Exploring Africa's Religious and Global Identity

This course is designed to be an introduction to African Studies within a global context. As a result, it will cover the growth of African intellectual culture, which emerged in the 1980s, and both evolved and developed the continent.  In the course, you will explore how Africans have grappled with both their religious and cultural identity.
Course levelAdvanced Bachelor/Master, open to PhD staff and professionals
Session 2
18 July to 1 August 2020
Recommended session 1 course combination
Decolonizing Europe: History, Memory, Redress, Ethics: Moral Dilemmas (re-)considered in Light of Ethical Theorizing, The City Through a Philosopher's Eye
Co-ordinating lecturersK.Francis Adebayo
Other lecturerstba
Form(s) of tuitionLectures, excursions, discussions, group work
Form(s) of assessment• In-class participation: 30%
• PowerPoint presentation: 30%
• Term paper: 40%
ECTS3 credits
Contact hours45
Tuition fee€1150, read more about what's included.
This course will be of particular interest to Advanced Bachelor’s or Master’s students with a background in the humanities. An interest in discovering the connection between African Christianity and Globalisation is also important. Any student interested in Africans and their religious world-views, Christianity, and the rise of Pentecostalism outside of Africa will enjoy this course. It may also be appealing to pastors working in churches across the Netherlands, seeking to better understand the history of African migrant churches throughout the country. If you have doubts about your eligibility for the course, please let us know. Our courses are multi-disciplinary and therefore are open to students with a wide variety of backgrounds.
This course is designed to be an introduction to African Studies within a global context. As a result, it will cover the growth of African intellectual culture, which emerged in the 1980s, and both evolved and developed the continent.  In the course, you will explore how Africans have grappled with both their religious and cultural identity. It will consist of three core modules:
  1. African Indigenous Theology; this module will highlight the development of indigenous theology in Africa, which was formed as a response to God in African indigenous religion. The content will focus on the primal African world-view, as well as the philosophical and theological methods employed by the African indigenous people. Theological themes will revolve around the concepts of God, spirits, and African spiritual cosmology.
  2. African Christian Theology; the content of this module will deal with the rise of African indigenous churches and the contextualisation project. The main topic of study will be the religious practices of African Pentecostal prophets and founders.
  3. African Pentecostalism. This last unit will focus on the transnationalism of Africanism. Both through the ‘Africanisation’ of Pentecostalism, and the migration of Africans. It will also explore the effect of global flows and Pentecostalism’s appropriation of global commodities. 

This course aims to explore African religion, philosophy and culture, and how it has assimilated or resisted the rise of an increasingly globalised world. It will provide a different perspective of Africa, one which defies the negative stereotype that has defined the continent's past.

At the end of this course, students should be able to:
  • Demonstrate the ability to discuss information relating to the history of Christianity in Africa. Show an understanding of African world-views and be able to explain how these views clash with Christianity in Africa. 
  • Discuss current developments in African intellectual culture, especially as it relates to the ongoing discussion of African Christian theology and how it differs from the Western concept of theologising.
  • Identify and describe these developments from a theological perspective with regards to African churches in the Netherlands.
  • Compare and contrast such developments critically and constructively with their own religious experience.
  • Understand the relevance of African Christianity and culture on a global scale and how mission and migration have become a new church planting strategy.

Lesson objectives also include the typical features of migrants’ churches and why they are so revered, especially within the Netherlands.  The student should consider visiting an African Pentecostal church in the Netherlands and identify cultural and ethnic/tribal markers, whilst comparing them with features of typical churches of their  country.

Excursions will be taken within the Netherlands to allow the students the opportunity to familiarise themselves with African churches and see the cultural elements present in their liturgy and socialisation.

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