Winter 2013: RELS 1010, Religion in the Modern World

RELS 1010 – Religion in the Modern World

Tuesday and Thursday at 12-12:50 and Friday at 1-1:50

Office Hours: Tuesdays, 1-4pm, AA 5026

While religion is today often aligned with political conservatism, the Twentieth Century shows us the potential for explicitly religious radical politics. In this course we will look at famous critiques of religion as grand narrative (Freud, Nietzsche) before turning to the ethical and political dimensions of Twentieth and Twenty-First Century religious thought, looking at figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Alain Badiou. What unites such figures is an emphasis on freedom and justice, as well as a vision of politics as emancipation. Of particular importance for our study will be their understanding of human nature and society, as well as the nature and necessity of violence in political and social revolution.

Required Texts (Available at the bookstore)

Alain Badiou, Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universalism, Trans. Ray Brassier, Stanford University Press, 0804744718

Sigmund Freud, The Future of an Illusion (Standard Edition), W. W. Norton Company, 0393008312.

Martin Luther King Jr., The Measure of a Man, Fortress Press, 0800634497.

Howard Thurman, Jesus and the Disinherited, Beacon Press, 0807010294.

Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Penguin (by arrangement with Hutchinson), 0141185430.

Additional readings will be made available online.

Course Schedule (UPDATED JANUARY 21ST)

Tuesday, January 8: Introduction

PART 1 – The Grounds of Modernity

Thursday, January 10: Immanuel Kant – “An Answer to the Question ‘What Is Enlightenment?’” (http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/ethics/kant/enlightenment.htm)

Friday, January 11: G.W.F. Hegel – Selections from Lectures on the Philosophy of History (http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/hegel/works/hi/history3.htm)

Tuesday, January 15: G.W.F. Hegel – Selections from Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion (http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/hegel/works/re/partc.htm)

PART 2 – Suspicion and Postmodernism

Thursday, January 17: Ludwig Feuerbach – “The Essence of Religion in General” from The Essence of Christianity (http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/feuerbach/works/essence/ec01_2.htm)

Karl Marx – “Theses on Feuerbach” (http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/theses/theses.htm)

Friday, January 18: Sigmund Freud – Chapters I-IV of The Future of an Illusion

Tuesday, January 22: Freud – Chapters V-X of The Future of an Illusion

Thursday, January 24: Moreno – “The Collective Unconscious,” Chapter I from Jung, Gods, and Modern Man

Friday, January 25: Moreno – “Religion and Myth,” Chapter VI from Jung, Gods, and Modern Man
(NOTE: Both readings on Jung are part of a sinlge PDF, available here.)

Midterm Paper Assigned

Tuesday, January 29: Friedrich Nietzsche – “The Madman,” from The Gay Science  (http://faculty.washington.edu/cbehler/teaching/coursenotes/Texts/selNietzGay.html)

Thursday, January 31: Friedrich Nietzsche – Selections from On the Genealogy of Morals (http://records.viu.ca/~johnstoi/nietzsche/genealogy1.htm)

OPTIONAL READING: François Lyotard – Introduction to The Postmodern Condition (http://www.futuroscopio.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Lyotard-the_postmodern_condition_a.pdf)

(While we will not be discussing Lyotard in class, you may still choose to write on this short piece for one of your exegetical assignments.)

PART 3 – Ethics and Politics

Friday, February 1: Emmanuel Levinas – “God and Philosophy” (http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~other1/God_and_Philosophy.pdf)

Tuesday, February 5: Sojourner Truth – “Ain’t I a Woman?” (http://www.sojournertruth.org/Library/Speeches/AintIAWoman.htm)

bell hooks – “Feminist Spirituality,” from Feminism is for Everybody (http://excoradfeminisms.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/bell_hooks-feminism_is_for_everybody.pdf)

Midterm Paper Due

Thursday, February 7: Frantz Fanon – “Conclusion” from The Wretched of the Earth (http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/fanon/conclusion.htm)

Friday, February 8: W.E.B. Du Bois – “Of the Faith of the Fathers” from The Souls of Black Folk (http://www.bartleby.com/114/10.html)

Tuesday, February 12: Howard Thurman – “Jesus – An Interpretation” from Jesus and the Disinherited

Thursday, February 14: Thurman – “Fear” from Jesus and the Disinherited

Friday, February 15: Thurman – “Deception” from Jesus and the Disinherited

Tuesday, February 19: NO CLASS

Thursday, February 21: Thurman – “Hate” from Jesus and the Disinherited

Friday, February 22: Thurman – “Love” and “Epilogue” from Jesus and the Disinherited

Tuesday, February 26: Martin Luther King Jr. – “What is Man?” from The Measure of a Man

Thursday, February 28: Martin Luther King Jr. – “The Dimensions of a Complete Life” and “Parting” from The Measure of a Man

Friday, March 1: Martin Luther King Jr. – “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” and “I Have a Dream” (http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html)

(Note: While you could simply read “I Have a Dream,” you are encouraged to watch it as it was delivered on YouTube.)

Tuesday, March 5: Malcolm X – Chapters 1, 2, and 3 from The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Thursday, March 7: Malcolm X – Ch. 4, 5, 6

Friday, March 8: Malcolm X – Ch. 7, 8, 9

Final Paper Assigned

Tuesday, March 12: Malcolm X – Ch. 10, 11, 12

Thursday, March 14: Malcolm X – Ch. 13, 14, 15

Friday, March 15: Malcolm X – Ch. 16, 17, 18

Tuesday, March 19: Malcolm X – Ch. 19, Epilogue.

Thursday, March 21: Alain Badiou – “Paul: Our Contemporary” and “Who is Paul?” from Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universalism

Friday, March 22: Badiou – “Texts and Contexts” and “Theory of Discourses”

Tuesday, March 26: Badiou – “The Division of the Subject” and “The Antidialectic of Death and Resurrection”

Thursday, March 28: Badiou – “Paul Against the Law” and “Love as Universal Power”

Friday, March 29: GOOD FRIDAY

Tuesday, April 2: Badiou – “Hope,” “Universality and the Traversal of Differences,” and “In Conclusion”

Thursday, April 4: NO CLASS

Friday, April 5: Final Paper Due

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One thought on “Winter 2013: RELS 1010, Religion in the Modern World

  1. Pingback: Teaching this semester | Complete Lies.

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