Dr. Yonatan Nissim Gez

Buber Fellow: 
Academic interests: 

Development Studies, Anthropology, African Studies, Religious Studies

Current Projects: 
  •  Relations between religion and development in Africa

  •  African Christianity (esp. Pentecostalism)

  •  Religious identity, trust and middle class identity in Kenya

  •  Alternative models for religious mobility (“butinage”, “religious repertoires”), with special focus on Kenya, Brazil and Switzerland

  •  Israeli development cooperation in Africa

  •  Swiss private schools in Kenya

Curriculum Vitae: 

2014-2015 / Post-doctoral fellowship, Glocal Community Development and the Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

2013-2014 / Certificate of Advanced Studies in Management of Development Projects, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

2009-2014 / PhD in Sociology and Anthropology of Development, The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva. Thesis title: “Religious Identity and Mobility in Nairobi: A ‘Religious Repertoire’ Approach”

2006-2008 / Master of Studies in Jewish-Christian Relations, University of Cambridge

2003-2006 / BA in General Humanities and Jewish Philosophy, Tel Aviv University

Edited books


  • 2014. Mobilité religieuse: Retours croisés des Afriques aux Amériques. Paris: Karthala (with Yvan Droz, Philippe Chanson, & Edio Soares

Peer-reviewed articles
  • Forthcoming. “The Sheep-Stealing Dilemma: The Ambiguities of Church Visits in Kenya.” Journal of Religion in Africa (with Yvan Droz).
  •  2017. "From converts to itinerants: religious butinage as dynamic identity." Current Anthropology 58(2): 141–159 (with Yvan Droz, Edio Soares & Jeanne Rey).
  • 2016. " La mobilité religieuse à l’aune du butinage." Social Compass 63(2): 251–267 (with Yvan Droz, Edio Soares & Jeanne Rey).
  • 2015. “Negotiation and Erosion of Born Again Prestige in Nairobi.” Nova Religio 18(3): 18-37 (with Yvan Droz).
  • 2012. “From ‘Crime of Passion’ to ‘Love Does Not Kill’: The Murder of Einav Rogel and the Role of Na’amat Women’s Organization in the Construction of Violence against Women in Israel.” Israel Studies 17(2): 129-155 (with Anat Herbst).
  • 2011. “The Phenomenon of Jewish Buddhists in Light of the History of Jewish Suffering.” Nova Religio 15(1): 44-68. (Reprinted in: Perry Schmidt-Leukel (ed., 2012) Buddhism and Religious Diversity, volume III: Islam and Judaism. London: Routledge).


Chapters in books
  • Forthcoming. "Pentecostalism and alternative paths for self-accomplishment in Kenya." In Ezra Chitando and Joram Tarusarira (eds.), Religion and Human Security in Africa vol. II, London: Routledge (with Yvan Droz, Carmen Delgado Luchner, and Hervé Maupeu).
  • Forthcoming. "Religious tribalism, local morality and violence in Christian Kenya." In Ezra Chitando and Joram Tarusarira (eds.), Religion and Human Security in Africa vol. I, London: Routledge (with Yvan Droz and Hervé Maupeu).
  • Forthcoming. "Tikkun Olam and Jewish Outreach within Jewish Faith-Based Organizations." In A. Heuser and J. Köhrsen (eds.), Faith-Based Organizations (title to be finalized). ZRWP & Nomos-Pano. (with Adi Maya and Ido Benvenisti).
  • Forthcoming. “Les formes du religieux au Kenya.” In C. Thibon, M.-E. Pommerolle & M.-A. Fouéré (eds.), Le Kenya contemporain. Paris: Karthala (with Yvan Droz).
  • Forthcoming. “The Crisis of Religious Trust in Nairobi in Light of Its Diversifying Religious Landscape.” In M. Echtler, F. Kogelmann and E. Spies (eds.), Religious Diversity and Pluralism in Africa (title to be finalized).
  • 2016. “Kitvei hakodesh kemitve lehekerut: zehut Yehudit-yisraelit murkevet bemifgash im natzrut shamranit bekenya” (“Scripture as a Template for Familiarity: Encounters Between a Complex Jewish-Israeli Identity and Conservative Christians in Kenya”). In R. Ginio, N. Levy & L. Schler, Hasadot beafrika: chavayot shel mechkar vehavnayat yeda (“The Fields in Africa: Research Experiences and Construction of Data”). Haifa: Pardes, 129-144 (in Hebrew).
  • 2015. “A God Trap: Seed Planting, Gift Logic, and the Prosperity Gospel.” In A. Heuser (ed.), Pastures of Plenty: Tracing Religio-Scapes of Prosperity Gospel in Africa and Beyond. Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, New York, Oxford, Vienna: Peter Lang, 295-308 (with Yvan Droz).
  • 2015. “Bishop Margaret Wanjiru and the 2013 Kenyan Elections: Between Politics of the Spirit and Expanding Entrepreneurship.” In C. Thibon, M. Ndeda & M.-A. Fouéré (eds.), Kenya’s Past as Prologue: Voters, Violence and the 2013 General Election. Nairobi: Twaweza & Heinrich Böll, 96-115 (with Tanya Alvis).
  • 2014. “Les répertoires religieux: une approche englobante pour décrire la dynamique des identités religieuses.” In Y. Droz, P. Chanson, Y. N. Gez & E. Soares (eds.), Mobilité religieuse: Retours croisés des Afriques aux Amériques. Paris: Karthala, 53-69.
  • 2012. “Butinagem religiosa: a importancia da metafora para pensar o religioso.” In A. P. Oro, C. A. Steil, R. Cipriani and E. Giumbelli (eds.), A religião no espaço public. São Leopoldo: Editora Oikos, 111-137 (with Edio Soares & Yvan Droz).
  • 2010. “‘I Know Nothing about Africa’: Children of Undocumented Sub-Saharan African Labor Migrants in Israel, between Integration and Deportation.” In D. Soen, M. Shechory & S. Ben-David (eds.), Searching for Better Future: Who Pays the Price? Foreign Workers – Multi-Layered Analysis. New York: Nova Science Publishers, 77-93 (with Galia Sabar).
Articles in non-peer reviewed journals
  • 2015. "(Re)Searching the Middle Class in Nairobi: Insights from an Interdisciplinary Workshop." Ifriqiya 1(10):1-4 (with Johannes M. Waldmueller & Anthony Boanada-Fuchs
Edited reports
  • 2016. (Re)Searching the Middle Class in Nairobi. Geneva: Kompreno (with Johannes M. Waldmueller & Anthony Boanada-Fuchs).