Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Tracy Ehlers, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Richard Clemmer-Smith, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Christina Kreps

Fourth Advisor

Peter Van Arsdale


Christianity, Episcopalian, Lost boys, Refugee studies, Southern Sudan, Sudan


While members of the southern Sudanese Dinka tribe converted to Christianity in large numbers in the early 1990s, the Lost Boys, a largely Dinka group of young men who were separated from their families during the Sudanese civil war in the late 1980s, had a distinct conversion experience in refugees camps. Using first-person interviews and participant observation with a group of Lost Boys resettled in Denver, and historical and ethnographic data, this research seeks to explain why the Lost Boys converted to Christianity and the role that it played in their identity in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, and continues to play in their lives in Denver. Findings include the Lost Boys' need to adapt to radically changed circumstances that separated them from the central components of their lives--their families, villages, and cattle--and retention of the Dinka values of pragmatism and group autonomy, which allowed the Lost Boys to accept the once foreign practice of Christianity.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Kathryn Snyder


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

192 p.


Cultural anthropology, African studies, Religion