SOAS University of London

Department of Religions & Philosophies, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity in Africa: Past and Present

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2017/2018
Year of study:
Year 2 or Year 3
Taught in:
Term 1

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate…

• An understanding of the history of global Pentecostalism, and in particular, its history in the African continent
• An understanding of the present expression of Pentecostalism in Africa, with an in-depth knowledge of TWO geographical regions
• Identify and compare different disciplinary and methodological approaches to the study of Pentecostalism in Africa
• Assess critically the materials and themes discussed in the course


One two-hour lecture each week for 10 weeks (plus one revision week).

Scope and syllabus

This course will cover

• The origins of Pentecostalism as a Protestant Revival moment in North America and Europe in the Early 20th century
• Its theological, social, and cultural origins and characteristics
• Its global transmission in the early 20th century through missionary and print proselytisation
• The advent of Pentecostalism to Africa in the early 20th century and its development until the present
• The relation between Pentecostal Christianity and African religions, with special focus on healing, prosperity and spiritual warfare
• Postcolonial African state and the social agenda of African Pentecostalism
• Pentecostalism as a form of globalization in Africa
• African Pentecostals’ use of a range of new media, including internet, TV, video, cinema and mobile phone technology
• The African Pentecostal diaspora, with particular attention paid to African and Afro-Caribbean Pentecostal churches in the UK

Method of assessment

One 3 000 words essay (30%); one weekly journal (30%); one 2-hour exam (40%).

Suggested reading

• Allan Anderson, ‘An Introduction to Pentecostalism’ (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2004)
• Allan Anderson, ‘Spreading Fires’ (London, SCM Press, 2007)
• Paul Gifford, ‘Ghana’s New Christianity: Pentecostalism in a Globalization African Economy’ (Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2004)
• Walter Hollenweger, ‘Pentecostalism: Origins and Developments Worldwide’ (Peabody, Mass: Hendrickson, 1997)
• Ogbu Kalu, ‘African Pentecostalism: An Introduction’ (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2008)
• Ruth Marshall, ‘Political Spiritualities: The Pentecostal Revolution in Nigeria’ (Chicago, Chicago University Press, 2009)
• David Martin, ‘Pentecostalism: The World, Their Parish’ (Oxford, Blackwell, 2002)
• David Maxwell, ‘African Gifts of the Spirit: Pentecostalism and the Rise of a Zimbabwean Transnational Movement’ (Athens, Ohio university Press, 2006)
• Birgit Meyer, ‘Translating the Devil: Religion and Modernity Among the Ewe in Ghana’ (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1999)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules