Undergraduate Course: Evangelism and Empire: Christianity in Africa, 1800 to the present (ECHS10016)
|School||School of Divinity
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||This course introduces some of the most important themes in the Christian history of Africa from the early nineteenth century to the present day. It pays attention to the interaction of European and indigenous traditions through a series of case studies of conversion and religious innovation. It raises issues which remain of crucial relevance today, such as the connections between religious change and structures of political and economic power, or the two-way relationship between religious and ethnic identity.
The course explores how far the growth of Christianity in modern Africa is explicable in terms of the colonial impact. Until the 1960s most scholars had no doubt that it was: the role of mission education in attracting Africans to the white man's religion was undeniable. Since decolonisation, however, the rate of expansion of Christianity has accelerated, putting in question monolithic explanations of the relationship between colonialism and African conversion. This course aims to get beyond the rhetoric, whether colonial or postcolonial, and, on the basis of intensive examination of primary texts, encourages students to form their own judgments about the parts played by African Christians and European missionaries in the story of African Christianity since 1800.
The course begins with the largely negative view of Africa taken at the World Missionary Conference in 1910. It then explores the ways in which both missionaries and leading African Christians in the 19th century approached the complex relationship between 'Christianity, commerce, and civilization'. Particular attention is given to Christian competition with Islam, the impact of colonial rivalries on Christianity in Uganda, the emergence of prophet movements and independent churches, the Christian contribution to nationalism and decolonisation, the problematic role played by the churches in Rwanda, and explanations of the growth of Pentecostalism.
Student Learning Experience Information:
The course is taught within a three-hour weekly slot. A lecture of some 70-75 minutes is followed by a tea break, after which the class gathers for a student-led presentation (usually made in pairs) based on commentary on primary sources, leading into group discussion of set questions. Guidance is offered in advance on how to approach each presentation. Prompt feedback is given on the presentations, which contribute 5% to a student's summative assessment. The level and quality of a student's engagement with the weekly seminar discussions contributes a further 5%.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||Visiting students should have at least 3 Divinity/Religious Studies courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Not being delivered|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Demonstrate a broad knowledge and understanding of some key trends in the growth of Christianity as an African religion since the early nineteenth century.
- Interpret with discernment selected primary sources on the history of African Christianity since 1800.
- Critique secondary literature on the history of African Christianity since 1800 using detailed examples and primary sources.
- Prepare and present a coherent class presentation based on primary sources.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||- Independence of mind and initiative
- Ability to gather, evaluate and synthesise different types of information
- Analytical ability and the capacity to formulate questions and solve problems
- Writing skills, including clear expression and citing relevant evidence
|Course organiser||Dr Emma Wild-Wood
Tel: (0131 6)50 8977
|Course secretary||Mr Rory Meehan