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Religion, Violence, and Trauma (Specialisation Course Praxis 1)




‚ÄčCourse load



Prof. Dr R.R. Ganzevoort; Dr S. Sremac

6 ECs

The final paper may be submitted in Dutch or English


This course deals with different shapes of violence and trauma (political, domestic, sexual, disaster) and the relation with religion. We will address theories on traumatisation and reflect on the age old role of religion in coping with violence and trauma. We also discuss the fundamental theological question whether and how religion can offer answers to violence or is itself part of the problem.


The student:

  1. Can analyse the interaction of religion, traumatization, and violence and how this impacts individuals and communities;

  2. Can analyse positive and negative contributions of religion in coping with trauma and violence in individual life stories using coping and trauma theory;

  3. Can evaluate the theological complexity of religion and violence and is able to reflect hermeneutically on those complexities;

  4. Is able to communicate in a pastorally adequate way on the theme of religion and violence;

  5. Is able to analyse and critically evaluate new contributions of religion in coping with trauma and violence, and reflect on them and on his/her own professional approaches in this field and to determine on which elements further personal development of competencies is required, by showing this with a reflection report.


Grading will be based on three assignments (30%) and a final essay (70%). The assignments include a reflective autobiography, an interview with a trauma survivor, and an interview with a pastoral caregiver. The final essay will focus on a specific phenomenon/traumatic experience in relation to a specific theological or religious issue.


Literature (non-exhaustive)
  • J.L. Herman, Trauma and recovery / Trauma en herstel, 300 pp.

  • Various papers on blackboard, 100 pp.

  • Individual literature for essay, 300 pp.