ASIAN 305 - Religion and Violence in the Secular World
Section: 001
Term: FA 2009
Subject: Asian Studies (ASIAN)
Department: LSA Asian Languages & Cultures
Waitlist Capacity:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

How do we think about religion and violence in a secular world? Through a series of case studies focusing on the world?s major religious traditions including Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Sikhism and Buddhism, this course reflects on a variety of contemporary themes including the War on Terror, religious pluralism, the fate of liberal democracy, etc.

Recent events have brought the debate about the relationship between religion and violence into the foreground of public debate. Some have argued that the global resurgence of religion is more wide ranging than a clash of civilizations driven by religious extremism, terrorism and fundamentalism. As a variety of social and religious groups struggle to find alternative paths to modernity, this global cultural and religious shift challenges our interpretation of the modern secular world — indeed what it means to be secular and modern. Coinciding with the global re-surfacing of religious violence is the work of the media 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 examine the relationship between religion and violence through a combination of theoretical readings and a series of case studies in specific regions including North America, Europe and South and South East Asia. The case studies include countries with one dominant religious tradition and countries with two or more competing religious traditions including Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Sikhism and Buddhism.

Specific themes for discussion may include:

  • 9/11 and the War on Terrorism, religious pluralism and liberal democracy;
  • Sikhs and the Indian State;
  • Hindu/Muslim violence in India;
  • Capitalism and Christianity.

Crs Requirements: 1-page papers summarizing the key points in the reading are due in every class, so they will easily amount to over 20 pages of writing. Each is assessed on a pass/fail basis. The one page papers are necessary to keep a relatively large number of students focused on class discussions. In addition, students have to do one 2-page paper designed to test the their ability to analyze key concepts discussed during the course, compare and synthesize different readings, and use these concepts to compose a theoretically reflective paper. Finally, a 7 page (min) research paper is due towards the end of the semester. This paper should draw on archival material (journals and periodicals) not included in the class readings. All of these assignments combined total almost 30 pages of writing (although students don't feel the weight of the one page papers so much since they are evenly distributed).

Intended Audience: Intended for a wide ranging audience including of all levels interested in world religions and their relationship to secularity, the role of religion in public space, globalization and its effects and political science and terrorism.

Class Format: 3 hours per week in seminar format

ASIAN 305 - Religion and Violence in the Secular World
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for ASIAN 305 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi
The CourseProfile (ART) system, supported by the U-M Provost’s 3rd Century Initiative through a grant to the Office of Academic Innovation, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (ART)