RESA4214 – Religion and Politics in Europe

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

Encounters between different religious traditions have shaped European history for centuries. In recent decades Europe has again undergone considerable change related inter alia to secularisation and migration. While traditional churches enjoy various degrees of privileged positions vis-a-vis the state in a number of countries, immigration from other parts of the world has given other religions, notably Islam, a stronger voice.

The course explores the relationship between religion(s) and politics in contemporary Europe and has four main components:

  • An overview over current demographic and sociological developments as regards religion
  • An introduction to how the institutions of the European Union relate to religion(s) and religious institutions
  • A study of some important cases from the European Court of Human Rights pertaining to the freedom of religion
  • An introduction to different models for handling religious plurality and the relationship between state and religion in some important countries, including Turkey and Russia.

While a variety of religious traditions as well as secular worldviews will come into view, Christianity and Islam will receive special attention. Some key words are laïcité, multiculturalism, citizenship, religious freedom and gender perspectives.

Learning outcome

Through the course you will gain an overview over recent developments pertaining to religion and politics in Europe and in pan-European institutions. You will have gained an understanding of issues that cut across Europe’s nation states and achieved knowledge of the variety of models applied in different European countries to the relationship between state and religion(s). This enables you to evaluate and discuss the merits and consequences of policy proposals on national as well as pan-European level.


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If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Students should submit a 1000 to 1250 words reflection on an assigned part of the syllabus and write a short paper (up to 1500 words) on a specified topic. The papers should be written in English.


A three day home examination, 3000-4000 words.

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit your assignment.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English.You may submit your response in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Spring 2017


Spring 2017

Teaching language