This course will engage with contemporary debates on religion and politics in the context of the nation-state in our post-9/11 world, and will do so comparatively across a wide range of contexts.
The emphasis will be on understanding the evolving relationship between religion and politics in liberal democracies, and examining challenges facing democratic politics from the religious sphere, both in the West, where secular liberalism is the dominant framework for discussing these questions, and in Africa, India, and the Middle East, where such a framework is more likely to be contested. The themes explore will include secularization, religious pluralism and tolerance, human rights regimes, the idea of “civil religion,” the impact of religion on party politics, the formation of identity and political community, the legal regulation of sometimes-competing claims based on religious faith, gender, and sexuality, and the rise of extremist forms of religious politics, conspiracy thinking, new online communities that lead to dangerous political outcomes, such as ‘QAnon’ and ‘Plandemic’. Cases studies will include the USA, Canada, France, Turkey, Egypt, Nigeria.
(Given by the Departments of Political Science and Religion)