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Governing Religion: Global Challenges and Comparative Approaches

Explore the relationship between religions and governments and learn how religions have come to be governed across the world.

3,081 enrolled on this course

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  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

Explore ways of governing religion and religious diversity today

On this course you will consider different models of state-religion relations, reviewing examples from both European and non-European countries.

You will learn how different models have emerged out of historical processes of nation formation (including post-colonial independence, redrawing of state boundaries after a major political transition or through an evolutionary process of institutional and value change).

You will also consider your own experiences, and debate ideal models for governing religion and religious diversity in today’s world.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 13 seconds Religious diversity appears to be one of the toughest challenges that European societies face today. Countries around the world deal with it in different ways, aiming at and achieving diverse levels of integration. Thus, many questions arise when analysing the different approaches. For example, what drives the relationship between the state and religious institutions around the world? How are the historic privileges of the majority religion in a country, if any, adjusted to meet the requests of other religions and beliefs? For example, concerning dress codes, places of worship, public holidays, and dietary requirements. Which actors are best placed to make decisions on the many issues that arise in accommodating such diverse needs? And what can societies learn from each other?

Skip to 1 minute and 8 seconds Interested in learning more on this issue? Then join our course. Take the opportunity to learn about secularism, pluralism, state neutrality, and religious tolerance. Make the most of our international experts and of the many interesting case studies. Analyse policies and practises in place and form your own opinion on how religious diversity should be governed in our increasingly globalised world. Sign up now.

What topics will you cover?

1 – Introduction And Welcome – Why is religion and religious diversity often seen as a problem today?

2 – What are the dominant models for governing religion in Europe today? What are their strengths and weaknesses?

3 – How are state-religion relationships regulated in the MENA region (middle East and North Africa)?

4 – How is religion and religious diversity governed in south and southeast Asia?

5 – What do we learn from the European and Asian experiences in dealing with religious diversity? How can we learn from one another?

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Investigate current debates on state-religion relations
  • Reflect on different countries and different regimes for governing religious diversity
  • Discuss critically the notion of secularism and the idea of a neutral state that governs religion by ‘tolerating’ its presence or indeed by excluding it from the public space
  • Assess models in which religion is given a prominent role in the public space and religious diversity is accommodated precisely because religion is seen as an important matter
  • Compare the experiences of different countries and identify the ingredients of a religious governance regime that accommodates both believers and non believers and makes room for religious diversity

Who is the course for?

This course is for undergraduate and graduates studying sociology, political science or anthropology. It might also be useful for civil society activists, journalists and anyone with an interest in religious diversity and the relationship between government and religion.

This course is part of the research project GREASE: Radicalisation Secularism and the Governance of Religious Diversity: Bringing together European and Asian Perspectives funded by the European Commission, Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement number 770640. The content of this MOOC represents only the views of the GREASE consortium and is its sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.

Who will you learn with?

Anna Triandafyllidou is Canada Excellence Research Chair in Migration and Integration at Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada.

Tina is a Research Associate at the Global Governance Programme, Robert Schuman Center for Advanced Studies of the European University Institute working primarily on religious diversity governance.

Who developed the course?

European University Institute (EUI)

We are the European University Institute (EUI), the leading institute in Europe dedicated to social sciences and humanities. Founded in 1972 by the six original members of the then European Communities, the EUI has earned a reputation as a transnational hub of research and higher learning.

GREASE Project Consortium

GREASE: Radicalisation, Secularism and the Governance of Religion: Bringing together European and Asian Perspectives, is an international research project funded by the Horizon 2020 programme.

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  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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