Monash University Handbooks 2008

EUM5020 - Religion and Secularism in the quest for European Integration

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Peter Howard


Not offered in 2008


This unit explores the importance of religion in the conceptualization and enacting of European Integration from an historical perspective. It examines how developments in belief and religious practice have affected culture and politics, and how historical trajectories have shaped visions and possibilities of a united Europe. Themes include: the formation and fragmentation of Christendom - the formation of Europe; Christianities and National Identities; the Secularisation of Europe; the role, within and without, of Judaism and Islam; the religious roots of notions of 'the common good', human rights, and their impact on European charters; de-secularisation of European politics.


Students who successfully complete this unit will be expected to demonstrate:

  1. a developed understanding of the conceptual difficulties associated with the study of European religion(s) in historical and contemporary contexts, including issues of secularization and de-secularization;
  2. a critical understanding of the history of discourses, especially in the 20th century, envisioning a united Europe based on the (supposed) commonality of its religious culture;
  3. a developed understanding of the relevance, diversity and importance of religion in the development of Europe (Christianity, Judaism and Islam), and how developments in belief and religious practice have affected politics and the machinery of state;
  4. strong skills in the critical reading of a variety of texts and the academic scholarship based upon those texts;
  5. strong skills in critical oral and written assessment of the academic scholarship, including methods, assumptions and uses of evidence, and in organising and defending a verbal and written argument based upon those assessments;
  6. a capacity to devise, plan and successfully complete a research essay;
  7. a capacity to reflect upon and make critical use of a range of resources including, where relevant, on-line materials, film and visual images.
  8. (at Level 5) the acquisition of a greater degree of analytical skills and a greater understanding of the key conceptual and methodological issues involved in analysing key the role of religion and secularism in the development of European unity from an historical perspective.


a critical review of a work of interpretation or conceptualisation relevant to a seminar theme and the student's research essay, given first as a seminar presentation (10%), and then revised into a written review paper in light of seminar group comments and a written assessment by the coordinator (20%) (2000 words) : 30%
research essay devised and developed by the student (5000 words) : 50%
reflective response to a set question, in a take-home examination (2000 words) : 20%
Level 5 students will be required to engage more deeply with the theoretical, methodological and historical issues involved in each assessment task.

Contact hours

One 2-hour seminar per week


Satisfactory progress in Level 4 units


EUR4020, EUM4020

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