“Maps are all we Possess”

Critical Terms in the Study of African Theology(ies)


  • Claudia Jahnel Ruhr University




Africa, critical terms, religion, epistemic violence, postcolonial theory


“Africa,” “ancestors,” “animism,” “authenticity,” these and other terms have shaped the scholarly research on African religions as well as the discursive field of African theology(ies). Over and above, they are still prevalent in stereotypical images of life and culture in “Africa.” A network of scholars of religious studies and of intercultural theology from Europe and Africa called “Theology(ies) Africa” has focused on analyzing the genealogy of terms that have become crucial in the study of religion and theology. The guiding assumption is that there are no simple terms. Terms are products of powerful and even conflicting processes of generating meaning, creating knowledge and exerting epistemic violence. The essay at hand displays guiding assumptions and crucial insights of the network group that is unique in the German speaking academic context. Established in 2017 its goal is to further the exchange between scholars who work on the religious and theological negotiations between Africa and Europe and to further especially young scientists in the field.


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How to Cite

Jahnel, C. . (2021). “Maps are all we Possess”: Critical Terms in the Study of African Theology(ies). Interreligious Studies and Intercultural Theology, 5(1-2), 129–145. https://doi.org/10.1558/isit.19367



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