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FRENCH 103: Literature and Atheism

France, the land of laïcité and the epicenter of the Enlightenment and of Existentialism, has played a central role in the development of modern western atheism. Its philosophical and literary traditions - traditions in which the line between philosophy and literary writing is often blurred - are rich with discussions of the causes and consequences of atheism. From the seventeenth century, when atheism first emerged as a serious possibility, through to the present day, in which the French population is among the most atheist in the world, the trajectory of French history has been profoundly marked by the rejection of religion. In this course we will focus on texts that foreground questions about what it is like to be an atheist. If one abandons faith in any deity, what does it mean to exist in this universe and in society? What are the moral, psychological and existential implications of disbelief? How does the atheist face death? How does the atheist deal with religion and those who are religious? How has the experience of atheism evolved over time?
Terms: Spr | Units: 3-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II
Instructors: Cotsapas, P. (PI)
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