Religion has become a force to be reckoned with in the contemporary global geopolitical landscape and as such demands 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 so-called ‘resurgence’ of religion in the public sphere in recent decades is now a significant area of interdisciplinary scholarship eliciting a complex array of responses, ranging from vehement opposition to the very idea that religious concepts and commitments have a right to expression in political debates, to a reassessment of the origins and implications of divisions between the secular and the religious and their relationship to the nation state. The notion that there is no singular secularism, but rather a plurality of secularisms, and of ‘religion’ as an invention of European modernity and colonial interests are two of many emerging efforts to reconceptualise the meanings of religion and the secular and the entangled relationship between them.
About the MA
The MA Religion in Global Politics offers an opportunity to examine these questions and issues at an advanced level by studying the complex relationships 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 disciplinary breadth rarely addressed in similar programmes in the subject area, draws on a wealth of multi- and interdisciplinary perspectives (Law, International Relations and Politics, History, 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 and their relevance to issues of democracy, war, violence, human rights, humanitarianism and development, multiculturalism, nationalism, sectarianism, religious extremism, and free speech amongst others. 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.
Designed as a professional development qualification as well as a platform for doctoral research, this programme will give you the opportunity to examine the complex relationships between religion and politics in the histories and contemporary political contexts (both national and international), across the globe.
You will engage in current topical debates regarding religion in the public sphere, secularisms, post-secularism, and political theology and their relevance to issues including democracy, war, human rights, humanitarianism, nationalism, sectarianism, religious extremism and free speech.
You will have access to a wealth of study resources including the SOAS Library, one of the world's most important academic libraries, attracting scholars from across the globe.
A global perspective
The unparalleled range of course options available will allow you to benefit from an intellectually rigorous and globally focused programme which provides a disciplinary breadth rarely addressed in similar programmes. A wealth of multi- and interdisciplinary perspectives are drawn upon including Law, History, Philosophy, Development, Anthropology and Diaspora Studies.
Expert at where the world is changing
With our highly diversified expertise, our comprehensive resources and our interdisciplinary approach, we offer a unique learning and research environment for a truly inter-cultural approach to systems of belief and thought.
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 offers 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
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.
Postgraduate Open Evenings
You’ll be able to have one-to-one discussions with academics and current students. You can also attend specialist subject talks and take a tour of our campus.
Our webinars give you an opportunity to hear and ask questions about the subject you’re interested in studying. We also cover topics such as making an application, Tier 4 Visa entry, fees and funding, scholarships, accommodation options as well as career related information.