Prof. Hillary Kaell
(Anthropology/ Religious Studies, McGill University)
“Materialism and Consumption: Circulating Christian Love with American Things”
March 21, 2023, 3.00-4.30pm, 02.102 (Philo II, Jakob-Welder-Weg 20)
Please join us for a short presentation and discussion with Prof. Hillary Kaell (Anthropology/Religious Studies, McGill University) of the chapter “Materialism and Consumption: Circulating Christian Love with American Things” from her book Christian Globalism at Home: Child Sponsorship in the United States (Princeton University Press, 2020).
Materialism and Consumption: Circulating Christian Love with American Things
For two hundred years, Christians have run charitable projects to “sponsor” children abroad. Through these plans, individuals in the Global North—notably in the United States–send money to support an individual child in need. The popularity of these plans rested, in part, on how they offered donors what amounted to consumer choice: one could choose what type of child to support. However, by the 1970s Christian donors began to worry about their own “materialism” and its effects on child sponsorship. Based on my recent book Christian Globalism at Home (Princeton University Press, 2020), this presentation will explore the tight link between sponsorship and early forms of capitalism, along with the “anti-materialist” tactics that sponsors use to soften the ambivalence inherent in this form of global charitable giving.