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Postgraduate course

Dissent and Religious Minorities

  • ECTS credits5
  • Teaching semesterSpring
  • Course codeRELMIN642
  • Number of semesters1
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Resources

Main content

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Teaching semester

Spring (the course is not taught every year)

Place of Instruction

Online course, and therefore not restricted to Bergen.

Objectives and Content

In addition to external threats, such as aggression or discrimination by majority groups or the state, religious minorities also experience threats from within (an attitude, it should be emphasized, that should not be regarded as exclusive to minorities). Minorities often regard their survival contingent on strong social cohesion and therefore emphasize endogamy and adherence to religious and social customs. Therefore, marriage between a minority member and an outsider is often regarded as a betrayal of the community and a threat to its survival. Likewise, religious heterodoxy and challenges to traditional social patterns, such as giving women different and especially more important roles in the religious and social life of the community, are often regarded as grave threats. Minorities often also experience it as a threat when a member seeks protection from external authorities. This course will explore the phenomenon of dissent in religious minorities. It will explore the various ways in which leaders and common members of small minorities surrounded by larger religious majorities have dealt and are dealing with such challenges. While the phenomenon will explored as a social situation across time and place, a particular emphasis will be put on the challenge of modern cultural and legal frameworks that these have produced.

Learning Outcomes

The student shall by the end of the course have gained the following learning outcome defined in knowledge, skills, and general competence:


The student

  • can analyze the various kinds of dissent in religious minorities as well as the different ways religious minorities engage with various forms of dissent
  • has thorough knowledge of several cases in which individual members of religious minorities can make use of different political and legal systems, namely those of their minority and those of the authorities of states where the minority lives


The student

  • Can formulate and debate in writing issues surrounding dissent in religious minorities
  • can apply critically scholarship about dissent and religious minorities to a variety of sources from very different perspectives about dissent in religious minorities

General competence:

The student

  • can independently present the social complexity of situations of dissent in religious minorities in clear academic writing can come to an informed judgment about such situations

Required Previous Knowledge


Recommended Previous Knowledge

The course literature is in English. Students should therefore have a sound knowledge of English.

Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap


Access to the Course

Admission to the Master¿s Programme Religious Minorities or other Master¿s Programmes at the UiB.

Teaching and learning methods

The teaching and student activities in this course will entirely take place online.


  • short introductory videos.
  • Readings
  • following each video/reading there will be a short quiz, that tests the students basic understanding of the video/reading
  • individual feedback on discussion postings and essays from the instructor participation in online discussions

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

In this course the following compulsory requirements have to be approved in order to sit for the examination:

  • Course quizzes following videos and/or texts. The quizzes will test the students¿ command of the prescribed course material. There will be between 1 and 5 quizzes per week, and successful completion of at least 70% online course questions in course quizzes is required.
  • A minimum of one discussion posting (minimum 100 words) that answers one of more questions as well as a minimum of two responses (of each minimum 50 words) to postings by other students.
  • At least four useful comments on the essays 1 and 2 of other students (peer-reviewed assignments)

Compulsory requirements are evaluated with "approved/not approved."

Forms of Assessment

The examination consists of two papers:

  1. Short source analysis of case study (800 words) - 40% of the total grade
  2. Essay (2000 words) - 60% of the total grade

Both parts of the assessment must be passed in order to pass the examination.
¿The examination will be given a total grade.

Examination Support Material


Grading Scale

A graded marking scale (A to F) is used. A is the top grade and F means Failed.

Assessment Semester

The course is normally assessed in the teaching semester only.

Reading List

The reading list consists of approximately 500 pages.

The reading list is published by June 1st. for the autumn semester and by December 1st. for the spring semester.

Course Evaluation

The course unit will be evaluated regularly.

Programme Committee

The Programme Committee for The Study of Religion

Course Coordinator

The Programme Committee for The Study of Religion

Course Administrator

Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion