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Faculty of Divinity


Christianity, Identity, and Politics in Modern African (Michaelmas Term)

The primary focus of this module is on the renegotiation of African and Christian identities in the past two centuries, from early encounters between missionaries and African societies along the encroaching colonial frontier to African independency movements, decolonisation, the role of African Christianity in the Cold War, and finally the rise of Pentecostalism.  A special interest of the module will be in enabling students to de-centre European agency and study how African politics, social change and cultural heritage were mobilised in the Africanisation of Christianity.  Main themes for this analysis will be 1) the interplay of missionary, European, and African politics in the colonial remaking of Africa; 2) the place of conversion as a nexus for negotiating the demands of European modernity with changing African social structures; 3) the role of science and translation in the vernacularisation of Christian cosmology; 4) the transformation of African traditional religions through Christian contextualisation movements.

Course Coordinators: Professor David Maxwell and Dr Jörg Haustein