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2021/22 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

PRHS5400M Religion, Politics and Society

30 creditsClass Size: 15

Module manager: Dr Stefan Skrimshire

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

Module replaces

THEO5355M Religion, Society and Public Life

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module offers a critical analysis of sociological, theological and philosophical accounts of the social and political 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, politics and society are understood in relation to a number of contexts, including: Islam and modernity, Africa and Pentecostalism, representations of majority and minority religions in the UK; Interfaith dialogue.


This module, which is the core module for the MA in Religion, Politics & Society, aims to provide students with 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). It develops critical and analytical skills in a way that will enrich students’ own understandings of the social and political dimensions of religious belief and action, and will equip them for further postgraduate research in an area where Leeds has internationally recognised significance.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students will:

1. Demonstrate in-depth specialist knowledge in the study of religion in its social and political contexts
2. Demonstrate advanced scholarship in several disciplinary approaches to the study of religion: sociological, theological, philosophical, anthropological.
3. Be able to critically and reflectively work alongside others in constructive seminar discussions
4. Develop competent oral presentation skills in presenting summaries of research to the seminar group.
5. Develop skills in independent learning and research, including effective time management, note taking, and use of library or online archives.
6. Demonstrate critical ability and written skills in line with Masters study through written assessed essays, and an ability to improve through reflection on critical feedback from tutors.

Skills outcomes
Capacity to engage in interdisciplinary reflection on religion.


Topics will be structured around two themes: I. Theories and approaches to the study of religion, politics and society; II: Studying religion, politics and society in context.

Representative topics include:
• The modern problem of “religion in public”, some key articulations of a settlement and some possible alternative stories
• Secularism, Tolerance and Blasphemy
• Liberalism and its Critics
• Pentecostalism as political religion in postcolonial Africa
• Islam, Politics and Modernity in Muslim Societies
• Representing Religion: Who Speaks for Religious Communities?
• Interfaith dialogue and the resurgence of religion in British public life

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 hours277.00
Total Contact hours23.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

10 hours per seminar preparation (110 hours)
167 hours essay preparation (inc. essay tutorial).
2 seminars will be student led, in which students present work to the class on their chosen essay topic (5 minutes for each presentation).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students are encouraged to arrange a one-to-one essay support tutorial with either the module tutor or the session tutors, to discuss ideas and receive verbal feedback. Students can also see the tutor during office hours for specific feedback during the course. Written feedback on assessment will be provided, alongside the script and provisional mark, within three weeks of submission. Oral feedback will be given on presentations.

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
Essay6000 word essay100.00
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: 30/06/2021 14:25:34


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