A new book by Britt Halvorson, faculty fellow in anthropology, has been released. Conversionary Sites: Transforming Medical Aid and Global Christianity from Madagascar to Minnesota (University of Chicago Press, June 2018) draws on more than two years of participant observation in the American Midwest and in Madagascar among Lutheran clinicians, volunteer laborers, healers, evangelists, and former missionaries, according to the publisher.
Conversionary Sites investigates the role of religion in the globalization of medicine. Based on immersive research of a transnational Christian medical aid program, Halvorson tells the story of a 30-year-old initiative that aimed to professionalize and modernize colonial-era evangelism. Creatively blending perspectives on humanitarianism, global medicine, and the anthropology of Christianity, she argues that the cultural spaces created by these programs operate as multistranded “conversionary sites,” where questions of global inequality, transnational religious fellowship, and postcolonial cultural and economic forces are negotiated.