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Politics and Religion


Admission requirements

This course is available for students of the Humanities Lab
If you have received your propaedeutic diploma within one academic year, your academic results are good and you are a very motivated student, you may apply for a place in the Humanities Lab.


This course explores the complex and contested nexus between religion and politics. It does so, for one, by exploring the characterizations of religion at play in several theories of democracy so as to better understand commonly-assumed notions of religion that underpin much contemporary political discourse. The course also examines several country case studies, each of which exemplify a distinct model regarding the relation between religion and politics. Furthermore, the course delves into the politics surrounding several contemporary issues, inquiring as to how religion might be entangled in the debates.

Course objectives

  • Gain an understanding of the characterizations of religion at play in prominent theories of democracy

  • Expand knowledge of the different ways in which countries around the world have structured the relationship between religion and politics in practice

  • Become aware of the multifaceted presence of religion in contemporary political debates

  • Develop critical thinking skills to further pursue questions regarding religion and politics as well as to interject as an informed citizen within public debates

  • Learn to synthesize and prioritize large amounts of information

  • Cultivate the ability to distil complex arguments

  • Improve writing skills through assignments

  • Improve public speaking skills through engagement with peers in class discussion


Courses of the Humanities Lab are scheduled on Friday afternoon from 13.00 to 17.00.
For the exact timetable, please visit the following website.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

This course is worth 5 EC (140 hours):

  • Attending and participating in seminars: 24 hours (6 x 4 hours/week)

  • Studying course literature: 60 hours (6 x 10 hours/week)

  • Writing response papers: 16 hours (2 x 8 hours)

  • Researching and writing research paper: 40 hours

Assessment method

  • 20% Participation

  • 40% Two Response Papers (750wds each)

  • 40% Research Paper (3000wds)


Attendance is compulsory for all meetings (lectures, seminars, excursion). If you are unable to attend due to circumstances beyond your control, notify the Humanities Lab coordinators in advance, providing a valid reason for your absence, and hand in your weekly assignment in writing to the lecturer (if applicable). Being absent without notification and valid reason may result in lower grades or exclusion from the course.


Students who have been active participants in class and submitted the research paper on time, but scored an overall insufficient mark, are entitled to a resit. For the resit, students are given a chance to hand in a new version of the research paper.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Brightspace will be used for:
Submitting digital copies of assignments

Reading list

The reading list will be available on Brightspace prior to the start of the course.


Students of the Humanities Lab will be registered via uSis by the administration of the Humanities Lab. More information about registration for courses will be provided on Brightspace .

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Lecturer: John-Harmen Valk
Humanities Lab office: e-mail


This course is part of the Humanities Lab programme, visit the website for more information.
Visit the Honours Academy website for more information about the Honours College.