Religion and the Origins of Political Order
This seminar will examine the role various religions, such as Confucianism, Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam, have played in the origination of political order in civilizations around the world. We will use Francis Fukuyama’s recent book, The Origins of Political Order, to help us frame the discussion. This book critically examines the role religions have played in shaping the political cultures of ancient civilizations and their modern implications. We will study notions like tribalism, patrimonialism, bureaucracy, rule of law, and the relationship between church and state, contextualized in their historical background, thus helping us to better appreciate the contingency and vulnerability of a variety of modern political norms.