African Religions


This area of research encompasses three subfields:

  • African indigenous worldviews, ritual forms, cosmologies, and religious imaginaries.
  • The African diasporas, the Trans-Atlantic, and contemporary studies of African migration and migrant experiences.
  • Islam, Christianity and new religions in Africa.


Students are required to take courses in method and theory in the Study of Religion. This may include the mandatory courses offered by the Committee on Religious Studies and others such as ethnography, anthropology and sociology of religion, phenomenology of religion; race, ethnicity and gender, and postcolonial theory. In addition to courses offered in the three subfields outlined above, they are also encouraged to take relevant courses in other cognate disciplines and departments such as history, ethnic studies, literature, sociology, government, etc. Students will also be required to take at least one indigenous African language such as Yoruba, Twi, Hausa, or Zulu alongside a European language useful for archival and library research such as French, German, or Portuguese. 

General Examinations

The exam will vary according to the student’s area of concentration and should be worked out with the student’s advisor. It may be administered in four general areas including method and theory in the Study of Religion; ethnography and/or archival research; and an examination in the student’s area focus.

Recent Dissertation Topics

  • Stoning in the Islamic Tradition: The Case of Northern Nigeria