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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Divinity : Divinity

Undergraduate Course: Christianity and Colonialism in Africa, 1800 to the present (DIVI10018)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Divinity CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis 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.
Course description Academic Description:
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.

Syllabus/Outline Content:
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 comprises 2 hours of contact time, a lecture and a seminar. Students will make short, assessed presentations during parts of each seminar hour.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Evangelism and Empire: Christianity in Africa, 1800 to the present (ECHS10016)
Other requirements Students who have previously taken the following course MUST NOT enroll: Evangelism and Empire: Christianity in Africa, 1800 to the present (ECHS10016)
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting 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? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  13
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 11, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Revision Session Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 159 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 60 %, Coursework 30 %, Practical Exam 10 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 10% - Seminar presentation

30% - Essay (2000 words)

60% - Exam (in person exam)
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a broad knowledge and understanding of some key trends in the growth of Christianity in Africa since the early nineteenth century.
  2. Understand the changing dynamics of political and ecclesial power in African during the period.
  3. Recognize the changing variety of forms of modern African Christianity.
  4. Describe the complex relationships between European missions, African churches, Islam, Indigenous religions, and the processes of nationalism and decolonisation.
  5. Interpret with discernment selected primary sources on the history of African Christianity since 1800.
Reading List
Additional Information
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 organiserDr Emma Wild-Wood
Tel: (0131 6)50 8977
Course secretaryMr Andre Johnson Hall E Vasconcelos
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