Covers theoretical, empirical, and comparative aspects of such topics as socio-legal concepts, justice, legal policies, and the institutions of law. Recommended: either POL S 101, POL S 202, POL S 204, or SOC 110.
Religion and law are the two rival sources of normative reasoning for human organization. Although we often consider them as two distinct sources of morality operating in different domains, in reality they often engage in a perplexing relationship in regulating our every day lives. In fact, the history of modern state can be also read as the history of a long battle for conquering the normative world between the law and religion. As we have recently witnessed in the cases of Terri Schiavo, gay marriages, abortion and stem-cell research debates, this perplexing relationship between the law and religion becomes increasingly controversial. Hence, this course aims to better understand the relationship between the law and religion not only within the context of the US and Christianity but also in the context of some other major religions such as Islam, Judaism and Hinduism. The topics will be covered include discussions of morality, impacts of religious law (Canon Law, Muslim Law, Jewish Law and Hindu Law) on so-called secular legislations; Shari’a Courts, Rabbinical Courts and Ecclesiastical Courts and their application of religious laws, analysis of family law regimes (marriage, divorce) of various religious traditions, and religious norms of human rights (especially rights of women). The empirical materials will focus on a wide geographical range from Israel, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, India, Europe and North America to Africa.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading
Class Assignments/Participation (20%); in-class midterm (40 %), Final Research Paper not to exceed 12 double-spaced pages in length (40%)