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Head of Department: Associate Professor Charles Wanamaker

Departmental Profile

The Department of Religious Studies maintains a strong research profile through its staff and its three research institutes. The Department houses the Institute for Comparative Religion in Southern Africa (ICRSA), directed by Professor David Chidester, which is engaged in research on religion, religions and religious diversity; the Research Institute on Christianity and Society in Africa (RICSA), directed by Professor James Cochrane, which is involved in research on the social impact of Christianity in South Africa and the African continent; and the Centre for Contemporary Islam (CCI), directed by Professor Abdulkader Tayob, holder of a National Research Chair in Islam and Islamic Publics in Africa, which has undertaken interdisciplinary projects, including international research on Islamic law in Africa, Islamic publics in Africa, and the presidential legacy project on the manuscript archives of Timbuktu. Under the direction of Professor Cochrane, the African Religious Health Assets Programme (ARHAP) is aimed at discovering religious resources and new models for healthcare in Sub-Saharan Africa. These research initiatives of the Department have proved to be particularly important for the research development of the many postgraduate students employed by them and have also served to attract overseas researchers to the Department. The Department features two NRF A-rated researchers, Professor David Chidester and Emeritus Professor John de Gruchy, the latter of whom is retired but remains an active researcher associated with the Department. In addition the Department publishes the Journal for the Study of Religion, which is accredited by the Department of Education, the Journal for Islamic Studies, and the Annual Review of Islam in South Africa.


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