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 women's studies and material studies to trace the interplay of bodies, things, spaces, and words in particular social situations.
My first book, Mission Station Christianity: Norwegian Missionaries in Colonial Natal and Zululand, Southern Africa 1850-1890 (2013), examined how place-making practices on and around new "mission stations" shaped understandings of Christianity, gender, and race in colonial Southern Africa. My current book project has the provisional working title "Women and Words in Christianity." It explores the often problematic connection between "women" and "words." 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, with a variety of contradictory effects.
I have also begun a new line of research on reading. This research has several strands. In addition to coming across reading as an important social practice in my historical research on women, I have become interested in reading as a scholarly method in cultural anthropology, and I have also started conducting classroom studies on undergraduate student reading in the humanities (drawing on the anthropology of learning, and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning - SOTL).
My publications are available at: ingiehovland.net/publications