Cover: African Catholic: Decolonization and the Transformation of the Church, from Harvard University PressCover: African Catholic in HARDCOVER

African Catholic

Decolonization and the Transformation of the Church

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$49.00 • £42.95 • €44.95

ISBN 9780674987661

Publication Date: 03/04/2019


384 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

15 photos, 2 maps, 2 tables


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Succeeds masterfully at probing the uncertainties and high stakes of competing efforts to shape the future of the Catholic Church in the midst of decolonization.—Harry Gamble, American Historical Review

Foster’s brilliant analysis is well informed and enlightened and always fair… A superb work.—John Buckley, Independent Catholic News

An outstanding study of Catholicism during the tumultuous period of decolonization… It offers engaging analyses on a striking range of subjects, including an assessment of Alioune Diop’s Catholic contribution to Négritude, the quotidian crises of faith experienced by radicalized African Catholic students in postwar France, and the way in which Catholics, from local churches to the upper echelons of the hierarchy, grappled with the growth of Islam in Africa.—J. P. Daughton, Journal of Modern History

A new interpretation of the decolonization and transformation of African Catholicism in the post–World War II years before and after the Second Vatican Council… Foster tells a compelling story… This is an important and authoritative book.—Stan Chu Ilo, Modern Theology

A truly original exploration of African Christianity, and of Catholics’ engagement with Africa, during the late colonial age and early era of independence. Foster reveals the fissures emerging among Catholics—French and African—during decolonization, and offers a groundbreaking intervention on Catholic negritude, including a fascinating discussion of Alioune Diop as one of its unsung architects. African Catholic will attract readers interested in Africa, Europe, and the francophone world as well as in religious studies. I strongly recommend it.—Eric Jennings, University of Toronto

Foster is one of a small but growing number of historians of French colonialism to give religion its due, and she stands almost alone in her focus on the diversity and complexity of African religious life. In her excellent new book, she zeroes in on the evolution of Catholicism in francophone West Africa and among African students, clerics, and intellectuals in France. Her work brims with fresh perspectives and new insights, including her arresting findings on the extent to which African independence influenced Vatican II. The French need for African priests today stands as one of many delicious ironies in this immensely compelling book.—Edward Berenson, New York University

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