Brian Goldstone, PhD,
Duke University, Cultural Anthropology
Brian Goldstone received his PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Duke University in 2012. His book project, The Miraculous Life: Scenes from the Charismatic Encounter in Northern Ghana,
explores the recent incursion of charismatic churches into northern Ghana, a rural, predominantly Muslim region whose inhabitants -- long the object of prejudices and expropriations of various sorts -- have increasingly become the target of evangelistic efforts undertaken by Christians from the South. Arranged as a gathering of disparate scenes, an approach that makes use of a wide array of ethnographic, literary, philosophical, video/photographic, and historical materials, the book charts the sensuous, intensive, often precarious worlds that materialize as believers labor to make the "miraculous life" their own; and also, against the backdrop of a vigorous campaign aimed at reconstituting the social, moral, and spiritual disposition of an alleged "Islamic stronghold," the ways this reality, this life, is made available to others.
Brian has recently begun research on a second ethnographic project, tentatively titled Diagnosing the Devil: Psychospiritual Interventions in West Africa. The project situates the Pentecostal treatment and diagnosis of mental illness - typically deemed the product of a demonic "spirit of madness" - within the contemporary nexus of global biomedicine, development and humanitarianism, theologies of health and healing, and the ethics and affects of affliction. Other ongoing projects include a critical appraisal of the chronic recourse to sovereignty in current theorizing, and the possibilities for "life" and adjacent figures (creation, potentiality, expression) that might emerge in its wake; a comparative study on political demonology; and, as part of a broader interest in anthropological history and theory, an exploration of the distinctive passions and sensations - the awe, curiosity, aversion, even horror - of anthropology's encounter with its worlds.
His articles have appeared in South Atlantic Quarterly, Theory & Event, borderlands, Anthropological Quarterly, and the collection Secularism and Religion-Making (Oxford University Press, 2011). A co-edited volume, African Futures: Essays on Crisis, Emergence, and Possibility, is under review at the University of Chicago Press.
In the fall of 2012, Brian will teach a seminar on "Signs and Wonders" in the Department of Anthropology.
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