Folklore & Folklife
Logan Hall
Center for Folklore and Ethnography
Graduate Program
Undergraduate Minor
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FOLK 025 401 Science, Magic, Religion

N. Haq
Tuesday, Thursday 12:00 - 1:30

Cross-listed with HSSC 025, HIST 025, RELS 116
No prerequisites

The Western world once had its share of witches, alchemists, astrologers, and magicians. They are thin on the ground these days, only to be replaced by New Age or cult-like movements. This course examines the complex Phenomenon of overlaps, interplay, competition, and disjunction between science, magic, and religion over a wide sweep of history, from the Middle Ages through the rise of science in the seventeenth and eighteenth Centuries to contemporary America, with side trips into the former Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. Characteristically, the course operates both in the perspective of intellectual history and that of anthropology‹for example, on the one hand, it traces as a case study the vicissitudes of certain key notions, such as transmutation, occultation, color, space, and time; on the other hand, it looks at the debate between science, magic, and religion, not as a product of purely intellectual or spiritual processes, but instead as part of a cultural dialogue and cultural construction.

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