INAF-423 The Politics of International Religious Freedom
Fall for 2007-2008
Religion is assuming an increasingly critical role in international affairs. Although the “secularization theory” holds that faith will diminish with the advance of modernity, religious actors and communities have become major players in the 21st century. It is perhaps fortuitous that the United States is the only country in the world with an official policy of advancing international religious freedom (IRF). This course will examine the politics of U.S. IRF policy, its origins and performance to date, and its prospects for development. Along the way it will explore the attitudes about religion and religious freedom which have helped to mold the policy. It will ask whether U.S. strategies have reduced religious persecution, or advanced religious freedom, and what impact they have had on terrorism and the American freedom agenda in the greater Middle East. It will examine the extent to which IRF policy has helped U.S. diplomacy engage a world increasingly influenced by faith.
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