HISTORY 407 - Advanced Study in Comparative and Transnational History
Section: 002 Christianity and Politics in African History
Term: WN 2018
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
Waitlist Capacity:
May be elected three times for credit. May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

The tremendous growth of Christianity in Africa was one of the defining events of the 20th century. In 1910 a scant fraction — about nine million people — of the continent’s population were Christians. Today there are 516 million Christians in Africa, over 60 percent of the continent’s population. Nigeria alone has twice as many Protestants as Germany. Churches founded by Africans are now spreading to Europe, Asia and America; today, the largest church in Europe is led by a Nigerian pastor.

This course will explore how all of this came to be. The course is organized chronologically, beginning with the medieval Christian kingdom of Ethiopia and moving forward in time. We will explore the dynamics of the evangelical missionary movement of the 19th century, the role of Christianity in African nationalism, and the reasons for the explosive growth of Pentecostal churches in late 20th century Africa. The focus throughout will be on African theological and political initiative. We will spend a lot of time interpreting and discussing ‘primary’ sources, especially treatises, sermon notes, newspapers and tracts composed by African Christian thinkers. The course will culminate in the writing of a research paper, which students will compose over the course of the semester in conversation with the professor.

Course Requirements:

  1. lead discussion once a semester;
  2. a 5-6 paper engaging with the readings on the week the student leads discussion;
  3. a research paper (20-25 pages) concerning an aspect of the history of Christianity in Africa.

Intended Audience:

This course is meant as a capstone seminar for students in History and International Studies, but any student interested in the subject is welcome to join. Prior coursework in African history is helpful but not necessary.

Class Format:

A combination of lecture and seminar-style discussion, founded on a close reading of the assigned texts each week.

HISTORY 407 - Advanced Study in Comparative and Transnational History
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
002 (SEM)
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
003 (SEM)
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
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