MA Religion in Global Politics
Start of programme: October 2014
Mode of Attendance: Full Time or Part Time
Who is this programme for?:
The programme is designed to appeal to policy-makers, analysts, journalists and researchers in either international, national or regional institutions and organisations engaged in policy formation, inter-religious dialogue and community development, social work, development, conflict resolution, peace building or diversity management. It will also provide a solid basis from which to pursue doctoral study. The programme is intended to enable professional development in the area of ‘Religion and Politics’ as well to provide pre-doctoral research training in social scientific analyses of ‘Religion and Politics’.
The current global geopolitical landscape wherein ‘religion’ has become a force to be reckoned with has demanded a reassessment of once predominant understandings of processes of secularisation, as well as the meanings of, and tensions inherent within, secular assumptions and secularist positions. The notion that there is no singular secularism, but rather a plurality of secularisms, and of religion as an invention of European modernity and colonialist exigencies are two of many emerging efforts to reconceptualise the meanings of religion and the secular and the entangled relationship between them.
The MA Religion in Global Politics offers an opportunity to examine these questions and issues at an advanced level by studying the complex and protean nature of the relationship between ‘religion’ and ‘politics in the histories and contemporary political contexts (both national and international) of the regions of the Asia, Africa and the Middle East. A core objective is to challenge the Eurocentrism of current debates around secularism, secularisation, the nature of the public sphere within modernity, by indicating the plurality and contested nature of conceptions of both religion and the secular when considered in a global framework.
The programme is unique: it has a regional focus and breadth rarely addressed in similar programmes in the subject area, draws on a wealth of multi- and interdisciplinary perspectives (Law, International Relations and Politics, Philosophy, Development, Anthropology, Migration and Diaspora Studies, and Gender Studies amongst others) and has a rigorous theoretical basis built in, such that students will be familiarised with the current state-of-the-art debates regarding religion in the public sphere, secularisms, postsecularism, and political theology. The range of course options available on the programme is unparalleled ensuring that students will benefit from a truly interdisciplinary, intellectually rigorous, and regionally focused programme.
The programme’s inter-disciplinary focus aims to provide students with advanced training in the area of religion and politics through the study of a wide range of theoretical and regional perspectives. It will serve primarily as a platform for professional development and further (MPhil/PhD) graduate research. The programme will offer students
- Advanced knowledge and understanding of significant approaches, methods, debates, and theories in the field of religion and politics, with particular reference to the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East;
- Advanced skills in researching and writing about topics in and theorisations of religion and politics;
- Advanced skills in the presentation or communication of knowledge and understanding of topics in religion and politics as they pertain to regional, international, and transnational contexts.
SOAS has general minimum entrance requirements for registration for a postgraduate taught degree. However, due consideration is given to the applicants’ individual profiles, and to the fact that great potential for the successful undertaking of the academic study of the field is not necessarily acknowledged or certified through the applicant’s academic qualifications. Interviews can be arranged for applicants who do not meet the minimum entrance requirements, and early contact with the programme convenor is advisable.
Students take courses to the value of 4 units over the length of their degree. This will include a compulsory core course and dissertation.
Two compulsory courses
- Dissertation in Religion in Global Politics - 15PSRC987 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Religion in Global Politics: Theories and Themes - 15PSRC174 (1 Unit) - Full Year
Study of Religions units
- Contemporary Islamism in South Asia: Readings in Sayyid Abu al-A'la Mawdudi - 15PSRC170 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2014/2015
- Christianity and Social Change in Sub Saharan Africa - 15PSRC157 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2014/2015
- Critical Theory and the Study of Religions - 15PSRC037 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2014/2015
- Death and Religion - 15PSRC162 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2014/2015
- East Asian Buddhist Thought - 15PSRH018 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Eastern and Orthodox Christianity - 15PSRC055 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- History and Doctrines of Indian Buddhism - 15PSRC059 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Jainism: History, Doctrine and the Contemporary World - 15PSRC024 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Modern Muslim Thinkers from South Asia - 15PSRC169 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Muslim Britain: Perspectives and Realities - 15PSRC158 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Non-Violence in Jain Scriptures, Philosophy and Law - 15PSRC062 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2014/2015
- Religion in Britain: Faith Communities and Civil Society - 15PSRC163 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2014/2015
- Religions and Development - 15PSRH049 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Religion, Nationhood and Ethnicity in Judaism - 15PSRH030 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2014/2015
- Religious Practice in Japan: Texts, Rituals and Believers - 15PSRC071 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Text and Context in Classical Hinduism - 15PSRC007 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2014/2015
- The Great Tradition of Taoism - 15PSRH036 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2014/2015
