Public defence: David Stiles-Ocran

David Stiles-Ocran defended his doctoral dissertation:  “Constructing A Heterotopic Christian Social Practice In Ghana”, for the degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) at the Faculty of Theology.

David Stiles-Ocran. Photo

The public defence was held as a video conference over Zoom.
Time and place: Mar. 26, 2021 at 12:00 - 16:00

Adjudication committee

  • Professor Nadine Bowers Du Toit, Stellenbosch University, South Africa (first opponent)
  • Professor Elia Shabani Mligo, Teofilo Kisanji University, Tanzania (second opponent)
  • Associate Professor Nina Hoel, Faculty of Theology, University of Oslo. 

Leader of the disputation


About the dissertation

The thesis explores the kinds of spatial diaconia that develop in the non-institutionalized practices for supporting survivors of Trokosi (slaves of the gods). It also examines the possibilities for freedom, equality and dignity for survivors of liberated Trokosi within non-institutional organizations in the larger society. In a religiously condensed society like Ghana and Africa at large, voices of margins and survivors of indigenous religious ritual practices are scarcely heard and attended to. Liberated Trokosis, who are, among others, women survivors of the said rituals in the present society, daily live in a paradoxical hidden way to repudiate and contest against the existing dominant patriarchal family systems in the Ghanaian society. Though hidden, these women's everyday experience is a quest for restoration and integration in the larger society. They are “hidden restorable heterotopias” who only find hope and family with non-institutionalized indigenous parachurches. The indigenous parachurches, which function outside of institutionalized churches, are the ones that address the contemporary practice of ritual slavery (Trokosi/Fiashidi) and offer liberated Trokosis/Fiashidis a “liberating heterotopic diaconia” – a lived space in which they need not remain “hidden”. The thesis presents new perspectives in international diaconia and spatial theories, and broadly contributes to the study field of religion and development.

Published Mar. 31, 2021 12:00 AM - Last modified May 5, 2021 1:44 PM