Religion and Development

Course content

This course will look into the relationship between religion and development and analyse the question of what role religion plays in development at the practical, ideological and religious levels. The course offers a critical reading of the current ways in which religion has been linked to development by way of broadening the focus to include also belief, religions ideas and experiences. We will discuss how religion has been approached in development historically, as well as the more recent trends of how religion plays a role in development, both as an enabling factor, but also as a factor that plays a role in conflicts and radicalisation. The course will discuss the more 'focused' literature on the role of religion in development, but will also widen the perspective to look at religion in contexts of conflict, displacement, as well as in relation to new forms of mutual help, gift-giving practices, reciprocity etc. In this way, the course seeks to go beyond normative and instrumental perspectives on religion. The course will also pay some attention to how religious ideas and experiences shape social practices, social relationships and how people perceive development and their engagement with development organisations. The main focus is on Christianity and Islam, but other religious traditions will also be discussed in particular as part of understanding how the encounters between different religious ideas and practices interact with ideas and practices of development. The empirical focus of the course is on Africa, but we will also draw on examples from a range of other contexts.

 

Course dates and preliminary program:

8 February 9-12 & 13-15:      Introduction and trends within the literature and the practical field

22 February 9-12 & 13-15:    Religion, international organisations and civil society

1 March 9-12 & 13-15:          Faith-based organisations, service delivery and mobilisation

15 March 9-12 & 13-15:        Case study with representative from organisation

22 March 9-12 & 13-15:        Humanitarianism and religion

29 March 9-12 & 13-15:        Charity, gifts and relations of exchange & Development and missionaries

5 April 9-12 & 13-15:             Islam, aid and development & Religion and human rights

19 April 9-12 & 13-15:           Religion, conflict and displacement

Thursday 27 April 9-16          STUDY DAY: Full day seminar with guest speakers

3 May 9-12 & 13-15:             Religion, politics and power

10 May 9-13:                        Supervision

 

Learning outcomes:

  • Identify how the role of religion in development has been discussed and approached both in policy and in academic literature

  • Understand the underlying epistemological differences for how we can understand the relationship between religion and development

  • Independently and critically analyse how religion and processes of development are interacting, overlapping, conflicting, and mutually constituting each other.

 

Teaching and learning methods:

The course is organised as a compact course with longer sessions of 4-6 hours over the semester’s 14 weeks. The teaching approach of the course consist of a combination of seminar series combined with class discussions and other activities. The course also contains a  ‘study day’ or seminar organised in collaboration with the Danish Mission Council with invited guests speakers, which is also open for parcipants from organisations working with religion and development and other students.

 

Exam: Written exam

 

Suggested preliminary literature:

Emma Tomalin (ed.). 2015. The Routledge Handbook of Religions and Global Development. London and New York: Routledge. 

Matthew Clarke (ed.). 2013. Handbook of Research on Religion and Development. Edward Elgar.

The course is organised as a compact course with longer sessions of 4-6 hours over the semester’s 14 weeks. The teaching approach of the course consist of a combination of seminar series combined with class discussions and other activities. The course also contains a ‘study day’ or seminar organised in collaboration with the Danish Mission Council with invited guests speakers, which is also open for parcipants from organisations working with religion and development and other students.

ECTS
15 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Marking scale
passed/not passed

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 56
  • English
  • 56