Politics of Religion and Ethnicity

Course NamePolitics of Religion and Ethnicity
Course CodeIRS232
DescriptionThis course aims to analyse the impact of religion and ethnicity on contemporary politics across the globe. Throughout the last decades, the growing significance of religion and ethnicity in politics is part of a larger phenomenon often dubbed as the rise of identity politics. But what is the true nature of identity-driven politics with regard to religion and ethnicity? Are ages-old atavistic conflicts resurfacing after being suppressed by the modern state and the ideals of enlightenment? Or are these identities simply instrumental tools exploited by populist politicians at a time when democratic and mass-based politics have become the main norm? And from a normative and practical point of view, how can and how should a state manage religious and ethnic differences? Under what conditions do these differences turn into political conflicts? When and why do these conflicts end up with violence in some settings, whereas in others they are resolved non-violently? This course aims to provide the students some analytical tools to find their own answers to such questions and understand the ways religion and ethnicity interact with politics. Drawing upon multiple theoretical and disciplinary approaches, this course explores the related concepts of religion and ethnicity in political science from a comparative perspective using case studies drawn across different time periods and contexts around the world.
Learning OutcomesUpon completion of this course, students will be able to:
– Define and describe basic approaches to the study of ethnicity and religion; – Understand the modern notion of nation state and how such a state interacts with religion and ethnicity;
– Develop a historical and theoretical framework for understanding the roots of religious and ethnic conflicts and alternative paradigms developed for the solution of these conflicts;
– Explain how and why policies related to ethnic and religious identity vary across similar and different regime types;
– Explain and analyze the fluid character of the production of religion and ethnicity;
– Critically reflect on whether modernization theories explain the contemporary surge of ethnicity and religion.
SchoolSchool of International Relations and Diplomacy (IRD)
Number of credits (US / ECTS)3 US / 6 ECTS