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RELIGST 261: What Does It Mean to be Secular? (RELIGST 361)

"Secularism" and "secularization" are two concepts whose importance to modern life is only matched by their ability to elude our understanding. Our aim in this seminar, therefore, will be to make sense of them as historical and sociological phenomena, as well as objects of theoretical and philosophical inquiry. Among other issues, we will probe the question of religious decline in modern societies, the formation of secular identity and subjectivity, the theological underpinnings of the separation of religion and state, the politics of religious minorities, and the broader transformation of religion in the modern age. Our approach to the subject will consist primarily in the discussion of a wide range of primary sources and scholarly writings, which will span the disciplines of political theory, anthropology, theology, history, and literature.
Last offered: Spring 2022 | UG Reqs: WAY-EDP, WAY-SI
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