come to a seminar!

I’ve had my head down for the last couple of months preparing for what’s known here at Melbourne Uni as ‘confirmation’. It’s basically a review of your first years’ work in the form of a report and a presentation.

If you’re in Melbourne, you’re welcome to come to the presentation. If you’re unlucky enough not to live here rest assured that when it gets signed off I’ll make the report available for download and blog through the new content over the next couple of weeks. So here are the details…

You are invited to PhD confirmation seminar by Natalie Swann, doctoral candidate in the School of Social and Political Science.

Thesis Title: ‘On the Way Home: nation, place and identity among Christian migrants’

When: 3:00pm, Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Where: Room 519, John Medley Building, University of Melbourne

Abstract
This project examines the impact of faith on the migration experience. Both within the church and in secular Australia there is a general assumption that migrants (especially recent arrivals) don’t share ‘Christian values’. Yet, large numbers of people who live in Australia and were born overseas identify as Christian; in Australia, 55% of persons born in Africa and the Middle East and 36% of persons born in Asia claim Christian affiliation.

Current literature on both migration and Christianity tends to focus on public worship and articulations of doctrine by church leaders. This project, in contrast, seeks to explore the everyday theologies of lay believers and the impact these beliefs have on quotidian life and personal devotional practice. Contesting the treatment of faith as an epiphenomenon, my project seeks to explore the ways in which faith is actively involved in shaping the migration process.

Australian studies of ethnicity and religion operate within a monolithic discourse that binds ethnic identity with ethnic religious practice. This project will explore the largely unnoticed possibility that ethnic identity transcends religious identity or vice versa . It will also argue that presupposing that we know what Christianity is all about, blinds us to the ways in which it confounds the Christianised science and social science we have inherited.

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