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Syllabus Religion Secularism and Pluralism in Europe - 54857
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Last update 16-09-2019
HU Credits: 2

Degree/Cycle: 2nd degree (Master)

Responsible Department: European Studies

Semester: 1st Semester

Teaching Languages: English

Campus: Mt. Scopus

Course/Module Coordinator: Dr. Karin Bischof

Coordinator Email:

Coordinator Office Hours: By prior arrangement

Teaching Staff:
Dr. Karin Bischof

Course/Module description:
Especially since 9/11, cleavages and conflicts in ‚postsecular Europe' (Jürgen Habermas) are increasingly interpreted in terms of religious values and religious affiliation. Yet, gender is a central terrain on which those conflicts and alterity constructions operate. (i.e. public debates about the headscarf, forced marriage or Turkey's accession to the EU). The course focuses on selected national and transnational examples of religiously connoted and gendered alterity constructions. It does so against the backdrop of theoretical views on European secularisation processes, gender relations and country-specific modes of governing religious pluralism.

Course/Module aims:
The aim of the course is to gain basic insights into secularism and governance of religious diversity in contemporary Europe

Learning outcomes - On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:
… able to view contemporary religiously connoted conflicts in Europe against the backdrop of the knowledge gained in the course: knowledge about important debates and theories on secularization, about country-specific modes of governance of religious diversity and also characteristic (gender-specific) modes of religious othering. Moreover, students should be able to work with texts, situate them in the knowledge gained, discuss them in small groups and present them to the class.

Attendance requirements(%):
80 %

Teaching arrangement and method of instruction: The teaching is organized as an overview of selected academic debates and approaches to secularization and governance of religious diversity. An introductory session will provide the students with background knowledge. Each session will deal with selected relevant thematic aspects. Some of the thematic aspects will be dealt with in (small group) presentations of students.

Course/Module Content:
30.10. Introduction
6.11. Debates/theories on secularization: Renaissance of Religion
13.11. Debates/theories on secularization: secularization paradigm.
20.11. Debates/theories on secularization: Jürgen Habermas
27.11. Religiously connoted conflicts I: Film - Die Fremde
4.12. Religiously connoted conflicts II: Headscarf, Burqua, honour killings
11.12. Religiously connoted conflicts III: abortion, anti-gender movements
18.12. no class
1.1. Religiously connoted conflicts and country specific modes of governance – France and Austria
8.1. Country specific modes of governing religious diversity: overview, typology
15.1. Reflections on basic concepts: religion & politics, secularisation, pluralism
22.1. Final reflections

Required Reading:
Bischof, Karin/ Florian Oberhuber/ Karin Stoegner (2010). Gender-specific constructions of the ‘other religion’ in French and Austrian discourse on Turkey’s accession to the European Union (with Florian Oberhuber and Karin Stögner) in: Journal of Language and Politics, 9(3), 33-47.
Bramadat, Paul/ Matthias Koenig (2009). International Migration and the Governance of Diversity, Ontario.
Casanova, José (2019). Global religious and secular dynamics: the modern system of classification, Berkeley.
Einhorn, Barbara (2008). Questioning the Secular. Religion, Gender, Politics. Editorial, in: European Journal of Women’s Studies, 15(3), 2008, S. 155-161.
Habermas, Jürgen (2001). Faith and knowledge, Berlin.
Norris, Pippa/Ronald Inglehart (2004). Sacred and Secular. Religion and Politics Worldwide, Cambridge u.a., p 3-27; S. 215-241.
Scott, Joan W. (2010). The politics of the veil, Princeton-Oxford, 91-121.
Winter, Bronwyn: The Social Foundations of the Sacred: Feminists and the Politics of Religion, in: Kathy Davies/Mary Evans/Judith Lorber (eds.): Handbook of Gender and Women’s Studies, Thousand Oaks 2006, S. 92-108.

Additional Reading Material:

Course/Module evaluation:
End of year written/oral examination 40 %
Presentation 30 %
Participation in Tutorials 0 %
Project work 0 %
Assignments 30 %
Reports 0 %
Research project 0 %
Quizzes 0 %
Other 0 %

Additional information:
Percent of Final Grade:
End of year written examination 40%
Presentation to the class 30%
Assignments (Summary of text) 30%
Students needing academic accommodations based on a disability should contact the Center for Diagnosis and Support of Students with Learning Disabilities, or the Office for Students with Disabilities, as early as possible, to discuss and coordinate accommodations, based on relevant documentation.
For further information, please visit the site of the Dean of Students Office.