Dr. Kathleen Openshaw is a lecturer in the School of Social Sciences at Western Sydney University. She has a PhD from Western Sydney University (Australia), and a Master’s degree in Anthropology and Development Studies (Maynooth University, Ireland). Kathleen’s main research interests are Pentecostalisms from the Global South, local lived migrant religious expressions of globalised Pentecostalisms and material religion. Her PhD research was an ethnography of the Brazilian megachurch The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) in Australia. Kathleen is currently a member of the research team for an Australian Research Council Discovery Project, “The African Diaspora and Pentecostalism in Australia”. She is the Managing Editor of The Australian Journal of Anthropology (TAJA). She is also co-editor (with C. Rocha and M. Hutchinson) of Australian Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements: Arguments from the Margins. Leiden: Brill (2020).
How do material objects accrue spiritual capital? In this episode, Dr. Kathleen Openshaw shares a poignant story from a member of the Australia branch of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God. As we hear about the global journey of a vial of anointing oil, she explains how we invest objects with significance and connect them to sacred spaces. Especially for the migrant community of UCKG members in Australia, these connections work to collapse the false binary between stasis and mobility that seems so stark in our present moment.