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 Prof. Ignatius Swart

Position: Professor
Department: Religion and Theology
Faculty: Faculty of Arts
Qualifications: MA in Development Studies (International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague); DPhil (Religious Studies, Stellenbosch)
Tel: +27219592210
Fax: +27 21 9591313


 Ignatius Swart joined the Department of Religion and Theology at the University of Western Cape as a full professor in 2016. Prior to joining UWC he held full-time appointments at the Huguenot College (Director of Research: 2006-2007; Executive Director: Academic and Research: 2008-2010; Rector: 2010-2012) and University of South Africa (Professor with the Focus on Research, Research Institute for Theology and Religion: 2012-2016). He is since 2016 also appointed as Kjell Nordstokke Professor of Diaconal Studies at the VID Specialized University in Norway.
Swart’s research work mainly focuses on various topical issues in the related fields of religion and development and theology and development. He has initiated and led or co-led several national and international team research projects since the early 2000s, which have all emanated in anthologies and other forms of academic publication related to his research focus. Most recently he acted as co-leader of the international, interdisciplinary “Youth at the Margins” (YOMA) research project (2013-2016) focusing on the role of FBOs in the lives of marginalised young people and currently leads an editorial team preparing an anthology from the project. His latest undertaking as leader of a team research project (2018-2020), funded under the auspices of the African Theological Advance Programme and executed by the Nagel Institute of Calvin College, USA, aims to explore the impact of xenophobia as a possible and actual force of innovation among migrant dominated Charismatic Pentecostal Churches (CPCs) in South Africa.
Swart’s national and international collaborative research networks span across several universities. He is an acknowledged partner of the Programme on Religious Communities and Sustainable Development at Humboldt University in Berlin and together with researchers in the programme will, on the basis of successful selection, run a Permanent Panel on Religion and Development at the Nordic and Norwegian Conferences on Development Research in the period 2019-2021. Swart is a former recipient of the National Research Foundation’s President’s Award for P-rated researchers (2001) and was awarded a Georg Forster Research Fellowship by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in 2006. He current holds a C1 rating from the National Research Foundation.


• With Cas Wepener, Gerrie Ter Haar & Marcel Barnard (2019), Bonding in Worship: A Ritual Lens on Social Capital in African Independent Churches in South Africa. Leuven / Paris / Bristol, CT: Peeters. ISBN 978-90-429-3833-5

• With Marlize & Stephan de Beer (2019; In Press). Hope for a better future: Young people’s (im)mobility in Pretoria Central, South Africa, in H. Cuervo & A. Miranda (eds.), Youth, Inequality and Social Change in the Global South. Perspectives on Children and Young People, Vol. 6. Singapore: Springer.

• ​With Bjørn Hallstein Holte & Heikki Hiilamo (2019). The NEET concept in comparative youth research: The Nordic countries and South Africa. Journal of Youth Studies 22(2): 256-272.

• ​(2018) Youth marginalisation as a faith-based concern in contemporary South African society: Introducing a research contribution. HTS Theological Studies 74(3), a5253. 10.4102/hts.v74i3.5253, 8 pages.

• With Obaji Agbiji (2017) In the wake of overt religiosity: A critical and appreciative perspective on religion as a force for social transformation and development in African society, in Ilo, S. C. (ed.), Wealth, Health, and Hope in African Christian Religion: The Search for Abundant Life, 265-293, Lanham/Boulder/New York/London: Lexington Books. ISBN-13: 978-1498561273

• (2017) Social capital, religious social capital and the missing element of religious ritual. Religion & Theology: A Journal of Contemporary Religious Discourse 24(3/4): 221-249. 

• With Afe Adogame (2016) Special Collection: Engaging development: Contributions to a critical theological and religious debate, HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 72(4), 4382. http://dx.doi. org/10.4102/hts.v72i4.4382

• With Stephan de Beer (2014) Doing urban public theology in South Africa: Visions, methodologies, themes and practices towards a new agenda. Special article collection, HTS Theological Studies 70(3),

• (2013) Revival of a kairos consciousness: Prolegomena to a research focus on religious and social change in post-apartheid South Africa. Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae 39(2):85-111.

• (2013) South Africa’s service-delivery crisis: From contextual understanding to diaconal response. HTS Theological Studies 69(2), Art. #1996, 16 pages.

• With Amanda Gouws, Per Pettersson, Johannes Erasmus & Frouwien Bosman (2012), Welfare, Religion and Gender in Post-Apartheid South Africa: Constructing a South-North Dialogue. Stellenbosch: SUN Press in Collaboration with the Uppsala Religion and Society Research Centre. ISBN 978-1-920338-68-8.

• With Edward Orsmond (2010). Positioning a research agenda on the social economy: The new capitalist expansion and its impact on worker conditions in a changing South African agricultural setting. International Journal of Social Economics 37(12):900-922.

• With Hermann Rocher, Sulina Green & Johannes Erasmus (2010) Religion and Social Development in Post-Apartheid South Africa: Perspectives for Critical Engagement. Stellenbosch: SUN Press. ISBN 978-1-920338-31-2.

• (2008) Meeting the challenge of poverty and exclusion: The emerging field of development research in South African practical theology. International Journal of Practical Theology 12(1): 104-149.

• (2006) The Churches and the Development Debate: Perspectives on a Fourth Generation Approach. Stellenbosch: SUN Press. ISBN 1-92019-10-2.

• (2006). Churches as a stock of social capital for promoting social development in Western Cape communities. Journal of Religion in Africa 36(3/4):346-378.​​​




 • Member of the editorial team of Diaconia: Journal for the Study of Christian Social Practice (journal published by VandenHoeck & Ruprecht)
• Associate editor, Religion & Theology: A Journal of Contemporary Religious Discourse (journal published by Brill)

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