Compulsory course: Religion, Culture and Society in Africa

Course content

Drawing on the traditions of both the humanities and social sciences, this course studies religion and culture in Africa in their social contexts. The course focuses on religious and cultural phenomena in modern Africa, the importance of African cultural heritage for contemporary Africans, the interaction between local and global religious trends as they manifest on the African continent, and connections between religious and cultural movements and social, political and economic dynamics in Africa.  


MA in African Studies

Learning outcome
  • Knowledge of significant aspects of the cultural, religious and social dimensions of contemporary Africa and of the social and political significance of African cultural heritage in particular in relation to large-scale trends such as migration and urbanization.
  • Knowledge of the interaction between local African and global religious and cultural actors and developments
  • Skills in identifying and discussing the contemporary significance, utilization and reshaping of African religious and cultural traditions
  • Skills in analysing African religious and cultural phenomena in their societal contexts
  • Skills in undertaking interdisciplinary analysis using literature and other relevant material on Africa’s religions and cultures
  • Competences to conduct independent, interdisciplinary and critical analysis of the local and global significance of religion and culture in Africa based on relevant theoretical approaches and empirical material

The course is organised in sessions of 2 hours twice per week over 7 weeks in the first half of the second semester. The course will be based on lectures combined with classroom discussions, requiring an active participation from the students.

Suggested literature:


Akwaeke Emezi, Freshwater, Faber & Faber, 2018.

Laura S. Grillo et al, Religions in Contemporary Africa: An Introduction, Routledge, 2019.

Ebenezer Obadare, Pentecostal Republic, London, Zed Books, 2018.

Devaka Premawadhana, Faith in Flux: Pentecostalism and mobility in rural Mozambique, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018.

Adriaan van Klinken, Kenyan, Christian, Queer: Religion, LGBT Activism and Arts of Resistance in Africa, The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2019.

The course is only open for CAS MA students and professional master students.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral exam prepared on the basis of a selected exam question. A number of exam questions are defined and provided by the course lecturer seven days before the oral exam. The oral exam is 25 minutes long including assessment.
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 1
  • Exam Preparation
  • 59
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Course Preparation
  • 122
  • English
  • 210