EU486      Half Unit
Imagining Religious Violence, Imagining Europe

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Tahir Rashid


This course is available on the MSc in Culture and Conflict in a Global Europe and MSc in Culture and Conflict in a Global Europe (LSE & Sciences Po). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course has a limited number of places (it is controlled access). In previous years we have been able to provide places for all students that apply but that may not continue to be the case.

Course content

Since the late 17th century, a growing body of European intellectual discourse has focused on raising awareness about suffering and evil by secularising it. How has this discourse shaped customary understandings of the relationship between violence and religion and, in so doing, imagined Europe and Europeanness? Specifically, how has it informed widespread understandings of violence and religion being mutually reciprocal and imaginations of Europe and Europeanness premised upon this antithesis? What are the critical responses with which these understandings and imaginaries have been met? This course explores these questions through examining the history of ideas, philosophy, religion and literature focusing especially on its responses to colonialism, racism, imperialism and patriarchy, The teaching format comprises seminars, requiring everyone to show up having read the weekly texts, having reflected on them and having prepared to discuss them at length during the seminar.


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars totalling a minimum of 25 hours across Autumn Term. This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Autumn Term.

Formative coursework

The formative component of coursework comprises the following:

- a research question and long abstract in preparation for essays, submitted at the end of reading week;

- a new and improved research question and long abstract in preparation for essays, presented orally and in person the final week of term.

In addition to the above, students are required to come to class every week having read the weekly texts and prepared to discuss them at length.

Indicative reading

  • John Taylor (1998) Body Horror: Photojournalism, Catastrophe and War. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
  • Evans, Brad (2016) Histories of Violence
  • Cavanaugh, William (2009) The Myth of Religious Violence
  • Girard René. (2013) Violence and Sacred
  • De Vries, Hent (2002) Religion and Violence
  • Arendt, Hannah. (2006) Origins of Totalitarianism
  • Arendt, Hannah. (2006) Eichmann in Jersusalem
  • Neiman, Susan (2015) Evil in Modern Thought
  • Susan Sontag (2003) Regarding the Pain of Others. New York: Picador.
  • Liam Kennedy and Caitlin Patrick (2014) The Violence of the Image. London: IB Tauris.



Essay (100%, 5000 words) in the WT.

Key facts

Department: European Institute

Total students 2022/23: 3

Average class size 2022/23: 3

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Value: Half Unit

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Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication