Islam has for centuries been Europe’s neighbor and cultural contestant with a history of conflict and co-existence. Since September 11 there has been increasing talk of a “clash of civilizations,” but globalization has also created an interdependency of faiths which requires greater cooperation, understanding, and dialogue. This course investigates the importance of understanding religion in the world today and seeks to offer a broad perspective of the multifarious definitions of religion. More specifically, the course will focus comparatively on the relations between religion and state in Islam and Christianity, and consider whether it is possible to separate the world into monolithic entities called “Islam” and the “West.” With the growing presence of Muslims in large numbers in Europe and the U.S., we will examine the meaning, challenges, and possibilities of not two separate entities but one—“Islam IN the West.”
This course may also be registered as HST or MES or PSC 368.