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Religion on the Move: From Local Origins to Global Networks


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Theology and Religious Studies programme. If students outside of this programme are interested in taking this course, please contact the instructors.


Religion on the Move is a study of how the course of religion has changed due to increasingly expanding contacts and confrontations between differing cultures globally. With the use of historical, ethnographical, and quantitative research, it will emerge that the complex processes of globalisation and modernisation have not only contributed to the movement and expansion of religions, but that religions have been crucial in constructing and confronting these processes. We will consider the success and/or failure of religions in relation to how they move and adapt, and how this relation corresponds to the iterative process of moving between local origins and global networks. In this context, we will examine the various ways in which religions have adapted when up-rooted and re-rooted in new contexts. The course has a global scope, and has recently included case studies on Pentecostalism, the Bahá’í Faith, Manichaeism, and Evangelicalism, but it also looks at recent mass migration patterns and the religious superdiversity that characterises contemporary Dutch society, especially in the Randstad.

Course objectives

Each student who completes the course will:

Develop interdisciplinary insight into the development of religions across time and diverse contexts by combining research from religious studies, history, anthropology, sociology, and political science.

Develop comparative insight into the ways in which religions have moved and interacted historically—through migration, mission, expansion, or appropriation—and are currently moving and interacting in a globalising world.

Develop a factual understanding of primary concepts and theories related to modernisation, globalisation, and migration.

Be able to discern some major patterns in the success or failure of religions– especially as these relate to issues of modernisation, globalisation, and migration.

Transferable Skills

Develop the highest level of academic communication skills – both oral and written.

Gain critical interdisciplinary skills of analysing complex global patterns by using historical, qualitative, and quantitative data and comparing the data with prominent concepts and theories.

Gain practical research skills such as locating and collecting existing research and working with primary data.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

Seminar. Attendance and participation are mandatory. Classes may be missed no more than twice and only in exceptional circumstances (at the discretion of the conveners and only with prior notice). Absence without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the final exam and a failing grade for the course.

Assessment method


Two essays (2,500 words each)

Oral presentation (based on final paper idea)

Final paper (4,000 words)


Essays = 40 %

Oral presentation = 10 %

Final paper = 50 %


Resit is not possible for the oral presentation; resit for the other components is identical to the first possibility.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

This course uses an extensive number of journal articles, book chapters, and primary source material. A list of materials will be made available on Blackboard prior to the start of the course.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website.

Registration Studeren à la carte

Registration Studeren à la carte.

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Dr. C.L. Williams Dr.S.A. Cramsey