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Philosophy and the Study of Religion

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Instructors
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Poetry and Transcendence in some Western Christian Mystical Theologies (EM)

The "mystical" as understood in the Western Christian traditions refers to experience of the divine pressing on the limits of language, and poetry is often its natural expression. This course examines some poetic expressions of the mystical from the Hebrew Song of Songs through Dante, John of the Cross, George Herbert, to Hopkins, and TS Eliot.

Instructors
Denys A. Turner
Politics and Religion (EM)

Is there an affinity between particular religions and particular forms of politics? Is religion a necessary basis for any stable politics, as many canonical authors in the history of political thought asserted, or is it in fact a threat, as religion provokes strife and poses a danger to modern ideals of autonomy - including democracy? The course addresses such broad questions by engaging classic works as well as recent sociological writings, studies in comparative politics, and legal theories on politics and religion.

Instructors
Jan-Werner Müller
Politics and Religion (EM)

We revisit some of the basic normative questions to do with religion and democratic politics: how can democratic polities be protected from religion, and how can religion be protected from politics? Might certain forms of democratic politics depend on religious sources? In particular, might liberal democracy actually "live off" religious sentiments in ways that many liberal theorists fail to acknowledge? Does even the religiously neutral state need a "civil religion" of some sort or other to preserve its moral foundations?

Instructors
Jan-Werner Müller
Professional Responsibility & Ethics: Succeeding Without Selling Your Soul (EM)

The course objective is to equip future leaders to successfully identify and navigate ethical dilemmas in their careers. The course integrates ethical theory and practice with practical tools for values-based leadership and ethics in professional life (e.g., public policy, for-profit and non-profit, business, tech, and other contexts). It also considers the role of religion as a potential resource for ethical formation and decision-making frameworks. The class explores contemporary case studies and includes guest CEOs and thought leaders from different professional spheres and backgrounds.

Instructors
David W. Miller
Race and Religion in America (SA)

In this seminar we examine the tangled and shifting relationship between religion and race in American history. In doing so, we explore a broad landscape of racial construction, identity, and experience and consider such topics as American interpretations of race in the Bible, religion and racial slavery, race and missions, religion, race, and science, popular culture representations of racialized religion, and religiously grounded resistance to racial hierarchy.

Instructors
Judith Weisenfeld
Race and Religion in America (CD or SA)

In this seminar we examine the tangled and shifting relationship between religion and race in American history. In doing so, we explore a broad landscape of racial construction, identity, and experience and consider such topics as American interpretations of race in the Bible, religion and racial slavery, race and missions, religion, race, and science, popular culture representations of racialized religion, and religiously-grounded resistance to racial hierarchy.

Instructors
Judith Weisenfeld
Religion and Ethics in the Anthropocene (EM)

The term Anthropocene is meant to mark a decisive shift in the human relationship to the earth. The challenge posed by the Anthropocene is not only technological and political but also ethical and religious. In light of the growing human impact on earth's climate system, many have questioned the role of religion and challenged the adequacy of our ethical thought. This class will explore the resources of religion and ethics for confronting the Anthropocene and also consider how the Anthropocene might require us to think differently about religion and ethics.

Instructors
Ryan M. Darr
Religion and its Modern Critics (EC)

The most penetrating critiques of religion have the power to challenge our whole way of being and are often just as unsettling to atheists as to believers. After all, religions are more than just sets of beliefs - they are complex weaves of values, practices, narratives, social structures, and more - which tend to leave their stamp long after people have deserted their explicit creeds. This course explores some of the key critiques of Christianity - and Christian-moulded culture - to emerge in post-Enlightenment Europe, and will involve opening ourselves up to the painfully sharp critical scalpels of Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Kafka, and others.

Instructors
Gabriel M. Citron
Religion and its Modern Critics (EC)

The most penetrating critiques of Christianity have the power to unsettle our sense of self and disrupt our most natural ways of being - for Christians and non-Christians alike. For these critiques don't focus on attacking religious beliefs alone; rather, they target many of the deepest values, attitudes, and tendencies at the core of Christianity and Christian-molded cultures, and perhaps even at the core of our humanity. This course explores some of the key 19th and 20th century critiques of Christianity. It will involve opening ourselves up to the self-reckoning demanded by the likes of Kierkegaard, Emerson, Nietzsche, Baldwin, and Butler.

