PSCI 126
Religion, Politics, and Society: A Global Perspective Spring 2022
Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed REL 126 / GBST 101 / PSCI 126

Class Details

In spite of predictions that religion would wither away with in the face of modernization, even casual observation indicates that it remains a powerful force in contemporary political life. Our goal is to obtain an enhanced understanding and appreciation of the salience of religion in public life. The course will be divided into three parts. The first part focuses on different theoretical approaches to make sense of the relation between religion, politics, and society, discussing especially the concept of the ‘secular.’ The second part discusses religion in the US society. Here, we will discuss if the American society can be called secular, the role of religion in American political culture, the relation of religion to the state, the relevance of religious interests and their mobilization, religious minorities in the United States and many other aspects of religion in the US society. The third part will take a global perspective on the relation between religion and politics. We will discuss cases of Buddhism, Christianity (Catholicism and Protestantism), Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam (Sunni and Shi’a) and Judaism. Although the study of religion and politics raises a host of deep philosophical questions, the principal aim of the course is to understand how religion affects politics (and vice versa), rather than to explore the moral questions raised by the interaction of these two forces.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 35
Expected: 25
Class#: 3938
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Class participation and three papers, in these proportions: 20% participation; 25% first paper (7 pages); 30% second paper (8-10 pages); and 25% third paper (7 pages). No final exam.
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Global Studies concentrators and intended concentrators; Religion majors and intended majors
Unit Notes: Core course for GBST
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
REL 126 Division II GBST 101 Division II PSCI 126 Division II
DPE Notes: An engagement with religious difference in the world, with a spotlight on how religion and politics--that is, power--interact globally and in the USA.

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