Religion and politics

This module will take a historical and cross-cultural approach to examining the relationship between religion and politics. In the first half of the module, we will look at primary sources from the ancient world, such as Plato’s Republic, the Analects of Confucius, the inscription of Ashoka, and the Laws of Manu. In the second half of the module we will look at contemporary debates about secularism, multiculturalism, and pluralism taking place throughout the world today. Throughout the module we will be addressing the following questions: How has the relationship between religion and politics been characterised in different cultures and at different historical moments? To what extent are ancient discussions about the relationship between religion and political relevant today? Is there something distinctive about recent debates about secularism, or are these debates playing out perennial questions? Is it possible to separate religion and politics?