Research emphases


One of the research emphases of the department of Intercultural Theology / World Christianity in Basel is Christianity in Africa. Particular areas of investigation include the various forms of the Pentecostal movement in Western Africa as well as African-Initiated Churches (AICs) in Southern Africa (with recent partnerships with the University of Pretoria). In both cases, the department engages with interdisciplinary research questions, such as the political theologies of the African Pentecostal movement or the socio-ethical repertoires of AICs. The department of Intercultural Theology is an integral part of the University of Basel's Centre for African Studies, contributing to its research and teaching (master's and doctoral studies) in areas relating to religion.

The department of Intercultural Theology / World Christianity takes a strongly interdisciplinary approach and actively participates in various research networks, particularly in the field of African studies:

German Society for Mission Studies (DGMW)
Swiss Society for African Studies (SGAS)
African Studies Association Germany (VAD)


History of religion and Christianity in South- and Southeast Asia

A second research emphasis of the department is the history of religion and Christianity in South- and Southeast Asia, with a focus on India and Indonesia. Here, the polycentric structures of world Christianity are considered in-depth from the perspectives of the history of religion, church history, and the history of missions. Emphases of this historical research include the former "mission areas" of the Basel Protestant Mission, particularly during the twentieth century (i.e., Ghana and Indonesia). Here, the department collaborates closely with partner institutions in Ghana as well as with the Basel Mission and Mission 21.


Religion and migration

A third area of emphasis is the study of religion and migration. One of our research projects works on developing profiles of different "migration churches" in Switzerland. In 2013, the department chair initiated the "Swiss Pilot Project for Continuing Theological Education for Leaders in Migration Churches" (in cooperation with ecumenical leaders of the cantonal churches of Basel). In the meantime, this project has been developed into a Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) at the University of Basel. The one-year continuing education program in "Intercultural Theology and Migration" begins every year in August. 

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Religion and development

In addition, the department is part of the Center for Religion, Economics, and Politics (CREP), which is closely connected to the Faculty of Theology. Here, the department of Intercultural Theology / World Christianity focuses on the research topic of "Religion and Development in the Global South" as part of a two-year seminar series. For a long time, religion was regarded in the field of economic development as an obstacle, and it is only recently that secular development agencies (such as the World Bank) have begun to take an interest in religious factors in their work. Now, non-material goals are developed alongside material ones, and religious actors are regarded as important stakeholders in economic development partnerships.