TAFARCS15U Compulsory course (2. semester): Religion, Culture and Society in Africa

Volume 2017/2018

MA in African Studies


The main purpose of the course is to study religion and culture in Africa in their social context. The course focuses on four general themes which will be addressed through a number of specific cases:

  • Religious and cultural development in  modern Africa


  • The importance of African cultural heritage for contemporary Africans


  • The interaction between local and global religious trends as they manifest themselves on the African continent


  • Connections between religious and cultural movements and the social, political and economic development of Africa.


Methodology Lab: Several sessions from both Politics, Development and Change in Africa andReligion, Culture and Society in Africa will be dedicated to an intensive Methodology Lab. This is aimed at providing students with an introduction to research methods in general, as well as with special insight into methodological problems which are specific to African Studies. Invited guest scholars will present their work and draw on their own experience to highlight the advantages and challenges of various research methods in practice.

Learning Outcome

The aim is for the student to acquire the following qualifications:

  • Overview and understanding of significant aspects of the religious and cultural dimensions of contemporary Africa


  • Knowledge and insight into the significance of African cultural heritage for understanding contemporary social and political conditions with special focus on the changes which African societies are undergoing in connection with urbanization and migration


  • Insight into the interaction between local African and global religious and cultural developments.


Daniel Jordan Smith, A Culture of Corruption. Everyday Deception and Popular Discontent in Nigeria, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2007.

Paul Richards, Ebola. How a People’s Science Helped End an Epidemic, London, Zed Books, 2016.

Isak Niehaus, Witchcraft and a Life in the New South Africa, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013.

Adeline Masquelier, Women and Islamic Revival in a West African Town, Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 2009.

Karen Lauterbach, Christianity, Wealth and Power in Ghana, London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

Ben Jones, Beyond the State in Rural Uganda, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2009.

Johannes Fabian, Talk about Prayer. An Ethnographic Commentary, London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.


Supplementary papers will be made available during the semester

The course is only open for CAS MA students and professional master students.
The course will be based on lectures combined with classroom discussions, requiring an active participation from the students.
Please see the Study Curricula revised 2015 at www.teol.ku.dk/​​cas/​​studentinformation/​​study_curricula
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 56
  • Total
  • 56
Type of assessment
Written examination, 7 days
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Exam period

Summer Exam

Criteria for exam assesment

The grade of 12 is given at the exam when the student demonstrates:

  • Good overview of the diversity of Africa’s religious and cultural traditions.
  • Well-developed ability to analyse African religious and cultural phenomena in their societal contexts.
  • Clear understanding of the contemporary significance, utilisation and reshaping of African religious and cultural traditions.
  • Clear understanding of the interaction between local African and global religious and cultural developments.
  • Confident ability to conduct a methodological and theoretical analysis of literature and other material on Africa’s religions and cultures.