REL 130.001

Religion, Politics, and the Law

T, R | 2:00-3:15

PRH 207

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In what ways does religious belief conflict with, realign, or reinforce our understandings of political belonging and political community? How do states contain, respond to, or coopt such belief? How, in particular, has the law become a site for such conflicts and re-alignments, and to what end?

We will explore these questions by drawing on three fields: the sociology of religion, political philosophy, and modern Jewish history. We will move among three different national settings: US, the UK, and Israel. 

The course is divided into four sections. First, we will review key sociological terms and approaches used to make sense equally of religion, politics, and law. In section two, we will consider how religion and politics intersect, interact, and exert tension on one another; and how legal arrangements and orders seek to define and regulate them. In section three, we will use Supreme Court Decisions in the UK and Israel to explore how these tensions play out in everyday political life: from immigration to public schooling to identity and collective memory. In section four, we consider the crime of genocide and ask how it is inflected through religion and politics. 

3 credit hours, HU core credit 

Daniel J. Levine

  • Office hours: 

    Wednesday, 10:30-12:00; Thursday, 3:30- 4:30; or by appointment


  • (205) 348-5271
Books are available at the SUPe Store and online through vendors such as


Online Resources

Supreme Court of the United States 

Supreme Court of the United Kingdom 

Supreme Court/High Court of Justice, State of Israel 

Cool, Wicked Smaht & Generally Interesting:


Online Readings

UA Box Readings from outside of the required texts can be found in REL {course number}'s UA Box.

Blackboard Other texts will be available through the Blackboard course site.

Gorgas Library e-books