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Cornell University    
  Feb 20, 2018
Courses of Study 2017-2018
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ANTHR 7456 - [Secularism and Political Theology]

(crosslisted) JWST 7456  
Fall. Next offered 2018-2019. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Co-meets with ANTHR 4456 /JWST 4456 /RELST 4456 .

J. Boyarin.

This seminar will examine the concepts of secularism and political theology, and along with them the notion of religion itself.   Our readings—which include theoretical and historical overviews, as well as case studies—will allow us to examine several key questions.  Among them are: Does secularism have a substantive content, or is it merely what fills the void where religious traditions retreat? Is secularism a specifically Western project, or are secularisms produced independently in different parts of the world? Does greater secularism lead to increased tolerance? What is the relation between nationalism, statism, and the ideologies usually associated with religion or “theology?”  Is a secular state really possible? How will our notions of “religion” change after these careful considerations of religion’s constitutive outside?

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