Postcolonial Theology (THE2026)

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

Module aims

This module will provide an introduction to postcolonialism and the part it has variously played in the Christian tradition, interpretation of the Bible, sex, gender and Christologies.  It will explore how Christianity’s historical relationship with empire has shaped recent and contemporary understandings of non-western traditions and interpretative frameworks.  We will also 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

The course will be arranged around the following central 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 activity2211 x 2 hour lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching activity1111 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
Essay503,000 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
Essay Essay1-11Refer/defer period
ExamExam1-11Refer/defer period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

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

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