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Course Learning

Upon successful
completion of this
course, students will be
able to:
1. Show proficiency in a
variety of approaches
to the study of African
religions and cultures,
understand their
strengths and
weaknesses, and
critique their
application to various
2. Recognize and analyze
the various values that
structure different
communication styles
across cultures.
3. Analyze the meaning of
theological ideas and
religious institutions in
light of one or more
disciplines that inform,
explicate or challenge
these ideas and be able
to compare different
perspectives on
religious, ecclesial and
spiritual traditions.
4. Value the existential
importance of ultimate
questions. Understand
the search for God as a
culturally and
historically embedded
5. Recognize and explain
the roles ones needs,
values, beliefs, and
attitudes play in their
own personal
Ascertain what lessons
can be learned from
Africa by the rest of the
worldwide Christian

Core Learning
Students completing a
RELI 200 level course
will be able to

African Catholicism
Spring 2016 M, W, and F
Instructor: Dr. Wanakuta Baraza
Phone: X6787 Email:
Office: 104 Robinson. Hours: MWF 11 AM 12 Noon or
by Appointment
Section 01 (1:10 PM-2:00 PM) MWF ROOM:
Section 02 (2:10 PM-3:00 PM) MWF ROOM:
Section 04 (3:10 PM-4:00 PM) MWF ROOM:
Course Description
Africa is a diverse and large continent with different
regions, mottled histories and cultures. The African
Catholicism course will provide an introduction to the
history and ethnography of pre-colonial, colonial, and
postcolonial African societies. The course will then
highlight the varied nature of the Catholic tradition as it
takes shape within particular cultural and historical
contexts. Ubuntu, an African philosophy which holds
that a person is a person because of other persons will be
highlighted. The course will then conclude by reflecting
upon whether Catholicism can be understood crossculturally as a tradition of religious practice and inquiry
by various cultures.
Note: Some knowledge of African geography will be
required. Africa is a new place of study for most
students. To get the most out of the course lectures,
students are advised to study the map of Africa, its
physical features (major mountain ranges, lakes and
rivers, modern countries and cities. The locations can be
found in most general Atlases. The National Geographic
Society maps on Africa and Google Maps may also be

Course Format and Requirements:

To meet the objectives of this course, the following
requirements are essential: Attendance at class sessions
is paramount.
(a) Quizzes will be given and missed quizzes
cannot be made up. Quizzes will be on the reading assignment for that day
and may contain questions from the previous days class.

(b) The lowest quiz mark will be dropped in order to cover any sickness or
(c) Objective-test mid-term and cumulative final exams will be given.
Introductions: All students are required to meet with me at least once during the
semester, either during scheduled office hours or by making a separate appointment.
In addition to meeting with me in my office, I would also encourage students to contact
me through e-mail if they have any specific questions about the materials as the course
Instructional Resources (reading assignments should
be read by the day on which they are listed in the
calendar). Foley Library will have copies available
for reading. Please contact the circulation desk for my
Course Textbooks:
Michael, Battle. Ubuntu: I in You and You in Me. Publisher: Seabury Books, Inc., 2009*
Baraza, Patrick W. Rival Claims for the Soul of Africa. Austin, TX: TurnKey Press, 2007.
Baraza, Patrick W. Drumming Up Dialogue. Bloomington: iUniverse Press, IN: 2011
Robert J. Schreiter. Constructing Local Theologies. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books,
Supplemental Texts:
John S. Mbiti. African Traditional Religions and Philosophy. Nairobi: Heinemann Press,
Elochukwu E. Uzukwu. A Listening Church: Autonomy and Communion in African
Churches. Maryknoll, New York, Orbis Books, 1996.
Gerrie Ter Haar. How God Became African: African Spirituality and Western Secular
Thought. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009.
Exam and Quizzes as Percentage of Grade:
Mid-term exam
Final exam
Course Schedule:
WEEK ONE ( Jan 13, 15)
Course, Class introduction
1. Distinctiveness of African Catholicism lies in the concept Ubuntu
What is Ubuntu?
Africas world view
Map of Africa
Human Origin: John Reader. Africa: a biography of the continent, Vintage Books,
(1999), Pp. 3-6.
People of Omo Valley (Mursi & Surma)
WEEK TWO (Jan 20, 22)
2. The Church is Universal and Local
Jesus universality is revealed in particularity (The scandal of the particularity) Karl

Models for doing theology: Inculturation & Contextualization: Schreiter, Pp. 1-16.
Foundational Theology
What is Culture?
Can Culture be located?
Meaning of culture
Cultural Sensitivity
Culture and Contextualization
Inculturation & Contextualization
What is Theology?
Sources of Christian Theology.

