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.

SAM5135: Religion and Contentious Politics

Time schedule | PDF-version for print

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:Spring
Study programme:Master's degree (2 years) - Master in Religion in Contemporary Society
Department:Department of Education, Religion and Society

Examination dates/written assignment deadlines

Click on a row to show more information.

1 Final deadline to withdraw from examination

Examination typeDate / DeadlineWithdrawal deadline 1
Home exam2021-06-01 1. Jun 20212021-05-01 1. May 2021
Hand-out date:25. May 2021
Time for hand-out:09:00
Submission date: 1. Jun 2021
Submission deadline:12:00
Duration:1 weeks
Release date for results:22. Jun 2021

General information

SAM5135 will provide an understanding of the multiple roles of religion in contentious politics today. Contentious politics includes themes such as rallies, violent conflict, peacebuilding and various forms of popular political mobilizations. This course will discuss key themes and concepts to understand contemporary interactions of religion and politics.
Case studies from diverse regions will be discussed, including transnational networks and actions. The course will focus on the use of scriptures, traditions, networks and ideas in different religious traditions, and how these motivate political action- including a focus on contextual conditions for action. Perspectives from the social sciences will be examined to explain, problematize and detect patterns and themes in how religion goes political in our contemporary world.

Course requirements

To be qualified for final assessment the student must
  • Take 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 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 SAM5135 the student must fulfill all the requirements and take a home exam (1 week, 3500-4500 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 contentious politics
  • a good knowledge of theories, and key concepts, in the study of religion and politics
  • a good knowledge of dynamics, themes and patterns in contemporary religious political movements
  • a good knowledge of selected case studies
The student can:
  • identify themes and patterns in how contemporary religions relate to contentious politics.
  • use relevant theory and concrete examples to critically discuss and analyse the role of religion in politics today.
  • write an academic essay on contemporary issues related to religion and politics


To access electronic literature when you are not at MF:

  • Akbaba, Y. (2019). Protest and Religion: An Overview. I Oxford research encyclopedia of politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.. Hentet fra
  • Appleby, R. S. (2012). Religious Violence: The Strong, the Weak, and the Pathological. Practical Matters, (5), p. 1-25. Library. Hentet fra
  • Bayat, A. (2007). Islamism and the Politics of Fun. Public Culture, 19(3), p. 433-459. Library (Compendium). Hentet fra
  • Bellin, E. (2008). Faith in Politics: New Trends in the Study of Religion and Politics. World Politics, 60(2), p. 315-347. Library, 10863338. Hentet fra
  • Brewer, J. D., Higgins, G. I. & Teeney, F. (2010). Religion and Peacemaking: A Conceptualization. Sociology, 44(6), p. 1019-1037. 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)
  • Davis, N. J. & Robinson, R. V. (2009). Overcoming Movement Obstacles by the Religiously Orthodox: The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Shas in Israel, Comunione e Liberazione in Italy, and the Salvation Army in the United States. American Journal of Sociology, 114(5), p. 1302-1349. Library, 15375390. 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). Tamil Militancy in Sri Lanka and the Role of Religion. I Oxford research encyclopedia of religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Compendium). Hentet fra
  • Gunning, J. & Jackson, R. (2011). What's so ?religious? about ?religious terrorism??. Critical Studies on Terrorism, 4(3), p. 369-388. Library (Compendium). Hentet fra
  • Haynes, J. (2013). An introduction to international relations and religion (2. ed., p. 1-444). Harlow: Pearson. Library
  • Huntington, S. P. (1993). The clash of civilizations?. Foreign affairs, 72(3), p. 22-49. Library. Hentet fra
  • International Crisis Group, . (2005). Understanding Islamism (nr. 37). Cairo/Brussels: International Crisis Group.. Hentet 37 fra
  • Krämer, G. (2013). Modern but not secular: Religion, identity and the ordre public in the Arab Middle East. International Sociology, 28(6), p. 629-644. (Compendium). Hentet fra
  • Loimeier, R. (2016). Islamic Reform in Twentieth-Century Africa (p. 1-63). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Library. Hentet fra
  • Marshall, R. (2016). Destroying arguments and captivating thoughts: Spiritual warfare prayer as global praxis. Journal of Religious and Political Practice, 2(1), p. 92-113. Library (Compendium). Hentet fra
  • McAlister, M. (2019). Evangelical Populist Internationalism and the Politics of Persecution. The Review of Faith & International Affairs, 17(3), p. 105-117. Library (Compendium). Hentet fra
  • McAlister, M. (2014). US Evangelicals and the Politics of Slave Redemption as Religious Freedom in Sudan. South Atlantic Quarterly, 113(1), p. 87-108. Library (Compendium). Hentet fra
  • Steen-Johnsen, T. (2016). State and politics in religious peacebuilding (p. 1-56). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Library
  • Steen-Johnsen, T. (2020). The rhetoric of love in religious peacebuilding. Journal of Contemporary Religion, 35(3), p. 433-448. Library. Hentet fra
  • Tayob, A. (2012). Politics and Islamization in African Public Spheres. Islamic Africa, 3(2), p. 139-168. Library, 21540993. Hentet fra
  • Turner, B. S. (2017). Multiple Modernities and Political Millenarianism: Dispensational Theology, Nationalism, and American Politics. I P. Michel, A. Possamai & B. S. Turner (Ed.), Religions, Nations, and Transnationalism in Multiple Modernities (1st ed. 2017. ed., p. 135-151). New York: Palgrave Macmillan US : Imprint: Palgrave Macmillan. Library. Hentet fra
  • Wohlrab-Sahr, M. & Burchardt, M. (2012). Multiple Secularities: Toward a Cultural Sociology of Secular Modernities. Comparative Sociology, 11(6), p. 875-909. Library (Compendium). Hentet fra
  • Årsheim, H. (2017). Internal affairs? Assessing NGO engagement for religious freedom. I A. Stensvold (Ed.), Religion, state and the United Nations: Value politics/ (p. 79-94). London: Routledge. Library (Compendium)

> PDF version for printing