Naomi Haynes: Concretizing the Covenant: Zambia’s National House of Prayer and the Aesthetics of Christian Nationalism
Welcome to a seminar with Dr. Naomi Haynes, Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh.
The seminar is open to all, including bachelor and master students. No registration is required. After the seminar, drinks and snacks will be served in our lunchroom.
In October 2015 Zambian president Edgar Lungu broke ground for a new National House of Prayer. This planned structure will literally concretize Zambia’s status as Africa’s only self-proclaimed Christian nation. The particular form that the House of Prayer will take has been the subject of debate, and multiple sets of architectural plans have been presented to the Zambian public, each seeking to provide a religious space for this diverse Christian population. Through a close reading of the House of Prayer plans, this paper explores the aesthetics of Christian nationalism in a unique post-colonial context. By moving debates about religious national belonging out of the discursive and into the aesthetic sphere, the National House of Prayer creates new forms of political power, but also opens new lines of political resistance.