Religion and Development

School: School of Government and Society
International Development Department

Modular value: 20 credits
Teaching: The course consists of ten two hour sessions.  

Lecturer: Martin Rew

Religion is increasingly being recognised as a key impetus or obstacle to development. As a result, both government and donors show a growing concern with what role religions play in development policy, and the debate has often been controversial as state and civil society negotiates the secular and religious divide within often competing development paradigms.

This module will deal with these arguments across a wide variety of religious and developing country contexts and regions. Specifically, it will concentrate on the relationships between religion, politics and conflict, value frameworks, gender and religion, and the increasing role of faith based organisations in development policy, as both development advocates and as basic service providers.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module you will be able:

  • Describe and explain the relationships between religion and development in developing country contexts and regions.
  • Critically evaluate the key concepts and theories used in debates around religion and development.
  • Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the policy implications of religion in development.
  • Evaluate and use a number of analytical frameworks involved in the context of religion and development.

Teaching and learning approach

The module will be delivered using a range of teaching and learning methods in a highly participatory environment, including interactive lectures, group discussions, student presentations, case studies, videos and invited speakers.

Topics covered include:

  • Religion, Development and Everyday Practice
  • Conceptual and Multi-Disciplinary Approaches to Religion and Society
  • Faith-Based Organisations and the Organisation of Religion
  • Religion and Politics
  • Islamic Approaches to Development
  • Religion, Development and Gender
  • Religion and Social Movements
  • Religion and Education in South Asia
  • Religion, Health and HIV/AIDS in Nigeria
  • Religion and Conflict in Iraq


The assessment for the module will consist of:

  • Critical reflection on your presentation, worth 30% of the marks
  • A 3,000 word essay worth 70% of the marks.

The presentation topics will be drawn from the session plan and will enable students to actively engage with material, theory and ideas.

Related courses:

The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.