Please note that there may be changes in the course descriptions (including the course literature) and the exam dates before the start of the semester in question. If few students are registered for a course, there may be changes in the lecture and examination types.

In case the corona situation changes, there may be changes in the assessment forms (course requirements and / or exam). Any changes will be announced in the relevant Canvas-room. All students must stay continuously updated on these changes.

SAM5130: Religion, Conflict and Reconciliation

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

Person responsible for the course:Sturla Johan Stålsett (
Credit points (ECTS):10
Start of studies:Spring (irregular)
Study programme:Master's degree (2 years) - Master in Religion, Society and Global Issues
Department:Department of Education, Religion and Society

Examination dates/written assignment deadlines

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1 Final deadline to withdraw from examination

Examination typeDate / DeadlineWithdrawal deadline 1
Take home examination – New and postponed - N.B. Own rules for access.2020-08-25 25. Aug 20202020-08-02 2. Aug 2020
Hand-out date:18. Aug 2020
Time for hand-out:09:00
Submission date:25. Aug 2020
Submission deadline:12:00
Duration:1 weeks
Release date for results:15. Sep 2020

General information

SAM5130 will provide an understanding of the role of religions in today´s world as a source of conflict and as a resource for reconciliation. It will focus on the use of the sacred scriptures in different religious traditions in situations of conflict, and on relevant ethical and theological perspectives. It will further give an introduction into perspectives from the social sciences, and present attempts at creating a common global ethics. The subject will be discussed in light of contemporary examples of conflicts and reconciliations processes.

Course requirements

As a result of the corona situation there may be changes in the assessment forms (course requirements and/or exam) spring semester 2020. Any changes will be announced in the relevant Canvas-room. All students must stay continuously updated on these changes.
To be qualified for final assessment the student must
  • be present at 75 % of the teaching
  • write a book report up to 2,000 words from a limited part of the course syllabus. The topic of the report is selected in cooperation with the professor and is graded pass/fail.
  • participate in the evaluation of the course if such evaluation is stipulated in the relevant semester.
When course requirements are not fulfilled this will count as one examination attempt, unless the student withdraws within the set deadline (1 May/1 November).

Final assessment

To gain credit for the course SAM5130 the student must fulfill all the requirements and take a home examination (1 week, 4000-4400 words). The exam is assessed with grades A-F.  

Course objective and content

The student has:
  • A thorough knowledge of the role of religion in violent political conflicts
  • A thorough knowledge of relevant theories on the actual and potential role of religion in conflict transformation, conflict resolution, peacebuilding and reconciliation.
  • A good knowledge on theories about the role of religion in terrorism
  • A good knowledge of the actual and potential role of interreligious dialogue, practice and religions emotions in peacebuilding.
  • A good knowledge of conflict and violence as subject in the sacred scriptures of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and of the use of sacred scripture and religious traditions in contemporary conflicts
The student can:
  • analyse and discuss various dimensions of political reconciliation, including memory, tolerance, truth, justice, law and forgiveness.
  • identify sources and elements of religious legitimation of conflict and violence in different traditions and contexts.
  • Identify religious resources for conflict transformation, conflict resolution and peacebuilding in different in different traditions and contexts.
  • use relevant theory and concrete examples to critically discuss the role of religion in violent political conflicts today.
  • analyse and discuss critically the role of sacred scriptures and their interpretation in conflicts, and in peace and reconciliation efforts.
  • analyse and discuss the various dimensions of interreligious relations and cooperation in conflicts, and in peace and reconciliation efforts.


To access electronic literature when you are not at MF:
Log in to Oria, or use "External access" in the library's list of databases.

  • Appleby, R. S. (1997). The ambivalence of the sacred: Religion, violence, and reconciliation (p. 207-307). Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield. Library. Hentet fra
  • Cavanaugh, W. T. (2017). Religion, violence, nonsense, and power. I J. R. Lewis (Ed.), The Cambridge companion to religion and terrorism (p. 23-31). Cambridge University Press. Library (Compendium)
  • Dawson, L. L. (2017). Discounting religion in the explanation of homegrown terrorism: A critique. I J. R. Lewis (Ed.), The Cambridge companion to religion and terrorism (p. 32-45). Cambridge University Press. Library (Compendium)
  • Eynikel, E. & Ziaka, A. (Ed.) (2011). Religion and conflict: Essays on the origins of religious conflicts and resolution approaches (p. 17-33, 49-60, 93-107, 161-183). London: Harptree Publishing. Library
  • Fox, J. & Sandler, S. (2004). Bringing religion into international relations (p. 1-179). New York, N.Y.: Palgrave Macmillan. Library. Hentet fra
  • Frydenlund, I. (2013). Canonical ambiguity and differential practices: Buddhism and militarism in contemporary Sri Lanka. I V. Tikhonov & T. Brekke (Ed.), Buddhism and violence: Militarism and Buddhism in modern Asia (p. 95-119). New York: Routledge. Library (Compendium)
  • Frydenlund, I. (2018). The role of religion in Tamil militancy.
  • Huntington, S. P. (1993). The clash of civilizations?. Foreign affairs, 72(3), p. 22-49. Library (Compendium).
  • Ibrahim, J. (1989). The politics of religion in Nigeria: The parameters of the 1987 crisis in Kaduna State. Review of African Political Economy, (45/46), p. 65-82. Library. Hentet fra
  • Juergensmeyer, M. (2017). Terror in the mind of God: The global rise of religious violence (4. ed.). Oakland, Calif.: University of California Press. Library. Hentet fra
  • Kelsay, J. (2006). Islamic tradition and the justice of war. I T. Brekke (Ed.), The ethics of war in Asian civilizations: A comparative perspective (p. 81-110). London: Routledge. Library (Compendium)
  • Svensson, I. (2012). Ending holy wars: Religion and conflict resolution in civil wars. St. Lucia: ReadHowYouWant. Library

> PDF version for printing