INAF-438 Religion, Ethics and World Affairs
Fall for 2017-2018
Spring for 2017-2018
The last several decades have seen a resurgence of religion in world politics. With the end of the cold war in 1989, the attacks of September 11, 2001, and the acceleration of globalization, issues with a religious and ethical dimension have moved up the national and international agenda. Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; the Arab Spring; the rise of religious movements with a political agenda in Egypt, India, the US, and many other countries; the explosive success and territorial gains of the Islamic State in recent months; immigration in Europe; and “culture wars” in the United States and around the world – these are only some of the issues and areas in which religion plays a key role alongside other cultural, economic, political, and geopolitical forces.
Over the course of the semester we will explore these and other developments at the intersection of religion, ethics, and world politics. Among our central questions will be: What is the relationship among religious and political values, actors, and issues? How do states seek to govern religion and how do religious communities engage the state? And how do political, ethical, and religious forces frame global challenges of peace, democracy, and human rights?
We will address these broad questions through a close reading of texts, class discussions and debates, and in-depth case studies. Although we will meet only once a week, on Thursday afternoon, the course will have a twice-a-week rhythm. As a rule, every Tuesday by 8 p.m., you will submit to me by email a 200-250 word reflection, in response to one of the discussion questions on the syllabus. Please write or paste your reflection directly into the body of your email. I will then circulate the collected reflections as part of the required reading for class. Our class time will usually be divided into two equal parts, each devoted to a particular topic.
This course serves as a capstone seminar for the new School of Foreign Service Certificate on Religion, Ethics, and World Affairs, which is administered by the Berkley Center (

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Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None

Please note this course is held at Berkley Center, 3307 M St, Suite 200
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
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