"The need for circumcised men" : the quest for transformed masculinities in African Christianity in the context of the HIV epidemic

A.S. van Klinken

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral thesis 1 (Research UU / Graduation UU)


    In sub-Saharan Africa, among others as a result of the HIV epidemic hegemonic forms of masculinity are contested and the need to change men and to transform masculinities is widely acknowledged. This thesis investigates this development in the context of African Christianity, making use of theological and gender critical tools of analysis derived from subdisciplines in religious studies such as the study of World Christianity and the study of religion and gender. The thesis specifically examines and compares how African theologians and local churches engage in a quest for transformed masculinities in the era of HIV. Case studies have been conducted in a Catholic parish and a Pentecostal church in Lusaka, Zambia. The thesis critically analyses and discusses the different strategies and visions of the theologians and the case study churches to transform masculinities. While the theologians present a radicial critique of patriarchy and provide a vision to transform masculinities from patriarchy to gender justice, the case studies show that local churches make use of religious concepts and ideals that can be considered patriarchal in order to define and promote an alternative type of masculinity among men. Hence the thesis argues that the concept of patriarchy is too monolithic to analyse and understand church-based strategies to change men and to transform masculinties. It argues for an alternative, more nuanced analytical approach that focuses on men’s agency as enabled by religious discourses and practices in churces.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • Utrecht University
    • Frederiks, Martha, Primary supervisor
    • Korte, Anne-Marie, Supervisor
    • Chitando, E., Supervisor, External person
    Award date12 Jan 2011
    Print ISBNs978-90-393-5483-4
    Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2011


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