How does religion constrain or motivate conflict? How do religious identities, beliefs, practices and social structures influence why we fight or how we fight? This class seeks to guide students through theories in the social sciences, from psychology and sociology to anthropology and political science, that explore the intersection of religion and domestic or international conflict. We will examine explanations for fundamentalism, extremism and religiously-motivated terrorism; the role of religion in driving global, international and ethnic conflict; religion and 9/11; the notions of just war, jihad and holy war; and the contribution of religion to conflict resolution.
This class is reading and research intensive. Students will be expected to write, review and rewrite a 25-30 page research paper on a topic of their choosing.