Course Memo

What contribution does the African continent offer the global “village” in terms of production and dissemination of Christian theological knowledge? Is it principally a consumer, producer, or both--epistemologically speaking? Further, what is the place of other sources of knowledge, e.g., the wisdom of the elders (sage philosophy), folklore, and other artistic expressions in the process of knowledge formulation, geared towards transformational theo-ethical engagement? Exploring answers to these and other related questions will form the core task of this course, which is designed to serve as an introduction to Constructive African Christian/Public Theology and Liberative Ethics. Students will be encouraged to learn through active participation, lectures, discussions, assigned readings, author case studies, and videos, and other modalities of instruction. The Drumbeat theological approach explored in this course has been coined by the instructor and is conceived as having a two-fold component: literal and metaphorical. In the literal sense, the task of theologizing is deemed as compatible with music-making—the performing arts can provide a veritable arena for engaging deeply in matters to do with change-catalyzing theo-ethical reflection and action. Metaphorically, a call to beat the drums is an appeal for concerted justice-oriented advocacy that draws attention to socio-economic inequalities in society. Further, daring to talk of drumbeat in the same breath with Christian theology is a gesture of bold subversion. Since drums were largely banished from sacred/ecclesial spaces at the onset of the missionary enterprise in Kenya and most of the rest of Africa, to dare to reclaim their dance-eliciting sound for hallowed purposes is in effect a declaration of war—for the complete liberation of the African believers’ identity, in totality. Contention for a Drumbeat Theology is, therefore, a bold political statement, with equitable justice and restoration of holistic dignity as its rallying call, mandate, and telos. Mode of instruction will take the Lecture/Discussion hybridized format(both In-person and Virtual/Zoom). Evaluation will be based on class participation, Voicethread interaction/s, a medium-length mid-term paper and a Final paper. This course is principally constituted for students in all Masters programs: M.Div; MASC; MA(GTU); MTS, Certificates etc. This course meets the SKSM Threshold requirements #1, 2, 4, 6 & 7. This course is taught by PhD student Gideon Mbui, under the supervision of Dr. Gabriella Lettini. [Auditors excluded]