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Study information

Postcolonial Theology

Module titlePostcolonial Theology
Module codeTHE2026
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Professor Susannah Cornwall (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

In this option module you will explore postcolonial theologies and be introduced to their areas of tension and accord with feminist and liberation theologies. You will also investigate Christianity’s historical relationship with empire which has shaped recent and contemporary understandings of non-western traditions and interpretative frameworks. 

Module aims - intentions of the module

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.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 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

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 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

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 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 teaching2211 x 2 hour lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching1111 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
Examination502 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
ExaminationExamination 2 hours1-11Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

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

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date