Politics and Religion
The Politics and Religion Semester Paper is an opportunity to explore a topic of interest to you in politics and religion
Also, you have a chance to show how you understand your topic in the context of a tnore nuanced and complex grasp of
not only the meaning of politics and religion but the particular way those two rubrics relate to each other with respect to
your topic. The terms, politics and religion, could feature substitutions such as “church and state“ or “Islam and
democracy” and so on. The important issue is that whatever set of terms you choose that you do so consciously and that
you use the paper to specify and define your terms. The second page of September 29 issue of Politics and Religion [mi/y
will be useful to you as you ponder whether or how to use the temi “politics.” Your paper will also need to he in
conversation with the concepts and/or the theories of modernity and secularism.
The syllabus describes the Semester Paper this way:
The Semester Paper will require you to describe and defend an approach to the study of politics and religion
with reference to an example drawn from current events. You will incorporate the concepts of secularism and
modernity into your reflections. (This assigmnent will help you achieve Course Outcomes 3 and 4.)
Course Outcomes ‘ i
3. Identify and describe theoretical issues that characterize the interaction of politics and
religion in two of the four subfields of political science with particular reference
to the concepts of secularism and modernity.
4. Describe and defend an approach to the study of politics and religion with reference to
an example drawn from current events.
The number of external written sources for your research paper need not be extensive. If you narrow down your topic
properly with the effective use of the thesis resource listed below, I think that a combination of 7-10 articles and/or books
(for the most part, written in the last 5-7 years) should be sufficient. You may use more sources. but your topic and thesis
statements should be so precise, that we can work with a somewhat limited number of resources.
October 8: Topic(s) for the paper:
If you have a range of topics that you are contemplating and cannot quite decide which
one you wish to work upon, state the topics and provide a 3-5 sentence explanation of
each one. If you have identified your main topic, then write a half to full page statement
or explanation of this topic and what you hope to accomplish in the paper.
October 22: Working bibliography:
Feel free to list sources you have not have read or may not use. Your main goal is to
6/ 1’ identify your list of potential sources that you may draw upon. A working bibliography
Lyra/25 reflects your process of learning more about your topic so that you are able to refine and
go narrow down your topic in the service of developing your argument or your thesis.
October 29: Restatement, if necessary, of your topic along with your first attempt at a statement of
your thesis or your argument. For thesis statements, please read, study and follow
the suggestions from the UNC Writing Center on Thesis Statements:
In sum, the question you need to ask yourself: What point do I wish to make an
argument for and how will I know that I have substantiated my point?
October 29: Working outline of your paper.
November 5: First draft of pages 1-7.
November 19: First draft of the complete paper.
December 22: Final version of the paper due.
You may recall the following from the description of your Semester Paper:
The Politics and Religion Semester Paper is an opportunity to explore a topic of interest to you in politics and
religion. Also, you have a chance to show how you understand your topic in the context of a more nuanced and
complex grasp of not only the meaning of politics and religion but the particular way those two rubrics relate to each
other with respect to your topic. The terms, politics and religion, could feature substitutions such as “church and
state” or “Islam and democracy” and so on. The important issue is that whatever set of temis you choose that you do
so consciously and that you use the paper to specify and define your temis. The second page of September 39 issue
of Politics and Religion Daily will be useful to you as you ponder whether or how to use the term “politics.” Your
paper will also need to be in conversation with the concepts and/or the theories of modernity and secularism.
I would like the midterm to be an asset or a help to your efforts on the Semester Paper.
Toward that end, I would like you to begin spelling out what you mean when you use the term “religion” or
what you mean when use the word “politics” and what you mean when you put the two terms together. You
have 3 options below. Choose 1 of them.
Option 1: On the basis of, at least, three readings assigned from the beginning of the semester until today,
October 29 (“Protestantism” by Paul Freston), describe the way that you are going to define, approach and/or
characterize the term “religion” in your semester paper. Defend with reasons and/or explanations your
definition, or approach and/or characterization for the term “religion”.
Option 2: Or, you could also perform the same task for the term “politics.”
Option 3: Or, you could also perform the same task for the phrase “politics and religion” – maybe you want to
rephrase this couplet in terms of “church and state”. . .. OK, great! But why? Or “state and religion”… “Islam
and democracy” or “Judaism and the public sphere” or “Protestantism and human rights”… Or maybe you are
content with “politics and religion” (our course title) – but whatever couplet you choose, the goal is for you to
be very self-aware on the reasons for your choice and the relationship of that choice to your topic in your
Format: 4 pages: Page 1 is a cover page (only) with your name and the title of your midterm, pages 2, 3 and 4
comprise the body of your midterm / 11 point Times Roman / 1 inch margins / double space text / in-text
footnote featuring name and page number. Example: Preston, 38.
Also: No quotes longer than 1 or 2 lines of typed text. Characterize the ideas, don’t just rely on quotes.
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