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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Divinity : Divinity

Postgraduate Course: Christianity and Colonialism in Africa, 1800 to the present (PG) (DIVI11039)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Divinity CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course explores some of the major themes in the history of Christianity in Africa since the early nineteenth century. Attention is paid to the roles played by African missionaries and indigenous leaders as well as those of European missionaries. Major emphasis is placed on the study and detailed interpretation of key primary sources.
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:
This course gives Level 11 students an opportunity to supplement attendance at the lectures for the Level 10 course Evangelism and Empire: (ECHS10016) with a separate Level 11 seminar devoted to the analysis and interpretation of key primary sources. Students will select a small archive collection for which to complete a primary sources methodological assessment, with guidance from the New College Archivist. Students are encouraged to select an essay topic related to their presentation, though this is not essential.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking ( Christianity and Colonialism in Africa, 1800 to the present (DIVI10018) OR Evangelism and Empire: Christianity in Africa, 1800 to the present (ECHS10016)) OR History of Christianity in Africa (WRCH11003)
Other requirements Students who have previously taken the following course MUST NOT enroll: History of Christianity in Africa (WRCH11003)
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesThis is a graduate-level course. Please confirm subject pre-requisites with the Course Organiser.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Possess a confident command of the chronology of modern African Christian history.
  2. Assess and interpret with critical sympathy the respective contributions of African and European agents to the growth of Christianity in Africa.
  3. Understand and critically analyze encounters between European missionaries and Africans from the perspective of both parties.
  4. Recognize and interpret the changing variety of forms of modern African Christianity.
  5. Analyze critically the complex relationships between European missions, African churches, and the processes of nationalism and decolonization.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Emma Wild-Wood
Tel: (0131 6)50 8977
Course secretaryMr Andre Johnson Hall E Vasconcelos
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