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Social Anthropology:


Naomi Haynes

Naomi Haynes
Dr Naomi Haynes
Senior Lecturer and Chancellor's Fellow
G.1 22 George Square Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
+44(0)131 650 4052
Research Interests
Christianity, Political economy, Southern Africa, Hierarchy, Values, Economic anthropology, Religion And Ritual

I am a social anthropologist working at the intersection of religion and political economy.  My research to date has examined Pentecostal Christianity in urban Zambia - a country that has made a constitutional declaration that it is a "Christian nation."  In part, my work addresses how various aspects of Pentecostalism, especially the prosperity or "health and wealth" gospel, shape exchange relationships and social life more generally.  At the same time, I am also interested in the way that macro-economic factors, whether privatization or the Global Financial Crisis that struck during my PhD fieldwork in 2008 and 2009, impact those same social and relational forms.  More broadly, my research is about cultural values - things like ambition, obligation, or charisma - religious economies, and the way that religion shapes people and social relationships. 

I received my PhD in 2012 from the University of California, San Diego, where I also taught and assisted with undergraduate courses in anthropology.  I am a Fellow of the Africa Studies Centre at the University of Leiden, and an associate scholar on the Gender and Pentecostal Christianity project at the University of Bergen.  I am also a co-curator of Anthrocybib, the Anthropology of Christianity Bibliographic Blog.  Access Anthrocybib here.

In 2016 I was awarded a Future Research Leaders grant from the Economic and Social Research Council for a new project exploring Christian Nationalism in Zambia.  As part of this research, I am curating a new online space exploring the theme of Christian nationalism broad.  Please contact me if you are interested in making a contribution to "The Christian Nation Project."

Selected Publications

Short Articles:

2019.  "Lungu's Livingstone."  Africa is a Country.

2019.  "A Christian Covenant in Concrete."  The Immanent Frame.



2017.  Moving by the Spirit: Pentecostal Social Life on the Zambian Copperbelt.  University of California Press.

Edited Volumes:


Social Analysis Cover

2014. The Anthropology of Christianity: Unity, Diversity, New Directions (co-edited with Joel Robbins).  Special issue of Current Anthropology (Vol. 55, No. S10).

2017.  Hierarchy, Values, and the Value of Hierarchy (co-edited with Jason Hickel).  Special issue of Social Analysis (Vol. 60, No. 4).

2018.  Hierarchy and Value: Comparative Perspectives on Moral Order.  Berghahn Books. (co-edited with Jason Hickel)

Research Articles:

2020.  The Expansive Present: A New Model of Christian Time.  Current Anthropology 61(1): 57-76.

2019.  The Benefit of the Doubt: Towards a Theory of Doubt and Power.  Anthropological Quarterly 92(1): 35-58.

2018.  Why Can’t a Pastor Be President of a “Christian Nation?”: Pentecostal Politics as Religious Mediation.  Political and Legal Anthropology Review 41(1): 60-74.

2017. Contemporary Africa Through the Theory of Louis Dumont.  Sociologia & Anthropologia 7(3).

2017.  Learning to Pray the Pentecostal Way: Language and Personhood on the Zambian Copperbelt.  Religion 47(1): 35-50.

2016.  Hierarchy, Values, and the Value of Hierarchy (article co-authored with Jason Hickel).  Social Analysis 60(4): 1-20

2015. 'Zambia Shall be Saved!': Prosperity Gospel Politics in a Self-Proclaimed Christian Nation.  Nova Religio 19(1): 5-24. Winner: Second Prize, Thomas Robbins Award for Excellence in the Study of New Religions.

2015.  Egalitarianism and Hierarchy in Copperbelt Religious Practice: On the Social Work of Pentecostal Ritual.  Religion 42(2): 273-292.

2015.  Change and Chisungu in Zambia's time of AIDS.  Ethnos 80(3): 364-384.

2014. Afterword: Affordances and Audiences: On the Difference Christianity Makes.  Current Anthropology 55(S10): S357-S365.

2013.  On the Potential and Problems of Pentecostal Exchange.  American Anthropologist 115(1): 85-95.

2012.  Pentecostalism and the Morality of Money: Prosperity, Inequality, and Religious Sociality on the Zambian Copperbelt.  Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 18(1): 124-139.

2008.  The Anthropology of Christianity (article co-authored with Jon Bialecki and Joel Robbins).  Religion Compass 2/6: 1139-1158.

Book Chapters:

2018.  Theology on the Ground.  In Theologically Engaged Anthropology.  Edited by Derrick Lemons.  Oxford University Press, pp. 266-279.

Topics interested in supervising

I welcome inquiries from students interested in the anthropology of Christianity, the anthropology of religion, economic anthropology, and southern Africa

If you are interested in being supervised by Naomi Haynes, please see the links below for more information:

PhD In African Studies; PhD in Social Anthropology; MSc (R) African Studies; MSc (R) Social Anthropology