This unit explores Christian movements for social change and their legacies. Beginning with examples from the earliest Christian communities, the unit focuses on the rise of the Social Gospel in the 19th and 20th centuries. The unit asks, what spurred the development of welfare and charity organizations, how was government policy influenced by Christian advocacy, and how did intentional communities attempt to live out the gospel. It looks at individuals (especially women and lay people) and grassroots movements to change the way we live. Through interpreting diverse historical sources ― newspapers and advertising, poems and novels, theological text and archival records ― you will gain an understanding of Christian movements for social change and their ongoing influence today

Unit code: CH2060P

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 2

Unit discipline: Church History

Proposing College: Pilgrim Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Identify significant dates, people and themes in the history of Christian movements for social change since 1830.


Apply key principles of historical interpretation to a range of primary sources.


Demonstrate an understanding of the interactions of theological belief and historical context.


Critically analyse change over time in a Christian movement for social change.

Unit sequence

Prerequisite foundational CH or CT


The unit aims to build competency in historical methodology and acquisition of knowledge while promoting improvement between assignments through repeated tasks. It engages with primary material and encourages close reading of texts with contextual understanding and critical analysis.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Berry, R.J., ed. Environmental Stewardship: Critical Perspectives, Past and Present. T&T Clark 2006.
  • Carey, Hilary M., ed. Empires of Religion. Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.
  • Chakkalakal, Tess. Novel Bondage: Slavery, Marriage, and Freedom in Nineteenth-Century America. University of Illinois Press, 2011.
  • Cruickshank, Joanna, and Patricia Grimshaw. White Women, Aboriginal Missions, and Australian Settler Governments: Maternal Contradictions. Brill, 2019.
  • Dorrien, Gary. Social Democracy in the Making: Political and Religious Roots of European Socialism. Yale University Press, 2019.
  • McGrath, Alister. Christian History: An Introduction. Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.
  • Oslington, Paul, ed. Oxford Handbook of Christianity and Economics. Oxford University Press, 2014.
  • Stoll, Mark. Inherit the Holy Mountain: Religion and the Rise of American Environmentalism. Oxford University Press, 2015.
  • Swain, Shurlee. Single Mothers and Their Children: Disposal, Punishment and Survival in Australia. Cambridge University Press, 1995.
  • Warne, Ellen. Agitate, Educate, Organise, Legislate: Protestant Women’s Social Action in Post-Suffrage Australia. Melbourne University Publishing, 2017.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Multiple Choice Quizzes or Tests 1000 10.0
Document Study 900 25.0
Document Study 900 25.0
Essay 1500 40.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 16 Oct, 2020

Unit record last updated: 2021-06-07 08:43:51 +1000