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Study information

Postcolonial Theology

Module titlePostcolonial Theology
Module codeTHE2026
Academic year2022/3
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 postcolonial theory including key concepts such as Orientalism, hybridity, hegemony, subalternity, and decolonization.
  • Learn about the part colonialism and decolonialism have 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 a range of postcolonial and decolonial theologians and biblical interpreters including those living in diaspora.

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. Assess the cogency and coherence of the arguments of others
  • 5. 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...

  • 6. Evaluate, organise and present complex material
  • 7. Demonstrate consistency and rigour in method and argument
  • 8. Exercise substantial autonomy in the management of your own learning
  • 9. Communicate clearly in written and oral forms

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 postcolonial theory
  • Empire and the Christian Tradition
  • Postcolonialism and the Bible
  • Postcolonial theology, sex and gender
  • Postcolonial Christologies
  • Mission and decolonization

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 2211 x 2 hour lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching 1111 x 1 hour seminars
Guided Independent Study267Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
In-class assessments e.g. 3-2-1 Countdown Up to 1500 words total1-9Oral
ELE quizzes2 x 10 questions1-3In-quiz feedback
Seminar leadershipIntroduction to 1-hour seminar for small group1-9Oral and written

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
Essay453500 words1-9Written feedback
Examination452 hours1-9Written feedback
Participation/engagement10Continuous engagement with threshold tasks1-5, 9Oral

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay 3500 words1-9Referral/Deferral period
ExaminationExamination 2 hours1-9Referral/Deferral period
Participation/engagementEvidence of engagement with threshold tasks1-5, 9Referral/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

Basic reading:

  • Beckford, Robert (2014), Documentary as Exorcism: Resisting the Bewitchment of Colonial Christianity, London: Bloomsbury
  • Brett, Mark (2008), Decolonizing God: The Bible in Tides of Empire, Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press
  • Cuellar, Gregory L. (2019), Empire, the British Museum, and the Making of the Biblical Scholar in the Nineteenth Century, Cham: Springer
  • Chung, Paul S. (2016), Postcolonial Public Theology: Faith, Scientific Rationality, and Prophetic Dialogue, Eugene, OR: Cascade
  • Daggers, Jenny (2013), Postcolonial Theology of Religions: Particularity and Pluralism in World Christianity, New York, NY: Routledge
  • Darden, Lynne St Clair (2015), Scripturalizing Revelation: An African American Postcolonial Reading of Empire, Atlanta, GA: SBL Press
  • De Jong-Kumru, Wietske (2013), Postcolonial Feminist Theology, Zurich: LIT Verlag
  • Drexler-Dreis, Joseph (2019), Decolonial Love: Salvation in Colonial Modernity, New York, NY: Fordham University Press
  • Gossai, Hemchand and Alice Laffey (eds.) (2019), Postcolonial Commentary and the Old Testament, London: T&T Clark
  • Havea, Jione, Margaret Aymer and Steed Vernyl Davidson (eds.) (2015), Islands, Islanders and the Bible: Ruminations, Atlanta, GA: SBL 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
  • Kwok Pui-lan and Stephen Burns (eds.) (2016), Postcolonial Practice of Ministry: Leadership, Liturgy, and Interfaith Engagement, Lanham, MD: Lexington Books
  • Liew, Tat-siong Benny and Fernando F. Segovia (2018), Colonialism and the Bible: Contemporary Reflections from the Global South, Lanham, MD: Lexington Books
  • Moore, Stephen D. (2006), Empire and Apocalypse: Postcolonialism and the New Testament, Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press
  • Perdue, Leo G. and Warren Carter (2015), Israel and Empire: A Postcolonial History of Israel and Early Judaism, Bloomsbury: T&T Clark
  • Reddie, Anthony G. (2019), Theologising Brexit: A Liberationist and Postcolonial Critique, Abingdon: Routledge
  • 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
  • Smith, Kay Higuera, Jayachitra Lalitha and L. Daniel Hawk (eds.) (2014), Evangelical Postcolonial Conversations: Global Awakenings in Theology and Praxis, Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic
  • Stiebert, Johanna and Musa W. Dube (eds.) (2018), The Bible, Centres and Margins: Dialogues Between Postcolonial African and British Biblical Scholars, London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark
  • Sugirtharajah, R.S. (2002), Postcolonial Criticism and Biblical Interpretation, Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Sugirtharajah, R.S. (2013), The Bible and Asia: From the Pre-Christian Era to the Postcolonial Age, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press
  • Sugirtharajah, R.S. (2016), Voices from the Margin: Interpreting the Bible in the Third World (25th anniversary edition), Maryknoll, NY: Orbis
  • Sugirtharajah, R.S. (ed.) (2018), The Oxford Handbook of Postcolonial Biblical Criticism, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Colonialism; decolonialism; feminist theology; liberation theology

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date