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Religion and AIDS in Africa Hardcover – August 9, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0195335941 ISBN-10: 0195335945 Edition: 1st
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Religion and AIDS in Africa + America's Blessings: How Religion Benefits Everyone, Including Atheists + Acts of Faith: Explaining the Human Side of Religion
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Editorial Reviews


"A terrifically important book. While academics and policy makers are often so ignorant about religion, Trinitapoli and Weinreb bring the best evidence and argument to a topic of massive significance, showing once again that we simply cannot understand our world without taking religion seriously-not imposing prejudices and ideologies, but understanding real religions empirically, from the inside, in all their complexity and consequence."--Christian Smith, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society, University of Notre Dame

"Religion & AIDS in Africa is superb... For religion scholars in particular, this book serves as a stellar example of the application of multiple sources of data from a variety of methods to build and test theory about religion's role in the most massive social problem of our time." --Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion

"In response to AIDS in Africa, the role of religion is often framed as a nemesis and/or barrier to that promoted by the secular west. The authors brilliantly present extensive evidence of the important role that Africa's religious groups have had in shaping local responses. These responses range from providing care for the sick and dying to stimulating interpersonal and group debates on appropriate community action. As more so-called biomedical breakthroughs come to pass, it is critical that health and development organizations not forget the powerful adaptive features that characterize many religions in Africa and that they take advantage of such capital in a cooperative and constructive manner."--Rand L. Stoneburner MD, MPH, Former Senior Advisor, Strategic Intelligence and Analysis, UNAIDS, Geneva Switzerland 2009-2011

"It is a broad, deep, and respectful consideration of the subject, clearly organized and presented...the book provides much-needed insights that should shape AIDS prevention policies." --CHOICE

About the Author

Jenny Trinitapoli is Assistant Professor of Sociology, Demography and Religious Studies, Pennsylvania State University.

Alexander Weinreb is Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Texas at Austin.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (August 9, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195335945
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195335941
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1 x 6.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,279,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Nathaniel & Alena Porter on March 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover
If you are interested in religion and/or AIDS and/or sub-Saharan Africa, you should probably read this book.

If you think African religion and AIDS don't matter to churches, Religion and AIDS in Africa may challenge you to think again. It provides one of the best empirical investigations of practical theology (how what people believe affects daily life) I have seen and it will challenge you to think more carefully about the importance of everything you say and do.

Regardless of your own religion (or lack thereof), I challenge you to read it without coming away believing that religion is somehow critical in the mess of HIV/AIDS in contemporary Africa. Not only that, it is never preachy or didactic, presenting the data in a compelling manner without making blanket statements about what is right or wrong or even trying to guilt the reader into caring.

The layout is straightforward: after a few chapters of introduction and background for the AIDS crisis and international response in sub-Saharan Africa, the authors launch into explorations of nearly every conceivable means religion might play a role in the spread, care, or social meaning of HIV and AIDS. In the process, Trinitapoli and Weinreb draw on a fantastic array of high-quality data regarding every country in sub-Saharan Africa, enriched by rich historical research, interviews, and even sermon transcripts collected both in their Malawi study and throughout Africa. Finally, the authors make an unusual claim, at least coming from demographers: HIV and AIDS are changing the churches in turn. In every chapter, the reasoning is compelling, the facts are clear, and the authors are forthright about the limits on what they can reasonably conclude.
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