- Theory and Method in the Study of Religion - 15PSRC010 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- The Holocaust in Theology, Literature and Art - 15PSRH028 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2014/2015
- African and Asian Cultures in Britain - 15PANH009 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- African and Asian Diasporas in the Modern World - 15PANH010 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- African Philosophy (Postgraduate) - 15PAFH008 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Afrophone Philosophies (Postgraduate) - 15PAFH009 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Comparative International Political Thought - 15PPOH021 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Conflict, rights and justice - 15PPOH018 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Culture and Conflict in the Himalaya - 15PSAC291 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Diaspora Contexts and Visual Culture - 15PARH042 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2014/2015
- Gender in the Middle East - 15PGNH001 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Gender, Armed Conflict and International Law - 15PLAH035 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2014/2015
- Gender, law and the family in the history of modern South Asia - 15PHIH030 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2014/2015
- Gendering migration & diasporas - 15PGNH002 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Human rights and Islamic law - 15PLAC150 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- International Political Communication - 15PMSH009 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2014/2015
- Israel, the Arab World and the Palestinians - 15PNMC038 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Mediated Culture in the Middle East: Politics and Communications - 15PMSH003 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Modern Trends in Islam - 15PNMC228 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Queer Politics in Asia, Africa and the Middle East - 15PPOH020 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Religions on the move: New Currents and Emerging Trends in Global Religion - 15PANH055 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Representing Conflict: A Cross-Cultural and Inter Disciplinary Approach - 15PARH039 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Taiwan's politics and cross-strait relations - 15PPOC252 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- The Making of the Contemporary World - 15PHIH035 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- The Politics of Culture in Contemporary South Asia - 15PSAC314 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Transnational Communities and Diasporic Media:Networking, Connectivity, Identity - 15PMSH004 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Zionist Ideology - 15PNMC035 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Violence, justice and the politics of memory - 15PPOH019 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
Teaching & Learning
Teaching & Learning
Students are required to follow taught units to the equivalent of three full courses and to submit a dissertation of 10,000 words. Courses are assessed through a variety of methods including short and long essays, examinations, oral presentations, and response papers. An overall percentage mark is awarded for each course, based on the marks awarded for individual assessment items within the courses. The MA may be awarded at Distinction, Merit or Pass level in accordance with the common regulations for MA/MSc at SOAS.
The MA Religion in Global Politics is designed both as a professional development qualification and as a platform preparing students for doctoral research.
Programme Learning Outcomes
- Inter-and multidisciplinary specialist understanding of the relationship between religion/secularism and the public sphere;
- Knowledge of the comparative and historical contexts of religion and secularism;
- Theories and practices of criticism and analysis in relation to core topics in the field of religion and politics in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe;
- Understanding of the disciplinary range of the field and the necessity of engagement with the topic of religion for the understanding of politics;
- Familiarity with various frameworks and key concepts that enable the integration of a variety of perspectives around the problematic of the role of religion in the public sphere and of the interrelationship of state and religious structures, values, and commitments.
Intellectual (thinking) skills
- Precision in assessment of evidence and argumentation;
- Capacity to discuss theoretical and epistemological issues in an articulate, informed, and intellectual manner;
- Precision and critical acumen in the assessment of scholarly arguments and interpretations;
- The ability to assess evidence and arguments independently;
- Effective presentation of complex theoretical arguments and their relationship to empirical data;
- Theoretical and regional expertise in order to develop and apply self-reflexive approaches to dominant issues in the comparative study of religion and politics.
Subject-based practical skills
- Academic and professional writing to the highest standards;
- IT-based information retrieval, processing and data organisation;
- Fieldwork and archival research techniques;
- Research project design;
- Presentational skills;
- Independent study skills;
- Reflexive learning.
- Problem solving and research skills;
- Oral and written communication;
- Critical and independent thought;
- Synthesising of difficult and wide ranging empirical material;
- Regional specialism;
- Working to deadlines and to high standards of presentation and argumentation;
- Ability to make assessments involving complex factors.
How to apply
How to apply
- How to Apply
- Online Application
- Request a prospectus
- Got a question - use our enquiry form (opens a new window)
- Funding options
- English language requirements
- Tuition Fees
- Admissions Contacts
Application Deadline: 2014-02-28 17:00
A Student's Perspective
Hannah Brower, Smith College
I most enjoyed the diverse course offering and the passion my classmates had for their course. You can find someone interested in just about everything here- and people doing something about it. There is always an academic talk, conference, or exhibition going on, and lecturers are keen to talk about and teach what they know best.