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Elective: Religion and Politics

Vak
2015-2016

Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies who have succesfully completed the second year elective course.
The number of participants is limited to 25.

Description

The beginning of the 21th century has been marked by both globalization and, despite a process of
secularization, religious politics. The idea of the nation state has been weakened and confidence in
the western idea of secular nationalism eroded. Under feudalism religion provided the symbolic
medium by which the dominant class conceptualized its political relationships. The transition to
capitalism separated the sovereignty of the state from the person of the king and made the state
subordinate to the market, legitimated by utilitarian theories of individual ownership. Social
continuity no longer depends on religion but is secured by other means. Politics is about the exercise
of power, authority, and ultimately of violence. Religion has always played a major part in politics; the
oft-heard demand that religion and politics should be kept separate carries an implicit
acknowledgement that they rarely are.
In this course we will examine the changing relationships between religion and politics, focusing on secularization, civil religion, authority, power and religious violence.

Course objectives

The course aims at the acquirement of knowledge about historical and social scientific research on the relation between religion and politics. At the same time students have to be able to present and discuss an analysis of relevant cases, and formulate questions and problems concerning this relationship. They have to be able to write a paper that shows knowledge and insight in the complexity of the relation between politics and religion.
The elective courses for International Studies are designed to teach students how to deal with state-of-the-art literature and research questions. They are chosen to enhance the students’ learning experience by building on the interdisciplinary perspectives they have developed so far, and to introduce them to the art of academic research. They are characterised by an international or comparative approach.
Academic skills that are trained include:
Oral presentation skills:
1. to explain clear and substantiated research results;
2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
a. in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;
b. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
c. using up-to-date presentation techniques;
d. aimed at a specific audience;
3. to actively participate in a discussion following the presentation.
Collaboration skills:
1. to be socio-communicative in collaborative situations;
2. to provide and receive constructive criticism, and incorporate justified criticism by revising one’s own position;
3. adhere to agreed schedules and priorities.
Basic research skills, including heuristic skills:
1. to collect and select academic literature using traditional and digital methods and techniques;
2. to analyze and assess this literature with regard to quality and reliability;
3. to formulate on this basis a sound research question;
4. to design under supervision a research plan of limited scope, and implement it using the methods and techniques that are appropriate within the discipline involved;
5. to formulate a substantiated conclusion.
Written presentation skills:
1. to explain clear and substantiated research results;
2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
a. in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;
b. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
c. using relevant illustration or multimedia techniques;
d. aimed at a specific audience.

Timetable

The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

Lecture, seminar style discussion and supervised research.

Course Load

Total course load for the course: 10 × 28 hours= 280 EC, broken down by:

  • Hours spent on attending lectures and seminars: 2 hours per week x 12 weeks = 24 hours

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature and completing assignments: 8 hours per week x 12 weeks = 96 hours

  • Time to write a paper (including reading / research): 16 hours per week x 10 weeks = 160 hours

Assessment method

Weekly assignments, and a final paper of approx. 4-6,000 words (excluding tables and bibliography).

Note: The maximum possible grade to be obtained for re-submission of the final essay is a 6.0

Blackboard

Blackboard will be used. For tutorial groups: please enroll in blackboard after your enrolment in uSis
Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

  • Robert N. Bellah, Civil Religion in Americ, Daedalus 96/1 (1967), 1-21.

  • B.S. Turner, Religion and Social Theory., 2nd ed. (London 1991).

  • J. Casanova, Public Religions in the Modern World (Chicago 1994).

  • P. Beyer, Religion and Globalization (London 2000).

  • T. Fitzgerald, Religion and Politics in International Relations (New York 2011).

  • M. Juergensmeyer, Global Rebellion. Religious Challenges to the Secular State, from Christian Militias to al Qaeda (Berkeley 2008).

Registration

Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.

Contact

Dr. W. Hofstee
Email: w.hofstee@hum.leidenuniv.nl
Tel.: +31 71 527 2630