ANTH588 - IN SEARCH OF FREEDOM: RELIGION AND THE LIMITS OF THE LAW
The late twentieth century resurgence of religion in world affairs has been among the most politically charged phenomenon of our time. From the rise of transnational religious networks, to controversial legal challenges to religious rights, to state-sponsored trials for religious minorities, the issues remain critical and volatile. In this light, this course explores contemporary issues dealing with the dueling principles of religious freedom set alongside cultural practices and the role of the nation-state in managing, accommodating and disengaging with protections based on religious difference and legal questions. By examining recent and emerging scholarship on religious practices embedded in legal/political/moral controversies, the central goal is to explore the ways that new uses of religion and the law are changing the ways that scholars are engaging these topics.
The course will be taught in seminar format and students will engage with the historical, theoretical and ethnographic literature on this topic. Themes will range from formations of secularism and genealogies of religion, debates over freedom and its fictions, and the social construction of law as it relates to dilemmas over pluralism, evidentiary questions and anthropological interrogations of the role of trials.