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The Brazilian centre south was one of the few places in Latin America where evangelical Christianity made inroads before charismatic evangelicalism became a mass phenomenon in the late twentieth century. The first wave of missionary expansion took place amongst the mixed-race rural caipira population of the regions of São Paulo and Minas Gerais in Brazil, mostly through the agency of local Presbyterian evangelists, schoolteachers, and ministers. This presentation will focus on the conversion of these populations to evangelical Christianity in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and reconstruct the responses of two generations of converts to the new religious practices and ideas introduced by missionaries. By looking at conversion narratives, popular biographies of early converts, and missionary correspondence, this paper will examine how the new religion spread throughout networks of kin and neighbours, and look at the novel sociocultural reconfigurations brought about by religious change.

Dr Pedro Feitoza is a Lecturer in Latin American Christianity at the University of Edinburgh. He completed his PhD in history at Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge, and before joining the School of Divinity in Edinburgh was a postdoctoral fellow at the Brazilian Centre of Analysis and Planning in São Paulo. His monograph Propagandists of the Book: Protestant Missions, Christian Literacy, and the Making of Brazilian Evangelicalism will be published by Oxford University Press in the summer of 2024.

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