HS 243F — Religion Identity and Conflict
Meets for one-half semester and yields half-course credit.
Examines the role that religious identity can play in both the escalation and mitigation of conflict. Students will study the role that ideology, belief, values, and faith-based relationships can play in developing and legitimizing, or in transforming and resolving, deeply rooted conflict dynamics. The focus of this course will be on both integration of religious identity factors into conflict analysis and an introduction to faith-based interventions skills, used by religious actors to foster coexistence. During the course, we will explore different types of contemporary conflict in which religion functions as a conflict driver, including how to understand and handle conflicts perpetrated by extremist religious groups. We will also explore the diversity of faith-based reconciliation processes (such as hospitality, healing ritual, apology, etc.) as well as the kinds of roles performed by a wide variety of religious actors (education, advocacy, mediation, dialogue facilitation, etc.). Examples and case studies will be drawn from a wide variety of religious traditions and diverse cultures. In addition to those cases presented in the readings and by the professor, each student will be required to select cases on which to make a class presentation and write a paper. The purpose of these assignments, and the course in general, is to provide students the opportunity to assess concrete conflict situations in which religious identity is a factor, know the potential contribution that faith-based actors can make to coexistence, and evaluate how best to function in faith-based peacebuilding roles and reconciliation processes that interest them. Usually offered every year.