School of Religion, Philosophy & Classics

UKZN Co-Hosts Summer School on Transformative Religion

Participants at the Summer School.

Transformative Religion: Religion as Situated Knowledge in Processes of Social Transformation, was the theme for a Summer School held on UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg campus.

The school was co-hosted by UKZN’s School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics (SRPC) in collaboration with the Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary (SMMS), the University of the Western Cape (UWC), Stellenbosch University and Humboldt University in Germany.

The Summer School explored religion as a form of ‘situated knowledge’ that could be useful in shaping human agency with debates focussing on ‘transformative religion’ in processes of social transformation in transitional societies.

UKZN’s Professor Roderick Hewitt said: ‘This has been a developing partnership between these four institutions for more than 10 years which has led to a cross-fertilisation of ideas and is also important for collaborative purposes.’

Professor Andreas Feldtkeller of Humboldt University in Berlin said: ‘This partnership allows for the enrichment of the study of theology and religion and has an impact on students. The Summer school allows them to present their research and to be active participants.’

An International Research Doctoral Group (IRDG) that has been formed was described by Professor Jeremy Punt of Stellenbosch University as ‘an ongoing project, still in the development phase in which both staff and students of the four universities are able to conduct joint research as part of their joint doctorates’.

Professor Ignatius Swart of UWC said: ‘This Summer School is likely to continue because of its success rate. It has the ability to grow further and we’d like more universities to get on board. The value of this Summer School has also enriched the team of lecturers over the years.’

Also presenting their research at the Summer School were UKZN academics:

  • Professor Raymond Kumalo on: Convergences of Christianity, Politics and Xhosa Culture in the Burial of Nelson Mandela: An Asset for a Nation in Transition.
  • Dr Federico Settler on: Migrant Reforming Religion: A South African Perspective.
  • Professor Johannes Smit on: J.T. van der Kemp’s Link to the British Anti-Slavery Network and his Civil Rights Activism on Behalf of the Khoi (1801 – 1803).
  • Ms Cherry Muslim on: Transformative Religion: Religion as Situated Knowledge in Processes of Social Transformation.
  • Dr Sibusiso Masondo on: Women in African Traditional Religion: a Contemporary Perspective.
  • Professor Beverley Haddad on: African Women’s Resistance Practices: Indigenising Anglicanism in South Africa.
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Professor Ulrich Berner (middle, front) with Professor Johannes Smit (middle, back) and colleagues and postgraduate students who attended the seminar.

Specialist Seminar on Wagner and Syncretism in Religion

Professor Johannes Smit of the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics (SRPC) recently organised a seminar, conducted by Professor Ulrich Berner (Bayreuth University, Germany) on the topic of Richard Wagner, and Syncretism in Religion.