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 of social division, conflict 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 explores theoretical and practical aspects religion and violence in the context of our contemporary secular world. The course asks why, in an era of intense globalization, there has been a proliferation of ethnic cleansing and extreme forms of political violence against civil societies. Specific themes for discussion may include but are not limited to: 9/11 and the War on Terrorism; suicide bombings and anti-Americanism; Islam Multiculturalism and secular democracy in France and Britain; Hindu/Muslim violence and the question of secularism in India; Sikhs and the Indian State.