Eugene Lang College Lib Arts: Liberal Arts
The category of religion has been described as "the most ideological of Western creations." It is a modern western concept, born perhaps in 1799, yet most of what it is thought to refer to is non-modern or non-western. At the same time, it seems an inescapable part of articulating what it means to be human here and now, whether we claim it, reject it or reframe it. What does it reveal and obscure? Can it be thought about in a non-mystifying way? This course weaves together a critical history of the academic discipline of religious studies with explorations of everyday “religion-making” in the broader culture and our own lives. Decolonizing the category of religion has wide ramifications, since much modern western social thought cut its teeth distinguishing itself from “religion.” Understanding the travails of religious studies thus offers insight into other disciplines, as indeed into the nature of disciplinary projects in general. Reflective awareness of the concept of religion and of the dynamics of its study offers valuable perspectives on politics, gender and sexuality, race, ethics and identity. But what has recently been called “religion-making” isn’t just something scholars do. We experience religion as a natural kind because it is woven into our individual, social and even political experience. Religions are made and unmade by participants as well as by critics, by high and popular culture, by individuals and communities negotiating variegated landscapes of identity, by those who claim to be “spiritual but not religious,” and not least by the law. As a seminar-plus class, we will supplement our academic inquiries with exploration of the non-academic settings where religion is contested and reimagined, from politics to museums, media and the arts.
College: Eugene Lang College Lib Arts (LC)
Department: Liberal Arts (LIB)
Campus: New York City (GV)
Course Format: Seminar (R)
Max Enrollment: 18
Add/Drop Deadline: September 11, 2023 (Monday)
Online Withdrawal Deadline: November 19, 2023 (Sunday)
Seats Available: Yes
* Seats available but reserved for a specific population.
* Status information is updated every few minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 7:46am EST 12/2/2023