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Secularism: Godlessness from Luther to Lenin
RELI 271
Spring 2020
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: REES 216

Secularism is more than just the absence of religion. It is a political and ideological project with a long history that seeks to separate political and religious authority and imagines whether human life can be richer without religion. This course traces the idea and ideal of secularism as an ideological project from classic Enlightenment philosophers to contemporary critics. We begin with Martin Luther's arguments for the separation of church and state, examine utopian ideals of secular humanism in Mill, Locke, Hume, and Marx. We then trace how these philosophies were embodied in state-sponsored atheism in the Soviet Union and how secularism came to stand for religious freedom during the Cold War. Finally, we examine critiques of the secular project (such as Asad, Mahmood, and others), focusing on secularism as a realpolitik approach to governing multireligious societies and the idea of religious freedom as a universal human right. This is a seminar focused on close readings of philosophical and critical texts. Assignments include reading responses and reflective essays.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS RELI
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (EDST)(REES-MN)(REES-Social Sci)(RELI-MN)(RELI)(STS)
Past Enrollment Probability: 50% - 74%

Last Updated on JUL-21-2024
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