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Global Transformations: Religions on the Move in Historical and Contemporary Perspective


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Theology and Religious Studies programme.

Students who are interested in taking this course, but who do not fulfill these requirements are requested to contact the lecturers of the course or the studentadvisor


Global Transformations is a study of how the course of religion has changed due to increasingly expanding contacts and confrontations between differing cultures globally. The course is divided over two blocks: the first block takes an historical perspective and studies the rise and expansion of two religions from the Middle East that had their greatest successes far away from their place of origin: Manichaeism and the Bahá’í Faith.

The second block looks at the contemporary world on the basis of two related case studies: Pentecostalism and Evangelicalism. While early momentum can be traced back to the West (UK, USA, Germany) and Western denominations (Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran), these Christian traditions have become global, transdenominational forces that perhaps represent the most important mass religious movement of the past century.

Course objectives

  • Insight into the historical and contemporary dynamics of the development of religions.

  • Insight into the ways in which religions have moved historically – through migration, mission, expansion – and are moving currently in a globalizing world.

  • Critical skills of analyzing complex global patterns by using historical, qualitative and quantitative data, and comparing the data with prominent theories.

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


The timetable

Mode of instruction


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..

Course Load

Lectures: 2 hours a week x 13 weeks = 26 hours
Preparation: 8 hours a week x 12 weeks = 96 hours
Two 2,500 word essays = 72 hours
Oral presentation = 14 hours
Final paper = 72 hours

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.


Blackboard will be used as a repository of information on the course, materials from the teaching sesssion, discussion forum, medium of communication between participants and for the sending in of written work through Turnitin.

Reading list



Students are required to register through uSis


Dr. C.L. Williams Email Webpage

Prof. Dr. A.F. de Jong Email Webpage


Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).