Religious Fundamentalism in the Contemporary World

General Information
Number of Hours: 
Thursday 9:45 - 11:15
Preliminary requirements: 

Basic knowledge of the contemporary history, world cultures, geography, politics and changes in global political landscape.

Course Description: 
  1. Introduction.
  2. The return of God. The religion in global era.
  3. What is fundamentalism? Tradition vs. modernization. Identity. 
  4. Christian fundamentalism: American protestant roots and nowadays evolution.
  5. Fundamentalist Movements in Islam. Radicalization and revivalism.
  6. Jewish Fundamentalist Movements. Orthodox, Hasidic, Haredi.
  7. Hindu Nationalism and Fundamentalism. State and faith.
  8. Buddhist Fundamentalism.
  9. Religious Violence. Sacral aspects of warfare, concept of “Holy War” in individual religious traditions. Modern conflicts.
  10. Comparative Fundamentalisms
Aims of the course: 

W1. Student understands and is able to describe the norms and values of international relations, relationships between religion and politics in IR, process of globalization.

W2. Student is able to analyse and evaluate processes of globalization, dimensions of global processes, understands the key concepts such as fundamentalism, modernisation, secularisation and identity.

W3. Student explains issues of the threats and challenges connected with religious radicalization along with its politicization.

W4. Student knows the influence of religious factor on the national and international level of the security, in the context of the risks and challenges.


U1. Student has the skills to evaluate and describe the essence of cultural conflict in the context of religious diversity, differences between major global religions, movements against global culture.

U2. Student possess the ability to present the processes growing group identification, religious nationalism, religious movements.

U3. Student has the skills to evaluate and describe media phenomena of stereotypization of religion, ethics and war.

U4. Student is able to properly operate the main theoretical concepts use them to explain the role of religion in contemporary international relations, cultural conflicts.

K1. Student is qualified to formulate and verify his/her own opinion based on knowledge about the religious diversity of the world, how do religious fundamentalist describe themselves, how are they described by others.

K2. Student is able to discuss about the role of the religious movements, fundamentalism, religious motivated terrorism using the multidisciplinary approaches, analysing historical background and political conditions.

K.3. Student understands the importance of culture and religion in forming group identity, is able to differentiate between religious extremism and fundamentalist piety, by putting the phenomena of radical religious movements  into global context.

Teaching methods: 

Seminar, text analysis, discussion, work in groups, case studies, presentation,  paper.

Evaluation & Completion: 

Participation in the discussion.

Preparation of 20 minute presentation focused on issues of the topics, from the list given by teacher. 

Final discussion

Basic Literature: 

Armstrong K. 2000. The Battle for God: Fundamentalism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. New York.

Bruce S. 2008. Fundamentalism. Cambridge.

Juergensmeyer M. 2000, Terror in the mind of God. The Global Rise of Religious Violence (Comparative Studies in Religion and Society), Bekley.

Tibi B.,2002,The Challenge of Fundamentalism: Political Islam and the New World Disorder, London. 

Additional Literature: 

Beyer P. 1994. Religion and globalization, London.

Brekke T. 2012. Fundamentalism : prophecy and protest in an age of globalization. Cambridge.

Jones, D., Rainsborough, M., Smith, M.L.R. 2014. Sacred Violence. Political Religion in a Secular Age. New York

Ruthven M. 2007. Fundamentalism. A very short introduction. Oxford.