Religion and Politics: From Pax Christiana to Pax Americana

The course gives students an opportunity to explore the complex relationship between political ideologies and religious teachings and practices from the Renaissance until the present day. The focus in this course is on the development of imperial ideas over the course of modernity, in connection to religious Christian narratives. The concept of universal peace and the idea of a universal global capital, which safeguards the true belief, informed modern empires in a very profound way, their ideologies and concrete policies. The latest expression of this universalist tendency one finds in the concept of pax Americana, which has been used to characterize the global order (peace) which came as a result of the dominance of one super-power in the late twentieth/early twenty-first century.

Efter kursen förväntas studenten:

  • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the relationship between religious and political ideas from the time of the Protestant Reformation until the present;
  • Discuss major religious and political/philosophical ideas concerning the Church and State and their mutual interactions (in the relevant period);
  • Analyze and critically assess imperial ideas and aspirations in the history of the West (in the relevant period), and their connection with the ideas of peace, justice and power

All students will be required to read the following texts (or selected chapters):

Primary Sources:

Bettenson, Henry, Maunder Chris (Eds.) (2011). Documents of the Christian Church. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (60 p.)

Diderot, Denis. Political Writings (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992. (50 p.)

Englender, David, et al. (Eds.). Culture and Belief in Europe 1450-1600. An Anthology of Sources. Oxford: Blackwell, 1990. (30 p.)

Williams, David (Ed.). The Enlightenment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. (120 p.)

Documents of the Second Vatican Council (30 p.)

Secondary texts:

Arnal, William, McCutcheon Russell T. The Sacred Is the Profane: The Political Nature of ‘Religion.’ Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. (180 p.)

Aupers, Stef, Houtman Dick (Eds.). Religions of Modernity: Relocating the Sacred to the Self and the Digital. Leiden: Brill, 2010. (180 p.)

Blackford, Russell. Freedom of Religion and the Secular State. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011. (120 p.)

Cumper, Peter, Lewis Tom. Religion, Rights and Secular Society: European perspectives. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2012. (90 p.)

Gaukroger, Stephen. “Science, religion and modernity,” in: Critical Quarterly. Winter 2005, Vol. 47 Issue 4, 1-31.

Hardt, Michael, Negri, Antonio. Empire. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001. (200 p.)

Habermas, Jürgen, Ratzinger Joseph. The Dialectics of Secularization: On Reason and Religion. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2005. (100 p.)

Hinnells, John (Ed.). Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion. New York: Routledge, 2005. (60 p.)

Hobsbawm, Eric (2007). Globalization, Democracy and Terrorism. London: Little, Brown (155 p.)

Parenti, Michael (2011). The Face of Imperialism. Boulder: Paradigm Publishers. (130 p.)

Weber, Max (2012). The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. New York: Reoutledge (65 p.) Seminars, paper, take home examination, and written examination.

Wolin, Sheldon, S. (2017). Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism. Princeton: Princeton University Press. (200 p.)

Additional texts/handouts may also be assigned.

Schemat finns tillgängligt senast en månad innan kursen startar. Vi rekommenderar inte att du skriver ut schemat eftersom vissa ändringar kan ske.

Öppna schemat

Davor Džalto




A = Framstående, B = Mycket bra, C = Bra, D = Tillfredsställande, E = Tillräcklig, Fx = Otillräcklig, komplettering möjlig, F = Otillräcklig


  • Hemtentamen
  • PM
  • Salstentamen
  • Seminarier

A Bachelor's degree in Theology or a related field (equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen) from an internationally recognized university. Proficiency in English by means of an internationally recognized test, e. g. TOEFL, IELTS or equivalent.

From Pax Romana to Pax Christiana is a prerequisite course.

Completion of a course requires a minimum of 80% attendance at lectures and 100% attendance at seminars/group work and other assignments. Absence beyond that can be compensated by supplementing assignment(s) if the instructor finds it possible. In case of an absence of 50% or more, the course is considered as interrupted, even if assignments have been completed.

If a student due to disability has a decision from the EHS on special pedagogical support, the examiner shall, if necessary, adapt the examination and conduct the examination in an alternative way.

Fastställd av Ämnesföreträdarkollegiet vid Enskilda Högskolan Stockholm den 18 december 2019.

Senast reviderad den 19 februari 2020.