WEEK THREE (Jan 25. 27, 29)

3. Introduction to Primal Religions: Africa, Australia, and Native Americans.
Religious Expression in Australia post 1945
Common Ground: Myths: Sacred speech. Acts: Ritual Context.
Basic Concepts of Primal people
African Cultural Values:
WEEK FOUR (Feb 1, 3, 5)
4. What is A.T.Rs? ATRs?
What are African Traditional Religions?
WEEK FIVE (Feb 8, 10, 12)
5. The Concept of Time from the African/American perspectives. African Ontology:
Kalumba, Mbiti, and a Traditional African Concept of Time:
Potential time and Actual time
Sasa and Zamani
Time Reckoning and Chronology
The Concept of Past
Present and Future
The Concept of history and Pre-history
The Concept of human life in relation to time
Death and immortality
Space and time
Movie: The gods must be crazy.
WEEK SIX (Feb 15, 17, 19)
6. Mythology:
What is Myth according to Paul Ricoeur?
What are the functions of Myth? Joseph Campbell.
Creation and Original Sate of Man
Carl Jung: Archetypes are inborn tendencies that shape the human behavior.
Baraza, Patrick. Rival Claims for the Soul of Africa. Pp. 1-8. Baraza, Drumming Up
Dialogue, Pp. 117-119.
WEEK SEVEN (Feb 22, 24, 26)
7. Rites of Passage in the African context:

Baraza, Patrick. Drumming Up Dialogue. Pp 36-49,

Bukusu Circumcision Ritual, Video
WEEK EIGHT (Mar 2, 4)
8. The Africans: A Triple Heritage: ATRs, Christianity and Islam
What is Islam?
Jahiliyya period
Succession battles,
Religious guidance,
Tenets of Islam,
Islamization and Arabization of Africa. Class notes and movie. Pp. 236-248. Show
movie. Cfr. Baraza, Rival Claims for the Soul of Africa. Pp. 27-34. Patrick Baraza,
Drumming Up Dialogue. Baraza, Pp. 59-87.
Mid-semester Exam (Mar 4) Spring Break March 7 to 11
WEEK NINE (Mar 14, 16, 18)
9. African Christianity: Phase I: Catholicism in North Africa:
Berbers, Phoenicians, Romans, and Arabs.
The Decline in the North African Church with reference to the state of the Church from
100 AD to 640 AD
Saint Augustine of Hippo
Origins of Heresy in the Church
Oriental Orthodox Church
Phase II: 15th & 16th century (Pre-colonial Christianity):
Exploration of North/West and East Africa by the Portuguese
Catholicism in the Kongo
Christianity in East Africa cfr. Drumming Up Dialogue. Baraza, Pp. 88-98
WEEK TEN (Mar 21, 23, 25)
10. Phase III: Colonial Christianity (19th century)
Scramble for Africa:
Colonial Period and Foreign Missionaries.
Baraza, Patrick. Rival Claims for the Soul of Africa. Pp. 11-17.
Colonialism and work Ethic
11. Phase IV: Post-Colonial Christianity: 1960-Present
Vatican II Council
Post colonialism (1)
Post-colonialism (2)
WEEK TWELVE (Apr 4, 6, 8)
12. 1994 Synod of African bishops in Rome:
Synod or Council?
Themes for Discussion: Proclamation of the Good News, Inculturation, Dialogue,
Justice and Peace, and means of Social Communication.
Evangelization in Africa:
Pastoral Agents of Evangelization,
Tools of Evangelization,

Some Pastoral Problems.

WEEK THIRTEEN (Apr 11, 13, 15)
13. African Reality and African Theology:
Africathe Face with many scars
African Theology Responds to the Crisis
Points of HopeNew Point of Departure
African Theology of Inculturation
African Church and Social Transformation. Uzukwu, A Listening Church, Pp. 1-10.
WEEK FOURTEEN (Apr 18, 20, 22)
14. The Future of Local Communities in Africa
African Narrative theology.
Can Catholicism be understood cross-culturally as a logical tradition of a religious
practice and inquiry?
Prep Week: (Apr 25, 27, 29)
Final Exam: Section 01: May 5, 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Section 02: May 4, 3:30 to 5:30 PM
Section 04: May 3, 6:00 to 8:00 PM