Dr Robert Beckford appointed as Associate Professor of Black Theology

The Faculty Board of the Faculty of Religion and Theology has appointed Dr Robert Beckford as Associate Professor of Black Theology in its Department of Beliefs and Practices as of 1 September 2020.

09/14/2020 | 11:32 AM

Black Theology is an international academic discipline of growing importance, which up to now was not represented at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU). Taught in American Universities and seminaries since the 1970s, and in the UK since the 1990s, the subject has now become integral to the worldwide study of theology and religion. Black theological investigation, while a complex and variant intellectual venture, focuses on two primary concerns: the study of African and African diaspora Christian formations, and the examination of Christian racism(s).

200914 Beckford TEXTThe growing impact of Black Theology on Black Majority Churches, often Pentecostal in theology and practice, is largely due to the work of Professor Robert Beckford. Professor Beckford has a distinguished academic profile. He has held a Chair at the University of Canterbury and posts at the Universities of Birmingham, Coventry and Kings College, London. His frequent presence on television, radio and in film gives his scholarly work a wide-ranging impact. Beckford has won two international awards, and five national awards for educational attainment and development.

The focus of the associate professorship will be on Black Theology, recognising that this is both a discipline and a methodology that is intentionally inter-disciplinary. Professor Beckford will primarily support research in Black Theology by the promotion and supervision of PhD students. In doing so, he will continue his work at the Queen’s Foundation, Birmingham, with which the Faculty of Religion and Theology has a longstanding partnership aimed at optimizing high-level PhD-research trajectories.

VU professor Ruard Ganzevoort, Dean of the Faculty, is enthusiastic about the appointment: “Our partnership with Queen’s will become only stronger and more relevant with the work of Professor Beckford, especially in our contemporary societies where we struggle with ethnic and political polarisation. His work on Black Theology will help us to better understand these issues”. VU professor Gijsbert van den Brink, Head of Department, is grateful as well: “Prof Beckford has a strong scholarly track record of academic publications, a unique expertise in valorization, and a pivotal position in the Centre for Black Theology at the Queen’s Foundation. His ability to connect this important research centre in the UK with the Department and Faculty will be of added value.”