INAF-423 Politics of International Religious Freedom
Fall for 2017-2018
Note: This class will be held at the Berkley Center, 3307 M Street, NW, Suite 200
According to the Pew Research Center, seventy four percent of the world's people live in countries with severe restrictions on religious freedom. Religious minorities worldwide are subject to devastating, violent persecution. Should American diplomacy work to counter persecution by advancing religious freedom? If so, is the reason primarily humanitarian, or are there broader U.S. interests involved, such as combatting religious extremism and terrorism, or supporting democracy, economic development, and women’s equality? This course will examine the politics of the U.S. policy to advance international religious freedom. We will explore the origins of the policy, its performance and legacy to date, as well as its prospects for development. Along the way we will explore the attitudes about religion and religious freedom which have helped to mold that policy. We will ask whether U.S. strategies have worked, and what impact they had on American policy in the greater Middle East and East Asia. In addressing these questions we will draw on various disciplines, including political science, international relations, history, theology, philosophy, and sociology.
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