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2018/19 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

THEO5355M Religion, Society and Public Life

30 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Dr Rachel Muers

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2018/19

Pre-requisite qualifications

A good honours degree in a related subject

Module replaces

Religion and Social Theory

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

Religion occupies an increasingly prominent and contentious place in debates about society, culture and politics, and the aim of this module is to make sense of this, exploring the Christian influence upon the modern, 'secular' world, with regard to distinctions between public life/private life and individual/group rights, and the emergence of ethically and culturally novel situations, with regard to globalisation, the development of techno-science and Islamic terrorism. Locating the current `clash of civilisations? in its broader, historical context, this module seeks to clarify the key religious, social and political issues at stake in contemporary disputes about religion, society and public life.


On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1) demonstrate an advanced understanding of the contentious and developing role of religion in public life that draws from several, distinct traditions of scholarly analysis (e.g. sociology, philosophy, theology);
2) have developed their critical and analytical skills in a way that will enrich their own understandings of the social dimensions of religious belief and action; and 3) have become equipped for further postgraduate research in an area where Leeds has internationally recognised significance.


This module offers a critical analysis of sociological, theological and philosophical accounts of the social dimensions of religion and how these relate to different models of public and private life. An exploration of the emergence of distinctively 'private' and 'public' realms of social action and experience is pursued in relation to developments in Christian belief and practice. Following this, the module examines how political discourses concerning the balance between individual and corporate rights on the one hand, and public responsibilities on the other, continue to be grounded in a number of highly specific theological, sociological and philosophical debates surrounding secularism and modernity. Also considered are how religion, society and public life are understood in relation to a number of contexts, including : Islam and modernity, Africa and Pentecostalism, Interfaith dialogue and representations of religion in British culture.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours278.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

5 hours reading per lecture (55 hours)
10 hours per seminar preparation (111 hours)
112 hours essay preparation (inc. essay tutorial).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress would be monitored through seminar performance, including formal presentations on the basis of required reading

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
EssayEither 2 essays of 3-4000 words or 1 essay of 6-8000 words100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2018


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