Prisons, Pentecostalism and the Politics of Presence in Rio de Janeiro

Prisons, Pentecostalism and the Politics of Presence in Rio de Janeiro
Date Friday, April 5, 2019
11:10 a.m. - noon
FeaturingDr. Andrew Johnson, School of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, Metro State University, Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
Location Eastlund Room - View maps and directions
Bethel University
3900 Bethel Dr St Paul MN 55112
Instructions for GuestsPark in the west lot and come to the Benson Great Hall to hear Dr. Johnson's chapel talk at 10:15 before the lecture in the Eastlund Room at 11:10. The Eastlund Room is just up the stairs (to the north) from the Great Hall loggia. For maps and directions to Bethel, please check here.   
SponsorsDavid O. Moberg Endowment for Sociology and Christianity Department of Sociology and Reconciliation Studies

Event Description

Pentecostal Christianity is flourishing inside the prisons of Rio de Janeiro. To find out why, Andrew Johnson dug deep into the prisons themselves. He began by spending two weeks living in a Brazilian prison as if he were an inmate: sleeping in the same cells as the inmates, eating the same food, and participating in the men's daily routines as if he were incarcerated. And he returned many times afterward to observe prison churches' worship services, which were led by inmates who had been voted into positions of leadership by their fellow prisoners. He accompanied Pentecostal volunteers when they visited cells that were controlled by Rio's most dominant criminal gang to lead worship services, provide health care, and deliver other social services to the inmates. Why does this faith resonate so profoundly with the incarcerated? Pentecostalism, argues Johnson, is the "faith of the killable people" and offers ex-criminals and gang members the opportunity to positively reinvent their public personas. If I Give My Soul is a deeply personal look at the relationship between the margins of Brazilian society and the Pentecostal faith, both behind bars and in the favelas, Rio de Janeiro's peripheral neighborhoods. Based on his intimate relationships with the figures in this book, Johnson makes a passionate case that Pentecostal practice behind bars is an act of political radicalism as much as a spiritual experience.

Dr. Johnson will also be screening his documentary"If I Give My Soul: Faith behind Bars in Rio de Janeiro"  on Thursday,  April 4 (the day before this event) in RC417 in Dr. Andrew Odubote's class, Race, Ethnicity, and Peacemaking from 12:15-1:30 in RC417. 



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