Research Project Launched on Religion and Migration
UKZN academic Dr Federico Settler and a group of postgraduate students in the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics on the Pietermaritzburg campus have launched the University’s first-ever programme focusing on the study of Religion and Migration.
The research project titled: “Religion and Migration in Postcolonial Africa”, will offer an intellectual space for researchers from across the region to reflect on the intersection of the under-researched relationship between faith and mobility.
Funded by a Thuthuka research grant from the National Research Foundation, this multi-year research project involves students and staff conducting research in Johannesburg, Durban and Port Elizabeth, focusing on the role religion plays in the migratory process as well as ways in which migration changes religious practices and beliefs.
The first cohort of students includes doctoral candidates Ms Buhle Mpofu and Mr George Okwii, and Masters students, Ms Laureen Confait, Mr Mark Mapaketi, Mr Quinton Marlowe and Ms Delipher Manda. Their projects range from studies of migration and health-seeking behaviour to religion and integration among selected religious communities. While this is a UKZN-led research project, it also includes research collaboration with scholars from the University of Edinburgh, the University of Oslo and the University of Witwatersrand.
As a Sociologist of religion, Settler hopes the project will not only merge sociological and religious perspectives on migration, but, in particular, reflect on migration from a postcolonial and transnational vantage point which he believes will open new possibilities for theorising and understanding migration.