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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

THEO2780 Pentecostalism as a Public Religion in Africa

20 creditsClass Size: 60

Module manager: Dr Adriaan van Klinken

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Christianity is flourishing in Africa, and for a considerable part this is related to the success of Pentecostal movements on the continent. This module offers an introduction to Pentecostalism as a public religion in contemporary Africa, exploring different disciplinary perspectives, methodological questions and key issues such as gender, sexuality and politics.


Through this module students will become familiar with the historical backgrounds, theological characteristics and contemporary expressions of Pentecostalism in Africa, can identify and compare different disciplinary and methodological approaches to the study of Pentecostalism in Africa, and can reflect critically on Pentecostalism as a public religion in modern Africa in relation to various themes discussed in the module.

Learning outcomes
- Knowledge of the historical backgrounds and theological characteristics of Pentecostalism in general, and particularly in Africa.
- Knowledge of different disciplinary and methodological approaches to the study of Pentecostalism in Africa, mainly historical, anthropological, sociological and theological approaches.
- An understanding of contemporary expressions of Pentecostalism and its role as a public religion in African societies.
- A critical understanding of the key issues in African Pentecostalism, such as issues of gender, sexuality, politics, globalisation, and interreligious relations.

Skills outcomes
Students develop analytical, methodological and critical approaches essential to the study of religion in particular and other social science and humanities subject areas more broadly, such as the skill of critical reading of texts.


1) Introduction to Pentecostalism, its theological, social, and cultural origins and characteristics.
2) Disciplinary and methodological approaches to Pentecostalism
3) From African Independent to Pentecostal-Charismatic Churches: A History of Pentecostalism in Africa
4) Neo-Pentecostalism and the 'prosperity Gospel'
5) The relation between Pentecostal Christianity and African traditional religion, with a focus on healing, witchcraft and spiritual warfare.
6) The Pentecostal social and political agenda in the postcolonial African state
7) Gender in African Pentecostalism
8) Sexuality in African Pentecostalism
9) Pentecostalism and Islam in Africa
10) African Pentecostalism and the use of new media
11) Pentecostalism, modernity and globalisation in Africa

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours178.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

4 hours a week preparing for each text class (reading set texts and writing notes in response to set study questions): 4 x 10 = 40
Formative assessment: 20
Essay preparation and writing: 119

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

The students' progress is monitored mainly through their participation in and contribution to the seminar groups. Students will have the opportunity for submit coursework of 1000 words for formative assessment. They can also meet with the tutor during office hours.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3000 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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