Postcolonial Theology (THE2026)

StaffDr Susannah Cornwall - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

In this module you will:

  • be introduced to postcolonialism and the part it has variously played in the Christian tradition, interpretation of the Bible, sex, gender and Christologies
  • explore how Christianity’s historical relationship with empire has shaped recent and contemporary understandings of non-western traditions and interpretative frameworks
  • examine in detail texts from, amongst others, Kwok Pui-lan, R.S. Sugirtharajah and Fernando F. Segovia.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. demonstrate knowledge of some of the major developments, questions and figures in postcolonial theology
  • 2. assess the strengths and weaknesses of postcolonial theology
  • 3. demonstrate awareness of the similarities and differences between postcolonial theology and other postmodern theologies

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. give fair accounts of the positions of others, based on detailed analysis of texts
  • 5. use existing knowledge to assess the cogency and coherence of the arguments of others
  • 6. develop and present a coherent argument with appropriate use of evidence and awareness of a range of alternative views

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. undertake a short piece of research on a specified topic with limited guidance
  • 8. evaluate, organise and present complex material
  • 9. demonstrate consistency and rigour in method and argument
  • 10. exercise substantial autonomy in the management of their own learning
  • 11. communicate clearly in written and oral forms
  • 12. participate appropriately in a learning group

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Introduction to postcolonialism
  • Empire and the Christian Tradition
  • Postcolonialism and the Bible
  • Postcolonial theology, sex and gender
  • Postcolonial Christologies

We will also examine in detail texts from, amongst others, Kwok Pui-lan, R.S. Sugirtharajah and Fernando F. Segovia.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities2211 x 2 hour lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching activities1111 x 1 hour seminars
Guided independent study267Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay plan1-2 A4 sides1-11Written feedback, general discussion in class

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay503000 words1-11Written feedback
Exam502 hours1-11Written feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay 3000 words1-11Referral/Deferral period
ExamExam 2 hours1-11Referral/Deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Brett, Mark (2008), Decolonizing God: The Bible in Tides of Empire, Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press
  • Keller, Catherine, Michael Nausner and Mayra Rivera (eds.) (2004), Postcolonial Theologies: Divinity and Empire, St. Louis, MO: Chalice Press
  • Kwok Pui-lan (2005), Postcolonial Imagination and Feminist Theology, Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press
  • Kwok Pui-lan, Don H. Compier and Joerg Rieger (eds.) (2007), Empire and the Christian Tradition: New Readings of Classical Theologians, Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press
  • Moore, Stephen D. (2006), Empire and Apocalypse: Postcolonialism and the New Testament, Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press
  • Rieger, Joerg (2007), Christ and Empire: From Paul to Postcolonial Times, Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press
  • Said, Edward (1978), Orientalism, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul
  • Segovia, Fernando F. and R.S. Sugirtharajah (eds.) (2009), A Postcolonial Commentary on the New Testament Writings, London: T&T Clark
  • Sugirtharajah, R.S. (ed.) (1998), The Postcolonial Bible, Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press
  • Sugirtharajah, R.S. (2002), Postcolonial Criticism and Biblical Interpretation, Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Sugirtharajah, R.S. (2003), Postcolonial Reconfigurations: An Alternative Way of Reading the Bible and Doing Theology, London: SCM Press
  • Sugirtharajah, R.S. (ed.) (2006), The Postcolonial Biblical Reader, Oxford: Blackwell

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

  • ELE –

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