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Teaching Religion and Violence$
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Brian K. Pennington

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195372427

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195372427.001.0001

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Religion, Violence, and Politics in the United States

Religion, Violence, and Politics in the United States

(p.245) Chapter 10 Religion, Violence, and Politics in the United States
Teaching Religion and Violence

Jason C. Bivins

Oxford University Press

This paper addresses the roles of violence in American religions from several different analytical locations. It explores the prospects for thinking about violence alongside the pedagogically slippery category “religion,” problematizing both terms as a way of opening up inquiry beyond the essentialization of “religion” and the treatment of violence as exceptional. It examines methodological debates about the scope and motivations of religious violence, by thinking about the cultural politics of pluralist narratives and the complexities of identity and alterity in religions. It ranges across U.S. religious history to harvest overarching themes that might stimulate inquiry, proposing a broader range of “violent” religious expressions that could extend to protest, cultures of militarism, apocalypticism, and the antagonisms of public life. And finally, it assesses the pedagogical possibilities and limits of this topic, focusing on political pedagogy, the fluidity of narratives, and the uses of comparative thinking.

Keywords:   American religion, antagonism, apocalypticism, identity, militarism, pedagogy, pluralism, politics, protest

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