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Socialist Utopias: Transcendence and Religion in Communist States
RELI 225
Fall 2021
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: REES 230

Socialism is a political system predicated on building a better future by transcending the present. But what kind of utopias were imagined in and by actual socialist states like the Soviet Union? Why was atheism so central to Marx's vision of socialism, and what kinds of futures did communists imagine were possible, once religion was removed from society? What kinds of transcendence did communists imagine would exist once they transcended religion? What kinds of religious practices were enabled despite and sometimes because of the state's repression of organized religion? We will read some Marx and some Soviet science fiction as well as ethnographies, ranging from studies that explore how communism is and isn't like a religion, how former atheists became missionaries, how some religious communities survived communism, how mangoes became Mao's relics, how Vietnamese spirit mediums channel Ho Chi Minh, and what kinds of imaginaries can flourish in post-socialist ruins like Moscow and Silicon Valley.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS RELI
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode:
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (REES-Social Sci)(RELI-MN)(RELI)
Past Enrollment Probability: 50% - 74%

Last Updated on JUL-21-2024
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