Arts and Sciences (BASc)
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Sceptics and Enthusiasts: Religion, State and Society in Modern European History
This course offers a survey on the relationship between religious communities, religious commitment, and political developments in modern European history. Rather than focusing on a single faith group, it investigates the complex interaction between religious commitment and the fabric of European nations, societies and cultures. By discussing a sequence of particularly relevant cases, it also reviews the most relevant theories in the history and sociology of religion.
emphasis on Europe will help understand the complexity of the European
religious (and anti- or non-religious) legacy, and offer insights which might
be applied to other world regions. The course will enable students to develop a
critical and empathetic understanding of the dynamic relationship of religion
Each week there will be two hours of lectures by a member of the teaching staff from one of the participating departments and a one-hour seminar taught by a PGTA from the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies.
There will be at least four study trips to religious and cultural institutions in London.
Aims of the course
Through the investigation of the relationship between religious identifications and the social, historical and political developments in modern European history since ca. 1500, students will gain a substantial understanding of the impact of religion on European history.
They will acquire basic knowledge about the history of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam in Europe and basic analytical tools to describe religious affiliation as well as secularization, and their role in the shaping of modern society.
The field work will allow students to identify how religious identifications are mirrored in the cityscape of London.
At the end of the course students will be aware of the central role of religious affiliations in the shaping of contemporary Europe, and will understand the complex relationship between religious identity and modernity.
Assessment is by two essays (40% each) and 1 presentation (20%).