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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

THEO1910 Religion in Modern Africa

10 creditsClass Size: 60

Module manager: Prof. Adriaan Van Klinken

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

This module is mutually exclusive with

THEO1180Varieties of Rel: Modrn Africa

Module replaces

Varieties of Religion in Modern African Societies (THEO1180)

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The aim of this module is to introduce students to the study of religion in sub-Saharan Africa. Where religion in Europe has been, to a considerable extent, privatised and pushed to the margins, in Africa it is very much part of the public domain and is central to the understanding of many aspects of African social and political life. The module will help students to learn about African traditional religion, Christianity and Islam in Africa and to understand the role of religion in contemporary African societies.


Through this module students
• Are introduced to the three major religious traditions in Africa and their role in contemporary African societies: African Traditional Religions, Islam and Christianity.
• Become aware of the interactions and fluid boundaries of these religions in Africa, acknowledging the pluralist religious climate that characterises African societies historically and today.
• Come to understand that African traditional (or indigenous) religions are not 'primitive', tribal or static, but are inherently adaptable and dynamic.
• Come to understand that Islam and Christianity are also genuinely African religions which have been creatively appropriated by African peoples.
• Explore and come to understand some key issues at the intersection of religion and public life in contemporary Africa, such as witchcraft, sickness and health, gender and sexuality, politics and development.
• Are made enthusiastic for, and develop a further interest in, the study of religion in Africa.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students
• Are able to outline the key characteristics and broad historical development of the three major religious traditions in Africa: African Traditional Religions, Islam and Christianity.
• Can describe the dynamics within and interactions between these three traditions in recent times.
• Can explain the public role of religion in contemporary African societies with reference to some specific social issues.

Skills outcomes
Students will develop skills of:
Knowledge and understanding of religious variety
Analysis of varied religious phenomena and data
Awareness of the significance of context
Awareness of core methods and concepts in the study of religion.


1. Introduction to (the study of) religion in Africa
2. African traditional religions
3. Christianity in Africa
4. Islam in Africa
5. Christian-Muslim relations in Africa
6. Religious innovation: Pentecostalism
7. Witchcraft in modern African societies
8. Religion and AIDS in Africa
9. Religion and politics in Africa
10. Religion and gender in Africa
11. Religion and homosexuality in Africa

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours84.00
Total Contact hours16.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

2 hours preparation per lecture = 22 hours
3 hours preparation per seminar = 15 hours
Assessment preparation = 47 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

There is an option to submit a 500 word essay plan or partial draft for formative feedback.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2000 word essay100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 27/07/2021 16:06:47


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