Lauren Jarvis’s research focuses on the history of religion in sub-Saharan Africa, with an emphasis on twentieth-century South Africa. She is currently completing a book on the Nazaretha Church, one of the oldest and largest of the many faith healing churches that took root in southern Africa in the twentieth century.
Jarvis sees religious history as a window into the ideas that matter in people’s daily lives, and her book examines the ways that involvement in new religious communities changed how people thought about the future. It is a history of collective hopes, dreams, and ambitions. Jarvis is also in the early stages of a second book-length project, which explores how Africans in southern Africa used the Bible to construct—and argue about—racial identities.