Religion, Politics, and War (1st 7 weeks)
F 2017


Though peace is the ideal of all the great religions, warlike behavior by their practitioners is the reality.  But has there ever been a war of religion, a head-to-head encounter in which the goal is to decisively harm or obliterate the other?  Or has religion mainly been used as a pretext or rationale for interstate or inter-ethnic wars?  Can one distinguish a war of ethnicity from a war of religion?  Is genocide a war of religion or ethnicity, or is it collateral damage to a war between states?  Are terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Boko Haram conducting wars of religion?  Karen Armstrong's Fields of Blood will provide the basis for answering these and other questions.

Weekly Topics

1.  Farmers and herdsmen; India

2.  China; the Hebrews

3.  Christianity; Byzantium

4.  Islam, crusade, and jihad

5.  The triumph of the secular

6.  Religion fights back

7.  Global jihad