Introduction to Global and Local Cultures

In the second half of the class, the students first learnt about religious conflicts in India, followed by the frequent terrorist attacks in Europe. Religious conflict is currently a major issue in Indian society, particularly between Hindus and Muslims. The students learnt through films and news reports about the major religious riots since the beginning of the 2000s, which have had a strong influence on politics and even on the education system. In addition, frequent terrorist attacks in Europe have spurred the spread of Islamophobia and anti-immigration movements. The students learnt how representations of Islam are changing in such societies, and the mechanisms by which the ‘others’ is created by introducing films and TV dramas created in Western countries. Group presentations by students covered a variety of topics, including the history of religious conflicts and their roots, as well as religious conflicts not only in India but around the world. I hope that this course provided an opportunity for the students to develop some interest in religion and to broaden their perspectives.

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