Engaging African Realities


Project Goals

  1. To equip early-career African theologians to exemplify the use of social-science research methods and grounded theology scholarship, to integrate ethnographic discoveries and insights into their theological reflection on African realities in their pursuit of research, publication, and curricular development.
  2. To engage grantees in three intensive project workshops: Starting Out – Origins and Basics, and introduction to research, Writing and Reading Ethnography, and Teaching in Theological Contexts,
  3. To focus on ethnography and the various theoretical approaches to it, and to support grantees to gain fresh theological insights, and thus make progress in theology.
  4. To underscore in the workshops how grounded theology could be based on a set of techniques, which emphasize the creation of theoretical statements from the qualitative data gathered, ethnographically.
  5. To facilitate mentorship and networking in interdisciplinary settings.
  6. To enable grantees to produce books, book chapters, journal articles for academic publications; disseminate research findings at local and major international conferences, including the summative conference, meeting concurrently with the African Association for the Study of Religion; conduct local and regional conferences, workshops and briefings; and, produce media offerings focused on their findings.
  7. To incorporate discoveries and new theologizing into curricular development, thus strengthening social sciences and grounded theology’s integration into African theological education.
  8. To help African theological institutions and programs employ and develop their capacities as conveners of research and scholarship and to embed the fresh insights they gain from research within their programs of teaching and community service.



Nagel Institute


Recently, Africa has become massively Christian. It is currently home to nearly a quarter of all the world’s Christians. It is believed that Africa may become the home to 40% of all Christians within the next twenty-five years. The quality of Christian thinking worldwide depends increasingly on the quality of theologizing coming from Africa. Moreover, the quality of theological thinking in Africa might also depend on its gaining new capabilities in social science theorizing and empirical research on the one hand, and grounded theology on the other, then integrating this knowledge into African Christian theology.

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Current Projects