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Religion and Secularism: Concepts, Practices, and Policies

ENGL 765.401

This seminar will assess how the realms of “religion” and “the secular” have been conceptualized in political theory and moral philosophy, reconfigured in modern states in arenas as distinct as law and administrative bureaucracy, and instantiated in non-state institutions and practices.  We will address what it means in particular cases to say the two are “mutually constitutive,” and we will consider their productivity as concepts of analysis in non-Western and premodern contexts.  To this end, we approach the problem from diverse angles, considering, for example, secularism’s function as the ground upon which specific modern concepts of “the human” have been articulated, and the roots of political toleration in early modernity.  Readings will include Talal Asad, Akeel Bilgrami, Wendy Brown, José Casanova, Partha Chatterjee, Michel Foucault, Marc Galanter, John Locke, Alasdair MacIntyre, Saba Mahmood, Winnifred Sullivan, Rajeswari Sunder Rajan, Carl Schmitt and Charles Taylor.

 The primary course listing for this course is SAST644:401.

Undergraduates are not permitted to take 700-level courses.

fulfills requirements