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Ingie Hovland

Blurred image of the arch used as background for stylistic purposes.
Assistant Professor

I am a cultural and historical anthropologist of religion. I am especially interested in the many different histories, cultural practices, and social effects of Christianity in the world. My work uses lenses from feminist theory and material religion studies to trace the interplay of gendered bodies, spaces, and words in particular social situations.

My first book, Mission Station Christianity: Norwegian Missionaries in Colonial Natal and Zululand, Southern Africa 1850-1890 (Brill, 2013), examined how place-making practices on and around new "mission stations" shaped understandings of Christianity, gender, and race in colonial Southern Africa. 

My second book, Life in Language: Mission Feminists and the Emergence of a New Protestant Subject (Chicago, 2025) explores the often problematic connection between "women" and "words" in Christianity. I focus on a case study of the so-called "mission feminists" in early-twentieth-century Norway - a group of women who used new language practices (new ways of speaking, listening, reading, and writing) to advocate for women's greater status in Christian organizations. Their linguistic experiments combined their words and their bodies in different material-discursive configurations. While scholars often argue that Protestantism drives toward dematerialization, aiming to separate language from materiality, the mission feminists show us the opposite: they give us a glimpse into the material-discursive multiplicity of Protestant modern subjects. The book is forthcoming from the Class 200 series at Chicago in March 2025.

My publications are available at: 

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