In this essay, I discuss the importance of interdisciplinary approach to African theology and argue that in light of the challenges raised by the health care crisis, theologians, as well as other Africanists need to develop an interdisciplinary approach to the questions they raise and the solutions they propose to those questions.
William Newell“The Case for Interdisciplinary Studies: Response to Professor Benson’s Five Arguments,” in Interdisciplinarity: Essays from the Literature (ed. W.H. Newell; New York: College Entrance Examination Board1998) 109–122.
James R. Cochrane“The Language that Difference Makes: Translating Religion and Health,”Practical Matters4 (2011): 5–6. See Paul Ricoeur Reflections on the Just (trans. David Pellauer; Chicago Ill.: University of Chicago Press 2007) 107–120.
Paul Tiyambe Zeleza“The Disciplinary, Interdisciplinary and Global Dimensions of African Studies,”International Journal of African Renaissance Studies – Multi- Inter- and Transdisciplinarity1 no. 2 (2006) 198.
V.Y. MudimbeThe Invention of Africa: Gnosis Philosophy and the Order of Knowledge (Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press1988); See also V.Y. Mudimbe The Idea of Africa (Bloomington Ind.: Indiana University Press 1994); Paul T. Zeleza Manufacturing African Studies and Crises (Dakar: CODESRIA 1997); P.T. Zeleza and A. Olukoshi eds. African Universities in the Twenty-First Century 2 vols. (Dakar: CODESRIA 2004).
Elias K. Bongmba“The Study of African Religions: A Sketch of the Past and Prospects for the Future,” in The Study of Africa Vol. 1: Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Encounters(ed. Paul Tiyambe Zeleza; Dakar: CODESRIA 2006) 338–374.
Evans-Pritchard“Zande Theology”1–2. See Mgr. C.R. Lagae Les Azande ou Niam-Niam: l’organisation Zande croyances religieuses et magiques coutumes familiales (Bibliothèque-Congo 18; Bruxelles: Vromant 1926); Captain J.E.T. Philipps M.C. “Observations on Some Aspects of Religion Among the Azande (Niam-Niam) of Equatorial Africa” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 56 (1926): 171–187.
Michael Singleton“Theology, ‘Zande Theology’ and Secular Theology” in Zande Themes: Essays Presented to Sit Edward Evans-Pritchard(eds. André Singer and Brian V. Street; Totowa N.J.: Rowman and Littlefield 1972) 131.
SingletonZande Themes131–132. Other scholars shared Evans-Pritchard’s conviction that Zande thought was unsystematic a view that was shared widely. Godfrey Lienhardt expressed similar concerns about the Shilluk people of South Sudan see R. Godfrey Lienhardt “Modes of Thought” in The Institutions of Primitive Society: A Series of Broadcast Talks (E.E. Evans-Pritchard et al.; Oxford: Basil Blackwell 1954) 101–102; Malinowski said a similar thing when he said: “language in its primitive forms ought to be regarded and studied against the background of human activities and as a mode of human behavior in practical matters … language originally among primitive non-civilised peoples was never used as a mere mirror of reflected thought … it is a mode of action and not an instrument of reflection” B. Malinowski cited in Singleton Zande Themes 138.
Edith Turner“Theology and the Anthropological Study of Spirit Events in an Iñupiat Village,” in Explorations in Anthropology and Theology (eds. Frank A. Salamone and Walter Randolph Adams; Lanham, Md.: University Press of America1997) 70.
Cathernine A. Odora Hoppers“Center for African Renaissance Studies, the Academy, the State and Civil Society: Methodlogical Implications of Transdisciplinarity and the African Perspective,”International Journal of African Renaissance Studies1 no. 1 (2006): 7–32.
RepkoInterdisciplinary Research1–48; John A. Grim “Indigenous Lifeways and Knowing the World” in The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Science (eds. Philip Clayton and Zachory Simpson; Oxford; New York N.Y.: Oxford University Press 2006) 1–34.
David WesterlundAfrican Indigenous Religions and Disease Causation. From Spiritual Beings to Living Humans (Studies on Religion in Africa 28; Leiden; Boston, Mass.: Brill2006) 209–215. Also see David Westerlund “Religion Illness and Healing” in Wiley-Blackwell Companion to African Religions (ed. E.K. Bongmba; Chichester: John Wiley & Sons 2012) 443–456.
Collins Airhibenbuwa“Framing an African-Centered Discourse on Global Health; Centralising Identity and Culture in Theorising Health Behaviour,” in The Study of Africa Vol. 1: Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Encounters(ed. Paul Tiyambe Zeleza; Dakar: CODESRIA 2006) 375–392.
Cochrane Schmid and Cutts eds.When Religion and Health Alignxxiv. See publications on religion and health especially Harold G. Koenig Dana E. King Verna Benner Carson eds. Handbook of Religion and Health (2nd ed.; New York N.Y.: Oxford University Press 2012) especially its chapter on “A History of Religion Medicine and Health Care” 15–34.
Cochrane“The Language that Difference Makes”10. See UNAIDS “Partnership with Faith-Based Organisations: UNAIDS Strategic framework” (Geneva: Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS 2009). I thank Olivier for this reference. See also WHO–CIFA “NGO mapping” in Olivier “Search of Common Ground” 2.
Frank Dimmock and Tali Cassidy“Maintaining and Strengthening African Religious Health Assets: Challenges facing Christian Health Associations in the Next Decade,” in When Religion and Health Align: Mobilising Religious Health Assets for Transformation(eds. James R. Cochrane Barbara Schmid and Teresa Cutts; Pietermaritzburg: Cluster Publications 2011).