Faculty of Arts

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

print version

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedClayton First semester 2014 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Associate Professor Peter Lentini


This subject examines the political phenomenon of violence conducted in the name of culture, race, religion, nation, the state and the like. It begins by examining how different forms of cultural expression can either reinforce or subvert established political regimes as well as how regimes generate, indirectly or otherwise, certain practices and consciousness to legitimize themselves through violence. The unit discusses such phenomena across religious (Abrahamic and non-Abrahamic) and secular traditions. Drawing on case studies of secular and religiously motivated violence, both by non-state and state actors, it moves on to investigate the conditions that may nurture the growth of political violence. The subject concludes with a study of the implications that different forms of violence have for both domestic and global politics and various countries' experiences utilising religion and inter-cultural dialogue to combat violent extremism. The unit concludes with how interreligious dialogues can foster peace, multiculturalism and plural coexistence.
Grasping the contents of lectures, active participation in tutorials where students summarise and discuss authors' viewpoints as well as articulate their own reasoned positions, individually as also in groups, mid-term exam and writing cogent essays demonstrating analytical skills and comprehension of key concepts are vital to this unit.


On having completed this unit, students will:

  1. Possess a sophisticated introductory understanding of politics, culture, religion, race, nation, identity, secularism, moral panic etcetera as contested important concepts; how cultural and religious politics have become important for new forms of political activism; the political and social-historical conditions that may lead to violence by multiple actors -non-state as well as state; and the impact of such forms of violence on various freedoms, rights and human security.
  2. Develop a vital, preliminary understanding of how political struggles centring on culture, race, religion, nation and the state are manifest in the public sphere - especially in mass and popular media - and the role these institutions play in making and unmaking of multiple forms of violence.
  3. Equip themselves with a sophisticated introductory understanding of the challenge posed to traditional forms of political organization by culturally and religiously motivated groups and institutions that use violence to achieve political ends.
  4. Acquire robust capabilities to constructively contribute to public debates on issues such as ethnic and cultural rights, violence, terrorism, counter-terrorism and human security.
  5. To develop enhanced skills in writing cogent and analytically sharp essays as well as grasp kits and tool for effective, persuasive presentations.


Short essay: 10%
Mid term exam: 40%
Major esay: 50%

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

12 Hours

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study