Religion and Conflict

Discipline: Religion General
Instructor: Tueller
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 1050
End: 1205
Field Work: Day 1 - Cape Town - Friday, 28 March | South Africa
Prerequisites: None Download Syllabus

This course examines religious identity as a factor in the escalation and moderation of conflict.  Students will study how faith, ideology, values, and relationships play a role in developing and legitimizing, as well as transforming and resolving, conflict.  During the course, students will study how to understand conflicts perpetrated by religious groups.   By exploring the diversity of faith-based processes and the variety of religious, the course seeks to elicit analysis and empathy for victims and perpetrators of violence.  Students can take advantage of considering concrete conflict situations while aboard the MV Explorer, visiting the religious sites of tension and resolution in Japan, Singapore, India and Morocco.  Indeed, the experience of the citizens of South Africa after the dismantling of apartheid in the government-sponsored Truth and Reconciliation Commissions will be a prime case-study in the course – making for an experience rich in educational purpose as we round the Cape of Good Hope and visit Cape Town for four days.  As Noble Laureate, the Reverend Desmond Tutu serves as a Trustee for ISE/SAS and has often taught aboard the ship, this class can continue this legacy.   Faithful people from different religions can coexist.  We will evaluate how to function in peace building roles and reconciliation processes.

Field Work

Country: South Africa
Day: 1 - Cape Town - Friday, 28 March

Our field lab will take place in Cape Town. Cape Town is a multiracial city that includes vibrant Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities. Islam was introduced by slaves brought over 300 years ago from Indonesia. The Jewish community traces its history to religious persecution in Europe. An estimated 80 percent of South Africans are Christians, and St. George’s Anglican Cathedral was the site of much interfaith protest during the struggle against apartheid. Guided by South African peace activist Terry Crawford-Browne (a former SAS professor), the walking tour of downtown Cape Town will include a mosque in Bo-Kaap, the Jewish Center, the Slave Lodge and St. George’s Cathedral. The visit to the Cathedral also includes an opportunity to walk the labyrinth (praying with your feet) to meditate upon the experiences. Students will develop an academic outline of their activities and a summary conclusion, pointing to the significance and connections between religious life and societal changes in the Republic of South Africa. Academic Objectives:  

  1. Connect the book learning (Appleby text and Tutu memoir) to the actual people and places in Cape Town
  2. Learn the methods of peace building in South Africa
  3. Witness the beliefs and actions of Cape Town believers today as they live in a multi-cultural environment.