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Religion as Infrastructure: Congolese Migration, Diaspora, and Religious Networks

January 25, 2021 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Religion as Infrastructure: Congolese Migration, Diaspora, and Religious Networks


Religion as Infrastructure: Congolese Migration, Diaspora, and Religious Networks

In the last two decades, African charismatic and (neo)-Pentecostal communities have arisen in many metropolises globally. Questioning a traditional notion of infrastructure that focuses solely on architectures and utilities, Dr. Heck will show in her presentation, how revival churches have become powerful infrastructural actors, of which Congolese migrants, make use on their migratory routes and beyond. Dr. Heck’s presentation is based on findings from a multi-sited ethnography on the role of (neo) Pentecostal churches on the migration routes of Congolese migrants, which she carried out since 2010.


Gerda Heck has a shared position as an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology, Egyptology and Anthropology and the Center for Migration and Refugee Studies (CMRS) at The American University in Cairo. Her academic work and research focus on migration and border regimes, urban studies, transnational migration, migrant networks and self-organizing, religion, and new concepts of citizenship. She has conducted research in Germany, Brazil, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, France, Morocco, Turkey and the USA. Apart from her own research projects, she has participated in various international research projects. From 2010 to 2013, she was a postdoctoral fellow in the international and interdisciplinary research project, Global Prayers – Redemption and Liberation in the City. In 2016, she conducted research in Turkey within the scope of the international research project, Transit Migration 2: A Research Project on the De-and Re-Stabilizations of the European Border Regime. Beyond her research and teaching, she frequently develops media or art projects in which she combines science, art and film. Together with the artist Christian Hanussek, she produced an artistic mapping on African traders in Guangzhou (China), which has among others been shown at the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/ Architecture (UABB) in Shenzhen, China as well as the Chinafrika project in Leipzig.
The event is organized by the CRF Project “Infrastructures of Faith: Religious Mobilities on the Belt and Road [BRINFAITH]” (RGC CRF HKU C7052-18G), which is hosted by the ASIAR – Asian Religious Connections Research Cluster in HKIHSS.


January 25, 2021
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Event Category:


Via Zoom (Registration required)