This course is an introduction to a variety of critical approaches to religion. The first part of the course will take an historical approach to the development of Religious Studies through the lens of seven foundational theorists: Muller, Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Eliade, Geertz, and Said. The second part of the course will explore contemporary approaches to these theorists, in the process discussing anthropological, sociological, and phenomenological approaches to topics of concern currently to Religious Studies. Throughout the semester, we will trace different approaches to these themes across multiple theorists. In this course, we will consider the category of 'religion' as constructed. We will cultivate a critical approach that orients itself toward the disciplinary object (and the conditions for its emergence), the disciplinary subject (and the conditions for its emergence), and their dialectical interaction. Objects and ideas will not be approached as intrinsically or exclusively religious. Rather, we will explore historical, ideological, political, and cultural dynamics.
Section 401 - SEM