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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Fall 2003

T C 357 • Religious Sectarianism and Civil Violence in the Modern World-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
40665 MW
3:00 PM-4:30 PM
BAT 207

Course Description

In the modern world, a supposedly secular age, religious strife has taken an ever more murderous turn, destroying civil societies in countries as widely separated as Ireland, Lebanon, India, and Sri Lanka. From the partition of India in 1947 into the two states of India and Pakistan, to the civil war in Lebanon, religious differences have become the basis for political and civil strife. This course seeks to understand the interaction of religion and politics in a number of societies, with readings that are historical, literary, religious, and political. We will look at theories of religious fundamentalism, its relationship to political and economic modernization, and then examine a number of cases where religious differences have led to civil violence. The possible case studies are many: India/Pakistan, Palestine/Israel, Sri Lanka, the Indian Punjab, Kashmir, Cyprus, Lebanon, Northern Ireland, the former Yugoslav republics, etc. It would be impossible (not to mention depressing) to try and cover all these in class, but students may choose to study cases not covered in class in their research papers. The destructive attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in September 2001 are very hard to place into perspective, but perhaps some of these case studies will help in that endeavor.

About the professor: Professor Minault is an expert on the history of modern India, and has written extensively on women's rights in India, Hindu-Muslim relations, and the cultural history of Islam in India. She teaches courses in history and Asian studies, including the History of Culture of India since 1750, Muslim India (1000-1800 CE), European Imperialism in Asia, Women in South Asian Societies, and Gandhi and Gandhism. Her books include: the Khilafat Movement: Religious Symbolism and Political Mobilization in India (Columbia University Press, 1982), and most recently: Secluded Scholars: Women's Education and Muslim Social Reform in Colonial India (Oxford University Press, 1998). She has lived for about 10 years in the various countries of the Indian subcontinent, and adopted her daughter in India. Her hobbies include swimming, listening to all sorts of music, singing in the Austin Civic Chorus, and renovating her Hyde Park bungalow.

Grading Policy

This course contains a substantial writing component. Requirements for the class include extensive readings, class discussion, occasional oral reports in class (ca. 2 per student) that should then be written up and handed in as short (3-4 pp.) papers, a midterm book report (ca. 8 pp.), and a final research paper (ca. 15 pp.). class participation 10% mid-term paper 25% oral reports and short papers 25% final research paper 40%


Mark Juergensmeyer, Terror in the Mind of God Gyanendra Pandey, Remembering Partition Thomas Friedman, From Beirut to Jerusalem Richard English, Armed Struggles: A History of the IR John S. Hawley, ed., Fundamentalism and Gender For the book report, a selection of novels or memoirs


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