skip to primary navigationskip to content

Dr Joel Cabrita

Lecturer in World Christianities, Faculty of Divinity

Research Interests

Dr Cabrita's research is on the history of Christianity in Southern Africa, particularly from the early twentieth century to the present-day. Her first book is Text and Authority in the South African Nazaretha Church (CUP, 2014). It tells the story of how the Nazaretha church - one of Southern Africa's largest religious organizations - created a new body of sacred scriptures. 

She is currently writing the transnational history of an influential Christian faith healing movement called Zionism. Unrelated to Jewish Zionism, the movement initially took its name from its location in the small mid-Western town of Zion, Illinois. By the late nineteenth century, Zion teachings had spread across North America, Europe, Australia, as well as into parts of Asia and Africa.

South Africa became a key area for both European and African Zionist believers. Her research traces the changing relationship between North American and black South African Zionists, examining how the latter used their links to an American church as a means to improve their standing within the apartheid-era state.

As the holder of an AHRC Early Career Fellowship, Dr Cabrita will be working away from Cambridge during 2015-2017 in order to pursue this project. She is currently affiliated to the Graduate Centre at the City University of New York (CUNY) as a Visiting Research Scholar, and is also affiliated as a Research Associate to the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. She is also a member of the Centre of African Studies in Cambridge.