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Harvard University

Religion, Conflict and Peace

Harvard University via edX


In this course, we will explore a series of contemporary conflicts in different regions of the world with a special focus on identifying and analyzing the diverse and complex roles that religions play in both promoting and mitigating violence in each context. Students will learn a method for recognizing and analyzing how religious ideologies are embedded in all arenas of human agency and not isolated from political, economic, and cultural life as is often assumed.

In addition to examining the conflicts themselves, we will also explore the religious dimensions of the impacts those conflicts have on civic life in areas such as public health, education, and commerce by addressing a series of questions.

  • What roles do religions play in fostering violence and what roles do they play in promoting peace?
  • How do religious institutions and ideologies function to support and/or thwart public health initiatives?
  • What are the ideological justifications for functional economic policies and how do they reflect and/or challenge diverse religious values?
  • What roles do religions play in advancing or suppressing educational opportunities and for whom?
  • Are media representations of the religious dimensions of conflict accurate?

Possible countries of focus include Brazil, Egypt, France, Israel/Palestine, Myanmar, Nigeria, Qatar, the Philippines, Somalia, Syria, Turkey, and the United States. Final projects will be individually shaped based on interest and (where relevant) professional focus.

The course is open to all and especially relevant for aspiring or professional educators, journalists, public health workers, foreign service officers and government officials who wish to better understand how religions function in contemporary world affairs.

This course follows the popular World Religions Through Their Scriptures XSeries, which explores the foundations of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism.

Taught by

Diane L. Moore


4.1 rating, based on 10 Class Central reviews

4.8 rating at edX based on 79 ratings

Start your review of Religion, Conflict and Peace

  • I thoroughly enjoyed this course. The topics were academically challenging, perfectly relevant, and well-organized. Dr. Moore and the staff did an amazing job. Prepare to be challenged and blessed at the same time.
  • Very left leaning and PC so if you are a Christian you may be disappointed because I felt that it was disrespectful towards them and it favored and defended Islam. I personally think that all religions are not perfect yet has anyone ever been to an Islamic State recently especially if you're a woman.
  • Mary Frances Easterling
    Because I chose not to pay over 100.00 to get a piece of paper from this course, I actually only gained knowledge. Since I find paying anyone for the paperwork of an MAR is ridiculous and too costly. I still protest that not everyone who wanted to have a simple completion and not by mail, cannot afford the price. Sadly... that is the way it is.
    Being both enthusiastic and keen to know and increase my knowledhge regarding these courses which I feel will greatly impact on my learning experience and while exploring series of contemporary conflicts in different areas of our world with a special focus on identifying and analyzing the diverse and complex roles that religions play in both promoting and mitigating violence in each context.

    Thanking you in advance- YOURS SINCERELY

  • Andressa Cadette Do Nascimento
    I wanna be the best studebt ever. I'll do my best in ever. Here in Brazil I want to be a differe in my coutry and a new genaration.
  • The course have helped me in the area of conflict resolution,how to maintain peace even in thee presence of various religions
  • George Abayomi Aiyewumi
    I'm just about to start this program, hopefully I complete this course and be up to par in my experience and place in my society.
  • Anonymous
    Tendo em vista que a religião está presente no mundo desde sempre ,e que sua forte influencia em todas as áreas da existência humana é extremamente perceptível ,logo se faz necessário o aprofundamento dos saberes que envolve essa tão importante área, das ciências.Dessa forma, vejo como uma grande oportunidade de desenvolver e ampliar os conhecimentos, desses mistérios que envolve a maior parte da espécie humana e todo os seus importantes papéis.
  • Osumah Kenneth
    Religion basically is a means of one dedicating his or herself to worshipping what they believe in.

    The main aim of the practice of a religion are to achieve the goals of salvation for oneself and others, and (if there is a God) to render due worship and obedience to God. Different religions have different understandings of salvation and God.
  • Jorge Marcos De Albuquerque Pinto
    A necessidade do mundo nos leva a crer que precisamos urgentemente nos comprometer com a natureza, por isso, a Agricultura e muito importante em nossa sociedade.

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