This course looks at the representation in film and literature of some of the more well known militant religious orders of the world, such as the Christian Templars, Muslim Janissaries and Assassins, Hindu naga babas, the Khalsa order of Sikhism, and the Buddhist Samurai.
Students will be introduced to the historical, cultural and ethnic contexts in which these movements arose and the influence they exerted in shaping the societies around them.
The focus of the course will be to examine:
- how each of these movements was able to justify violence in the name of spirituality, and the idea of religious wars
- whether their legacies have managed to survive in the modern world
- the relationship between meditation and the martial arts in Christian asceticism, Japanese aikido, Hindu yoga, Sikh gatka, Zen Buddhism, and Islamic jihad
Course assessment will be on the basis of weekly forum posts.
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The course will be taught as a discussion seminar with a minimal some lecture component. The course will involve an analysis of how these traditions have been presented in modern film and cinema. As well as regular readings, students will be expected to watch and analyse relevant films and documentaries.