Religion in the British Public Space

This course focuses on the presence and role of religion in the public space in contemporary Britain and how they are reflected in the national press and television. It aims to study the specificity of the British model as far as religion is concerned, its historical roots and the questions that this model raises in a society that is at once increasingly multi-faith and secular. In the course of the semester, students are asked to regularly contribute short critical pieces reflecting on the treatment by the British media of religion-related issues.


Weekly readings

The different religion-related themes that students will be asked to work on can be explored here.


Calendar of assignments


Writing in english

The papers you must hand in in the course of the semester are short opinion pieces (two pages, give or take one paragraph, using Times 12 and a 1.5 spacing).

The goal is to write a publishable piece (for a blog for example) aimed at a broad international readership who do not necessarily have an in-depth knowledge of Britain. You should not write as if your tutor was the only reader but aim at writing something that could be read widely.

On the first draft of your opinion piece, I underline what needs improving linguistically and suggest ways by which you may improve the content of your paper. You will then have a go at improving your paper. Please always hand in the final version together with the first draft containing my proof-reading marks.

The meaning of my proofreading marks as well as a few pieces of advice to improve your writing skills can be found on this page.


Recommended readings

(by order of importance)

  1. Bruce, Steve, Politics and Religion in the United Kingdom (Abingdon/New York: Routledge, 2012). (This book can be downloaded from the Taylor and Francis ebook database, accessible via the BU website)
  2. Gillespie, Marie, David Eric John Herbert, and Anita Greenhill, Social Media and Religious Change (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2013).
  3. Ansari, Humayun, ‘The Infidel Within’: Muslims in Britain since 1800 (London : Hurst & Co., 2004).


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