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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Spring 2005

GOV 365N • Law/Religious Extremism in Democracy - W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
36462 TTh
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
BUR 136

Course Description

Contains a substantial writing component and fufills part of the basic education requirement in writing. Course number may be repeated for credit when topics vary.

We see a proliferation of religious groups such as Al Queda, Chrisitan fundamentalists, Hindu nationalists, Settler Jews, Hamas - all fighting to capture the state and impose their notions of religious purity on the citizens. These movements are not confined to authoritarian systems but are also prevalent in multi-religious democracies. How do democracies promote or deter such movements? We will analyze the definitions of religious extremism, secularism, the different ways in which these states deal with religion in the public sphere, and the manner in which law and its enforcer, the judiciary play a role in promoting or curbing it. We will examine cases drawn from the USA, India, Israel, Great Britain and Canada.

Grading Policy

Attendance is compulsory. Students must read the assigned texts prior to the class and participate in the discussions. In addition, each student will present a critical review of an assigned reading in class.

Class Participation and attendance: 10% Critical Review (2 pages): 10% Mid-term: 20% Two papers (8-10 pages each): 60% Essay topics must be discussed with the professor at the beginning of the semester.


Rosenblum, Nancy. "Obligations of Citizenship and Demands of Faith." (This book contains a superb set of articles on the way pluralist democracies deal with religion.) Course packet


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