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SAM5020: Maps and Key Issues: Case Studies of Religion in Contemporary Society

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General information | Course requirements | Final assessment | Course objective and content | Literature 

Person responsible for the course:Gina Lende (
Credit points (ECTS):10
Start of studies:Autumn
Study programme:Master's degree (2 years) - Master in Religion in Contemporary Society
Department:Department of Education, Religion and Society
Examination support material permitted:ALLE

Examination dates/written assignment deadlines

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1 Final deadline to withdraw from examination

Examination typeDate / DeadlineWithdrawal deadline 1
Home exam2021-11-25 25. Nov 20212021-11-01 1. Nov 2021
Hand-out date:18. Nov 2021
Time for hand-out:09:00
Submission date:25. Nov 2021
Submission deadline:12:00
Duration:1 weeks
Release date for results:16. Dec 2021

General information

SAM5020 Maps and Key Issues: Case Studies of Religion in Contemporary Society provides two key forms of knowledge:
Firstly, a map: Empirical and analytical overviews of global religion today will be studied, exploring dominant global trends as well as local variations and characteristics in different parts of the world.
Secondly, the course focuses on a selection of exemplary studies of the roles and dynamics of religion in contemporary society, giving an in-depth insight into key themes, controversies and developments through inter-disciplinary approaches.
Students will analyze and discuss present-day themes and issues through studying different kinds of material through a variety of relevant methods for research on religion in society, such as quantitative studies, interview and observation studies, theoretical argumentation and interpretive readings of cultural materials and key political, ideological and theological discourses and texts.
The case studies will be grouped in substantive themes that exemplify a range of issues of interest in research on contemporary religion, such as:
  • religion, democracy, and prejudice
  • religion, vulnerability and security
  • religion, violence, and peace
  • religion, gender, and family
  • religion, climate, and economy
  • religion, identity, and populism
Two of these themes will be addressed in a given semester. The chosen themes will be in line with ongoing research at MF, and the themes will change regularly, e.g., in two-year cycles.
The course will aim at providing the students with substantive knowledge of key controversies and tensions involving religion in society, as well as the development of familiarity with the craft of research.
SAM5020 Maps and Key Issues: Case Studies of Religion in Contemporary Society is an obligatory course in the Master’s program in Contemporary Religion.

Course requirements

In order to receive a final assessment, the student must:
  • take active part in a minimum of 75% of the formal teaching activities
  • write an essay on a given topic (1200-1500 words). To be submitted in Canvas by a given deadline
  • participate in the electronic evaluation of the course if such evaluation is stipulated in the relevant term
When course requirements are not fulfilled, this will count as one examination attempt, unless the student withdraws before the set deadline (1 May/November).

Final assessment

To gain credit for the course the student must fulfill all the requirements and pass a home exam (one week, 3500-4500 words). The exam is assessed with grades A-F.
To gain credits for the course the student must fulfill the course requirements.

Course objective and content

The student has:
  • thorough knowledge of dominant global trends of religions and religiosity
  • thorough knowledge of selected local variations and particularities of contemporary religion in society
  • thorough knowledge of selected key issues and debates concerning the public role of religion in contemporary society
  • good knowledge and critical awareness of how different scholarly and disciplinary approaches to the study of religion in contemporary society may interact, supplementing and/or contradicting each other
The student can:
  • identify and make use of different kinds of academic material and methodologies in the research of particular issues concerning the impact of religion in society
  • write an academic essay on contemporary controversial issues related to religion in society
  • participate in discussions and other classroom activities, displaying awareness of her/his positionality within the larger guild of academic studies of religion
  • apply academic concepts and theories to analyze, interpret and discuss religion in contemporary society


To access electronic literature when you are not at MF:

  • Afridi, M. (2015). Nostalgia and memory in Jewish-Muslim encounters. Cross currents, 65(3), p. 346-356. Library. Hentet fra
  • Bar, E. (2015). The nexus of enmity: Ideology, global politics and identity in the twenty-first century. Cross currents, 65(3), p. 392-400. Library. Hentet fra
  • Berridge, W. J. (2019). Islamism and the instrumentalisation og conspiracism. I A. Dyrendal, D. G. Robertson & E. Asprem (Ed.), Handbook of conspiracy theory and contemporary religion (p. 303-320). Leiden,Boston: Brill. Library (Compendium)
  • Butler, J., Gambetti, Z. & Sabsay, L. (Ed.) (2016). Vulnerability in resistance (p. 1-27, 52-75). Durham, N.C: Duke University Press. Library (Compendium)
  • De Poli, B. (2019). Anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist conspiracism in the Arab world. I A. Dyrendal, D. G. Robertson & E. Asprem (Ed.), Handbook of conspiracy theory and contemporary religion (p. 321-342). Leiden,Boston: Brill. Library (Compendium)
  • Dobkowski, M. N. (2015). Islamophobia and anti-Semitism: Shared prejudice or singular social pathologies. Cross currents, 65(3), p. 321-333. Library. Hentet fra
  • Dyrendal, A. (2019). Conspiracy Theories and the Study of Religion(s): What We are Talking about, and Why it is Important. I A. Dyrendal, D. G. Robertson & E. Asprem (Ed.), Handbook of conspiracy theory and contemporary religion (p. 19-47). Leiden,Boston: Brill. Library (Compendium)
  • Grzymala-Busse, A. (2012). Why Comparative Politics Should Take Religion (More) Seriously. Annual Review of Polictical Science, 15(1), p. 421-442. (Compendium).
  • Herbert, D. (2009). Religion and Civil Society. I J. Haynes (Ed.), Routledge handbook of religion and politics (p. 231-245). London: Routledge. Library (Compendium)
  • Krondorfer, B. (2015). Introduction: Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia: Twins or category mistake?. Cross currents, 65(3), p. 292-296. Library. Hentet fra
  • Lenz, C. & Moe, V. (2020). Negotiations of Antisemitism and Islamophobia in Group Conversations among Jews and Muslims. I H. Christhard & M. Vibeke (Ed.), The Shifting Boundaries of Prejudice (p. 297-323). Scandinavian University Press (Universitetsforlaget). Library. Hentet fra
  • Norris, P. & Inglehart, R. (2011). Sacred and secular: Religion and politics worldwide (2. ed., p. 3-133). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Library
  • Pew Research Center, . (2017). The changing global religious landscape. Hentet 2020-05-29 fra
  • Philcott, D. (2009). Has the Study of Global Politics Found Religion?. Annual Review of Polictical Science, 12, p. 183-202. (Compendium).
  • Riedl, R. B. (2012). Transforming Politics, Dynamic Religion: Religion's Political Impact in Contemporary Africa. African Conflict and Peace building Review, 2(2), p. 29-50. Library (Compendium).
  • Robertson, D. G., Asprem, E. & Dyrendal, A. (2019). Introducing the field: Conspiracy theory in, about and as religion. I A. Dyrendal, D. G. Robertson & E. Asprem (Ed.), Handbook of conspiracy theory and contemporary religion (p. 1-18). Leiden,Boston: Brill. Library (Compendium)
  • Woodhead, L., Partridge, C. H. & Kawanami, H. (Ed.) (2016). Religions in the modern world: Traditions and transformations (3. ed., p. 1-112, 173-299, 431-510, 551-570). London: Routledge. Library
  • Zick, A., Küpper, B. & Hövermann, A. (2011). Intolerance, predjudice and discrimination: A European report. (p. 15-42). Tübingen: Universitätsbibliothek Tübingen. Library. Hentet fra

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