Paper $32.50 ISBN: 9780226697550 Will Publish May 2020
Cloth $97.50 ISBN: 9780226697413 Will Publish May 2020
An e-book edition will be published.

Unequal Partners

In Search of Transnational Catholic Sisterhood

Casey Ritchie Clevenger

Unequal Partners

Casey Ritchie Clevenger

288 pages | 8 halftones, 3 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2020
Paper $32.50 ISBN: 9780226697550 Will Publish May 2020
Cloth $97.50 ISBN: 9780226697413 Will Publish May 2020
E-book $32.50 ISBN: 9780226697697 Will Publish May 2020
When we think of Catholicism, we think of Europe and the United States as the seats of its power. But while much of Catholicism remains headquartered in the West, the Church’s center of gravity has shifted to Africa, Latin America, and developing Asia. Focused on the transnational Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Unequal Partners explores the ways gender, race, economic inequality, and colonial history play out in religious organizations, revealing how their members are constantly negotiating and reworking the frameworks within which they operate.

Taking us from Belgium and the US to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, sociologist Casey Clevenger offers rare insight into how the sisters of this order work across national boundaries, shedding light on the complex relationships among individuals, social groups, and formal organizations. Throughout, Clevenger skillfully weaves the sisters’ own voices into her narrative, helping us understand how the order has remained whole over time. A thoughtful analysis of the ties that bind—and divide—the sisters, Unequal Partners is a rich look at transnationalism’s ongoing impact on Catholicism.
Contents
Chapter 1. Batteries, Crosses, Solar Panels, and Global Sisterhood

Chapter 2. Julie Is Our Ancestor: Unearthing the Roots of Transnationalism

Chapter 3. Like Night and Day: Sisters’ Personal and Communal Religious Practices in Two Places

Chapter 4. Pathways to Religious Life for American and Congolese Women

Chapter 5. A Life of Ministries

Chapter 6. Mission Is Everything: Sisters on the Frontiers of Ministry in Greater Boston

Chapter 7. Poverty, Development, and the Challenges of Catholic Sisterhood in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Conclusion: Circling Back and Looking Forward

Appendix: Research Methodology
Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Review Quotes
Michele Dillon, author of Postsecular Catholicism: Relevance and Renewal
“Scholarly and engaging from the outset, Clevenger’s Unequal Partners tackles a significant question, namely, how transnationalism emerges and impacts the living-out of what is, in one sense, a universal identity—being a Catholic nun—but which is highly contingent on localized realities as well as the dynamics of the transnational flow of both material and symbolic resources. Clevenger presents a rich empirical profile and thoughtful analysis of the kinds of women who become nuns, what their lives are like, and how and why American and Congolese nuns differ, even as they also overlap in significant ways.”
Wendy Cadge, author of Paging God: Religion in the Halls of Medicine
“Clevenger's beautiful ethnography brings readers deep into the lived realities of Catholic sisters around the globe and the challenges of transnational sisterhood in the global Christian and sociological context.”
Donald E. Miller, author of Spirit and Power: The Growth and Global Impact of Pentecostalism
 “Unequal Partners reads like a personal exploration into the world and life of Catholic sisters. One can easily picture life in a Congolese convent, eating the local food, traveling on the treacherous highways, and witnessing the colorful habits of the nuns, which stands in sharp contrast to the living situation of sisters in the United States, who often live in apartments by themselves or with one or two other sisters. Through historical and social analysis of sisters in these two settings, Clevenger takes up the question of the degree to which cultural differences play a substantial role in shaping the lives of sisters.”
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