Source: (2000) In Thinking peace, making peace, eds. Barry Hindess and Margaret Jolly, 36-44. Occasional Paper Series 1/2001. Collection of papers presented at the Academy of the Social Sciences annual symposium, 5 November 2000. Canberra: Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.

The Peace of Westphalia (twin treaties signed in 1648) ended the religious conflicts of the Thirty Years War in Europe. (That war also had economic, military, and dynastic components, but religious divisions and antagonisms dominated.) While it did end the longstanding conflicts, contemporaneous assessments of the Peace were mixed, and mixed assessments continue to the present. In this context, Hunter contends that the Peace of Westphalia marked the emergence of a desacralized form of politics, and that this form of politics remains central to understanding and governing religiously driven civil and international conflict.

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