Religion and Violence TRS5077

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Critical Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

Drawing from a large comparative map of religious traditions and histories of violence, this course starts with the way that 'religion' and 'violence' as topics are so often intertwined in discussions of global political life. What are the histories, media logics, and cultural implications of this pairing and its refusal?


10 x two-hour lecture/seminar weekly sessions

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements

Standard entry to Masters at College level.

Excluded Courses






1 x essay of 3-4,000 words

(80% of final mark)

1 x report based on class presentation of 1,500- 2,000 words

(20% of final mark)

Course Aims

This course aims to:

*compare different contemporary models by which the relationship between religion and violence is understood


*examine key topics in the historical formation of discussions about religion and violence (e.g., the relationship between religion and sacrifice; the violence of 'positive' religions or self-determination as such; transcendence, ethics and violence; contemporary media cultures and the struggle for recognition.)


*map important similarities and differences between Western and non-Western modelling of the relationship between religion and violence


*critically evaluate recent presentations of the inherent violence of religions, the inevitability of the clash of civilizations, and religion and globalization

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

*Evaluate a range of approaches to the topic of religion and violence both inside and outside the Western tradition


*Assess historical trajectories within various traditions and the ways that these have shaped recent discussions of the relationship between religion and violence


*Frame their own research interests and disciplinary questions in light of comparative, historical and theoretical approaches to the relationship between religion and violence


*Discern the influence of key classical thinkers and ideas in contemporary diagnoses of ethnicity, violent outbursts, and religion as a pacifying force or ground for solidarity

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.