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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Religion and Development (PGSP11347)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
Summary After years of the exclusion of religion from the development discourse and analyses, the past two decades have seen religion rehabilitated as an important concept and variable in the understanding and implementation of social change and progress. The debate on the issue is really vibrant and academics, researchers, policy makers and practitioners started to reflect on this topic and a new sub-field within Development Studies has emerged, Religion and Development (RaD).

This course aims to reflect on this new sub-field in order to investigate implications of working with religion in development theory and in development in practice. Why has religion been excluded by mainstream development and now rehabilitated? What special contributions does working with Faith-based Organisations bring? How different are FBOs from secular NGOs? How can religious beliefs hinder development work and when are they fundamental for the successful implementation of development projects? All these are questions that the course will try to address.
Course description The course is designed to develop critical thinking towards the role of religion in Development (with capital D) and in applied development interventions. In particular the course will help students to build their capacity to identify issues and problems relating to the study of religious ideas and religious actors in development and strengthens the ability to contribute to the resolution of issues and problems related to working with faith-based organisations.

This course is mainly targeted at postgraduate students with knowledge or interests in international development issues, modernisation theories, secularisation and public religion in developing countries. It is suitable for everyone with an interest to work in international development and religion globally, regardless of orientation.

Week one: Religion and Development: history of a new field
This week will offer a general overview of modernisation theory and secularisation in order to offer a theoretical framework for understanding the exclusion of religion from mainstream development for decades

Week two: Working with different religious traditions: Islam, Christianity and Hinduism
This week will offer an understanding of the ways in which religious traditions might approach wealth, poverty and economic growth

Week three: Faith-based Organisations (FBOs)
This week will investigate religious actors involved in development and it will offer an understanding of the complex classification of these actors

Week four: FBOs and NGOs in a comparative perspective
This week will provide a comparative analysis between organisations inspired by faith and secular organisations involved in development, trying to highlight differences and similarities in their performance.

Week five: Religion, Gender and Development
This week will provide a reflection on the relation between religion and gender, which has been particularly sensitive with religions frequently supporting values and practices that discriminate between men and women.

Week six: Innovative Learning Week (no lecture/seminar)

Week seven: Religion and Health
This week will focus on understanding how religious beliefs can hinder or support health development projects. In particular we will focus on the analysis of a few specific case studies.

Week eight: Religion and Human Rights
This week will specifically consider the role that religions can contribute towards the incorporation of human rights in development.

Week nine: Religion and Peace-Building
This week will provide a reflection on the role that religious organisations can play in divided societies and in peace-building processes. In particular the focus will be on specific case studies.

Week ten: Religion and Environment
This week will assess the way religious traditions are considered to provide frameworks for environmental ethics and to support the view that nature should be treated with respect.

Week eleven: Working in FBOs: a testimony
This week we will host a few practitioners working in FBOs. This will allow students to engage and consider practical issues while working with FBOs.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Have a critical understanding of the theories, concepts and principles in the nascent field of Religion and Development
  2. Have an understanding of the history and influential debates surrounding the field
  3. Develop familiarity with the terminology and classification of faith-inspired development interventions
  4. Develop investigative and analytical skills in order to understand the complexity of working with comparative religions in different parts of world
  5. Be able to apply knowledge to critically assess the work of faith-based organisations
Reading List
Bompani B. and Frahm-Arp M. (2010), Development and Politics from Below, Exploring Religious Spaces in the African State, Palgrave-MacMillan, London (2010)

Clarke G. & Jennings M. (2008) Development, Civil Society and Faith-Based Organisations. Bridging the Sacred and the Secular

Bornstein E. (2003) The spirit of development: Protestant NGOs, morality, and economics in Zimbabwe

Marshall K. & Van Saanen M. (2007), Development and Faith. Where Mind, Heart, and Soul Work Together

Deneulin S. and Bano M. (2009) Religion in Development: Rewriting the Secular Spirit, Zed Books.

Tyndale W.R. (2006), Visions of Development. Faith-Based Initiatives

Ter Haar G. (2011) Religion and Development: Ways of Transforming the World

Lunn J. (2009) ¿The Role of Religion, Spirituality and Faith Development¿ in Third World Quarterly, vol. 30 n. 5, pp. 937-951 [online]

Yahya, M. (2007) ¿Polio Vaccines ¿ ¿No Thank You¿ Barriers to Polio Eradication in Northern Nigeria¿ in African Affairs, vol 106, n. 423, pp. 185-204 [online]

Benedetti C. (2006) ¿Islamic and Christian Inspired Relief NGOs: Between Tactical Collaboration and Strategic Diffidence?¿ in Journal of International Development, vol. 18, pp. 849-859

Benthall J. (2006) ¿Islamic Aid in a north Malian enclave¿ in Anthropology Today, vol. 22, n. 4

Berger, J. (2003), ¿Religious Non-governmental Organisations: An exploratory Analysis¿ in Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organisations, vol. 14, n.1, pp. 15-39

Clarke G. (2006) ¿Faith Matters: Faith-based Organisations, Civil Society and International Development¿ in Journal of International Development, vol.18, pp. 835-848

Hearn J. (2002), ¿The ¿invisible NGO: US Evangelical Missions in Kenya¿ in Journal of Religion in Africa, vol. 32 n.1

Tyndale W. (2000) ¿Faith and Economics in ¿development¿: a bridge across the chasm?¿ in Development in Practice, vol. 10, n. 1, pp. 9-18

Ter Haar G. & Ellis S. (2006) ¿The Role of Religion in Development: Towards a New Relationship between the European Union and Africa¿ in The European Journal of Development Research, vol. 18 n.3, pp. 351-367

Wuthnow R. & Lewis V. (2008), ¿Religion and Altruistic US Foreign Policy Goals: Evidence from a National Survey of Church Members¿ in Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, vol. 47, n. 2, pp. 191-209
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Barbara Bompani
Tel: (0131 6)51 3891
Course secretaryMiss Becky Guthrie
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