TTEAKH041U New Wars – Old Beliefs: Conflict and Religion in 21th Century

Volume 2015/2016

The course will address the renewed importance of religion in current wars. During the first decades of the twenty-first century religion has reestablished itself as probably the most important motivation behind a large part of today’s armed conflicts around the world from the terrorist attack of 9/11 in 2001 right up until current civil wars and insurrections, especially in the Middle East and in Africa, evolving around strong religious ideologies. Religion however also plays an important part in the most recent conflict between Ukraine and Russian nationalists. In this conflict, strong nationalistic narratives are paired with equally strong religious ideas reaching back in history with the implication of strong religious-national messianic ideologies fuelling the violent outbursts.

The course will provide the students with a deeper understanding of the role of religion in modern conflicts and wars founded on recent international scholarship (for example Jürgensmeyer; Underhill; Wills; Buc). During the course we will from a critical perspective shed light on the historical and contemporary justification of war within the major religious traditions of today (primarily Judaism, Christianity and Islam) as well as address the religious foundation of modern nationalism and civil religion through a number of selected historical as well as contemporary cases and sources. As such the course will have a strong emphasis on Eastern Europe, The Middle East and Africa. The students will be required to read and discuss the selected primary source material as well as a number of secondary publications.


7.5 ECTS (equals approx. 207 hours of workload): The current course will use both e-learning activities as well as two weeks of class activities (15.-28 August 2016)


The students will be required to take active part in the e-learning sessions and the class activities and to prepare a final paper (12-15 pages)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Total
  • 28
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale