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Politics of Religion




Admission Requirements

Similarly tagged 200-level and 300-level courses. Students that do not meet this prerequisite should contact the instructor regarding the required competencies before course allocation.


What is the relationship between politics and religion? Are ‘secular’ politics truly devoid of religious influence? What role does religion play in local and global politics in today’s world? And where do ‘world religions’ fit into global politics? These are some of the questions this course will engage. We will begin by considering the very conception of ‘world religions’ and how such a notion historically came into being. We will then engage with literature that addresses the relationship of politics and religion with an emphasis on evangelical movements in the United States, evangelicalism in Guatemala, and Islam in Egypt.

Course Objectives

The goals of this course are:

  • To provide students with a critical sense of the historical trajectory of the relationship of religion & politics.

  • To sharpen critical thinking skills and close reading by encouraging students to locate authors’ arguments and put them into conversation with other literature.

  • To give students a nuanced sense of the role of religion in social and political life.

Mode of Instruction

This will be a discussion based course with some writing assignments. Students will be expected to do close readings of the materials assigned and to be able to discuss them orally and in writing. Students will also be assigned short writing assignments as well as a group project that addresses the themes of the course.


Students will be assessed on their oral participation in class discussion, quality of their short writing assignments, and a final group project.


Harding, Susan. 2000. The Book of Jerry Falwell: Fundamentalist Language & Politics. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Mahmood, Saba. 2005. Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

O’Neill, Kevin. 2009: City of God: Christian Citizenship in Postwar Guatemala. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Contact Information

Dr. Anthony Shenoda: a.g.shenoda@luc.leidenuniv.nl

Weekly Overview

Weeks 1 & 2: Historical overview
Weeks 3 & 4: Evangelicalism & U.S. politics
Weeks 5 & 6: The politics of Islam
Week7: Religion & citizenship: Guatemala

Preparation for first session