkbeck since 2005. Religion, Culture and Spirituality is his third book and is co-edited with Jualynne E Dodson and R Drew Smith. It is available from Routledge.

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