Undergraduate Course: Religion and Nationalism in the Contemporary World (REST10035)
|School||School of Divinity
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||Nations have been called imagined communities (Anderson 1991) that speak to the profound need for both legitimacy and belonging, characteristic of our times. This course will address this idea by focusing on the relationships between religion, geo-politics and the emergence of nationalism. The course will investigate the following questions:
How do religious nationalism and the spatialising of nationhood, in terms of religion and geography, enable the territorialisation of religion and the nation?
How do people envision their nation in terms of myths, symbols, texts, songs and poetry?
How do indigenous systems interact with global ones, shaped by discourses on religion and invented tradition in relation to the emergence of the modern nation, and how is this articulated?
This course aims to investigate the manner in which religion and nationalism interact. It will demonstrate that the importance of religion on contemporary debates ranging from nationalism to its place in the public sphere is far from marginal, but central to the way we should think about the global world system. In order to achieve this, the course combines strong theoretical discussions ranging from classical theories from the French Revolution to more recent postcolonial scholarship, alongside detailed case studies from around the world that have many contemporary resonances. These debates will be carefully considered both in the lectures and the seminar discussions based on readings that are both empirically rich and theoretically innovative.
The complexity and richness of the course will be illustrated through thematic considerations such as the importance of homeland, gender, mapping, the discourse of ethnic election, postcolonial nationalisms, the relationship between state, nation, religious identities, secularism, to the resurgence of indigenous peoples' place in the world system. It will discuss the ways in which modern theories of nationalism provide a lens through which nations can be understood both in their modern guise, but also in the way their roots in antiquity have been central to their identity in the present. It will examine classic books on nationalism such as Imagined Communities by Benedict Anderson; The Ethnic Origin of Nations by Anthony D. Smith; to the importance of postcolonial and poststructuralist thinkers to this debate, such as Partha Chatterjee and Talal Asad.
Student Learning Experience Information:
The course has a programme of two-hour weekly meetings consisting of one-hour weekly lectures, and one-hour seminar discussions. The meetings will be interactive and will allow students to engage with the topic through lecture and seminar discussion. Each student will do a presentation based on the assigned reading and will be responsible for leading class discussion during the seminar hour. Students are also required to write a weekly-assessed blog that will demonstrate their understanding and engagement with the readings. Through their participation in lectures, seminars, written work, final examination, and feedback offered, students will demonstrate their achievement of the intended learning outcomes.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||Visiting students should have at least 3 Divinity/Religious Studies courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Not being delivered|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Demonstrate an understanding of key concepts such as religion and nationalism, and an ability to link these to broader theoretical and empirical cases.
- Have the critical ability to articulate the importance of religion in shaping nationalist discourse, in both historical and contemporary contexts.
- Engage with the secondary sources and scholarly debates on the relevant issues.
- Demonstrate an ability to construct lucid arguments, especially in written work, and to learn important communication skills through presentations and seminar discussions.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Course organiser||Mr Liam Sutherland
|Course secretary||Ms Katrina Munro
Tel: (0131 6)50 8900