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Ethno-religious Identity and Politics in the Middle East and South Asia at Columbia University

Professor Karen Barkey (Sociology & History, Columbia University) and Professor Christophe Jaffrelot (Political Science, Sciences Po) seek an Innovative Co-teaching Grant from the Alliance Program for their fall 2014 course, “Ethno-religious Identity and Politics in the Middle East and South Asia.” The course will focus on the relationship between religion and politics and the manner in which a past history of religious and ethnic communalism affects contemporary politics. “Ethno-religious Identity and Politics in the Middle East and South Asia” will bring together various comparative historical methods from political science, sociology and anthropology, to examine the historical legacies of communalisms in imperial and colonial contexts, along with the specificities of religious and ethnic politics in India, Pakistan, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt. Students will also look at how this can inform our understanding of events unfolding now. The course is designed to be deeply comparative, that is, it takes analytic comparisons seriously, tracing processes of change in various countries to look for similarities and differences across cases. Through this, they hope the course will demonstrate how we can cross boundaries and talk to each other across fields, gaining more by using multiple lenses on a topic.


Professor of Sociology


School of the Arts
Sociology Department
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