Religion and AIDS in Africa Hardcover – 16 Aug 2012
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Trinitapoli and Weinreb challenge much that is holy writ for modern, Western, secular minds. For those with an interest in development or medicine, it is fascinating, and perhaps infuriating. (Michael Beasley, Theology)
Religion and AIDS in Africa is a Scholarly yet readable exploration of many of the questions key to understanding the complexity of HIV and religion in Africa ... (Ann Smith, the Tablet)
About the Author
MDR: Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of TexasAW: Assistant Professor of Sociology, Hebrew University of JerusalemJT: Doctoral Candidate in Sociology, University of Texas
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
If you think African religion and AIDS don't matter to churches, Religion and AIDS in Africa may challenge you to think again. It provides one of the best empirical investigations of practical theology (how what people believe affects daily life) I have seen and it will challenge you to think more carefully about the importance of everything you say and do.
Regardless of your own religion (or lack thereof), I challenge you to read it without coming away believing that religion is somehow critical in the mess of HIV/AIDS in contemporary Africa. Not only that, it is never preachy or didactic, presenting the data in a compelling manner without making blanket statements about what is right or wrong or even trying to guilt the reader into caring.
The layout is straightforward: after a few chapters of introduction and background for the AIDS crisis and international response in sub-Saharan Africa, the authors launch into explorations of nearly every conceivable means religion might play a role in the spread, care, or social meaning of HIV and AIDS. In the process, Trinitapoli and Weinreb draw on a fantastic array of high-quality data regarding every country in sub-Saharan Africa, enriched by rich historical research, interviews, and even sermon transcripts collected both in their Malawi study and throughout Africa. Finally, the authors make an unusual claim, at least coming from demographers: HIV and AIDS are changing the churches in turn. In every chapter, the reasoning is compelling, the facts are clear, and the authors are forthright about the limits on what they can reasonably conclude.
The book is powerful and well worth reading, both for social scientists and religious leaders, for one primary reason: it challenges us to think carefully about the processes that actually make up social and religious life, how they impact people, how they impact the ways we understand religion, and how we can begin to understand them in their beautiful complexity. Mixed methods studies can at times suffer from split personalities and end up lopsided or mediocre. This study, however, demonstrates the power and necessity of an all of the above approach in tackling tough, important questions with real implications.
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