Work in Progress: "The Scope of Development Studies in Its Interaction with Religion: Multidisciplinary Crossings and Boundaries"


Severine Deneulin

Séverine Deneulin (DPhil, University of Oxford)
2017-2018 Kellogg Visiting Fellow
Associate Professor of International Development at the University of Bath

Over the last fifteen years, the area of “religion and development” has significantly expanded, raising the question of whether theology is a new discipline that should be included in development studies. Some argue that those working in the field of international development should acquire greater religious literacy so as to dialogue with believers and challenge practices and interpretations of texts when these are an obstacle to development goals. The counter-argument is that development studies risks being an all-embracing field of the totality of human life, thus losing its specificity and over-treading its boundaries as a social field of analysis. The paper discusses the scope of development studies as a multi-disciplinary and emancipatory field of study when people’s religious beliefs and practices are taken into account in development research and practice.

Originally published at

Sponsored by the Kellogg Institute.