ASIAN 305: Violence and Religion in a Secular World

Course Level: Undergraduate 

Course Description: Recent events have brought the debate about the relationship between religion and violence into the foreground of public debate. Do religions justify and cause violence or are they more appropriately seen as forces for peace and tolerance? In the context of secular modernity, religion has been represented by some as a primary cause violence, social division and war, whilst others have argued that this is a distortion of the ‘true’ significance of religion, which when properly followed promotes peace, harmony, goodwill and social cohesion. Coinciding with the global re-surfacing of religious violence is the work of the media that can be seen both as a key agent in transforming the public’s reception of the relationship between religion and violence, and in many ways affecting the course of national and international politics itself.  This course will explore the relationship between secularism and the globalization of religion and violence. Specific themes for discussion may include but are not limited to: Reconceptualizing the relationship between religion and violence; Violence as an ideological construct; 9/11 and the War on Terrorism; Racial and Religious Violence in America etc.


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Arvind-Pal S. Mandair
Professor, Asian Languages and Cultures 

Tara Singh & Balwant Kaur Chattha, Gurbax Singh & Kirpal Kaur Brar Professor of Sikh Studies

Philosophy/Religion/Postcolonial Theory/Sikh Studies/South Asian Studies

Office: 202 South Thayer Street
Office 6016
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-1608

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