TAFARCS75U Compulsory course: Religion, Culture and Society in Africa

Volume 2021/2022

MA in African Studies


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.  

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

Suggested literature:


Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart, Heinemann, 1958.

Hannah Hoechner, Quranic Schools in Northern Nigeria: Everyday Experiences of Youth, Faith, and Poverty, Cambridge University Press, 2018.

Marloes Janson, Crossing Religious Boundaries: Islam, Christianity and ‘Yoruba Religion’ in Lagos, Nigeria, Cambridge University Press, 2021.

Kwasi Konadu, Our Own Way in This Part of the World: Biography of an African Community, Culture, and Nation, Duke University Press, 2019.

Ochiagha, Terri, A Short History of Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, Ohio University Press, 2018.

The course is only open for CAS MA students and professional master students.
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.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 122
  • Exam Preparation
  • 59
  • Exam
  • 1
  • Total
  • 210
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
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
Exam period

Summer Exam