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RELIGST 119: Religion and Conflict

Conflicts involving religions are among the most vexing challenges facing international agencies, governments, institutions, and - above all - humanity. Although religion is often used as a descriptor of a conflict (Jewish - Muslim conflict in the Middle East, Christian-Muslim conflict in Sudan, Catholic-Protestant conflict in Northern Ireland) the impact of religion on creating and resolving these disputes is not well understood. It is indeed difficult, and at times impossible or undesirable, to separate religious from economic, political, agricultural, environmental, and cultural factors. This class will give students an opportunity to delve deeply into the histories, causes, and cultures involved in religious conflict. We will also challenge the assumption that different religions or particular religions are prone to conflict or tend towards violence. By studying resolutions to conflicts and looking at cases of inter-religious dialogue and cooperation, students will be able to count more »
Conflicts involving religions are among the most vexing challenges facing international agencies, governments, institutions, and - above all - humanity. Although religion is often used as a descriptor of a conflict (Jewish - Muslim conflict in the Middle East, Christian-Muslim conflict in Sudan, Catholic-Protestant conflict in Northern Ireland) the impact of religion on creating and resolving these disputes is not well understood. It is indeed difficult, and at times impossible or undesirable, to separate religious from economic, political, agricultural, environmental, and cultural factors. This class will give students an opportunity to delve deeply into the histories, causes, and cultures involved in religious conflict. We will also challenge the assumption that different religions or particular religions are prone to conflict or tend towards violence. By studying resolutions to conflicts and looking at cases of inter-religious dialogue and cooperation, students will be able to counter stereotypes and move beyond the rhetoric surrounding religion and conflict. The course will be both theoretical and practical. We will study how religious conflicts have been addressed academically and in policy discussions. We will also explore how religious beliefs, institutions, and actors have exacerbated or mitigated conflicts and facilitated or thwarted their resolutions. To illustrate these theories each section is accompanied by an examination of particular case studies of religious conflicts, some resolved and others ongoing, and efforts at religious peacebuilding, some successful and others not. Each student will then produce her or his own case study of a conflict or a comparison of conflicts as a final project.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:EC-GlobalCom, WAY-ER, WAY-A-II, GER:DB-Hum
Instructors: Bigelow, A. (PI)
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