Instructors
Gabriel M. Citron
Religion and Law (EM)

A critical examination of the relation between concepts of "religion" and "law," as they figure in modern Christian and Jewish thought, modern legal theory and contemporary debates about religious freedom. If religion gives law its spirit, and law gives religion its structure, then what is their practical relation in both religious and secular life? This course explores the relation between Jewish and Christian conceptions of law, both in their ancient and modern contexts, and the relation between traditional religious and modern secular views of law in debates about the modern nation state.

Instructors
Leora F. Batnitzky
Religion and Law (EM)

A critical examination of the relation between concepts of "religion" and "law," as they figure in modern Christian and Jewish thought, modern legal theory and contemporary debates about religious freedom. If religion gives law its spirit, and law gives religion its structure, then what is their practical relation in both religious and secular life? This course explores the relation between Jewish and Christian conceptions of law, both in their ancient and modern contexts, and the relation between traditional religious and modern secular views of law in debates about the modern nation state.

Instructors
Leora F. Batnitzky
Religion and Modern Moral Philosophy (EM)

The story of the development of modern moral philosophy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is inseparable from religion. This course explores the role of religion in that story. We will consider, among other things, the relationship between morality and divine intellect and will, the possibility of moral community between God and creatures, the moral significance of evil, and the moral significance of divine providence. In addition, we will consider how the logical space of moral philosophy changes when religious convictions are rejected and what difference that makes for the legacy of modern moral philosophy.

Instructors
Ryan M. Darr
Religion and Reason (EC)

An examination of the most influential theoretical, pragmatic, and moral arguments regarding the existence and nature of God (or gods). Along the way, we consider debates about whether and how we can talk or think about such a being, and about whether mystical experience, miracles, and the afterlife are intelligible notions. Finally, we consider whether religious commitment might be rationally acceptable without any proof or evidence, and whether the real-world fact of religious diversity has philosophical implications. Course readings will be taken from both historical and contemporary sources.

Instructors
Denys A. Turner
Religion and Reason (EC)

An examination of the most influential theoretical, pragmatic, and moral arguments regarding the existence and nature of God (or gods). Along the way, we consider debates about whether and how we can talk or think about such a being, and about whether mystical experience, miracles, and the afterlife are intelligible notions. Finally, we consider whether religious commitment might be rationally acceptable without any proof or evidence, and whether the real-world fact of religious diversity has philosophical implications. Course readings will be taken from both historical and contemporary sources.

Instructors
Andrew Chignell
Daniel K. Rubio
Religion and Reason (EC)

An examination of the most influential theoretical, pragmatic, and moral arguments regarding the existence and nature of God (or gods). Along the way, we consider debates about whether and how we can talk or think about such a being, and about whether mystical experience, miracles, and the afterlife are intelligible notions. Finally, we consider whether religious commitment might be rationally acceptable without any proof or evidence, and whether the real-world fact of religious diversity has philosophical implications. Course readings will be taken from both historical and contemporary sources.

Instructors
Denys A. Turner
Religion and Social Change in Early Latin America (HA)

In this course, we will grapple with the many paradoxes in the historical role of "religion" in people's lives and society in colonial Latin America. Subjects will include: religious change; Native American cosmologies; Indigenous Christianities; women and men's daily encounters with church institutions and their participation in devotional culture; historical dynamics of race, gender, and spiritual status; and the changing relationship between the church and state.

Instructors
Jessica Delgado
Religion and the African American Political Imagination (EM)

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the historically complex relationship between "religion" and "the political" in African American life. For instance, is there a non-political religious identity? And, how does the "religious" identity of an African American atheist, Christian, Jew, Muslim, or naturalist affect their "political" imagination? These questions will guide us as we engage in close readings of texts from a variety of genres (historical, theoretical, and literary) that capture the dynamics of African American experiences, religion, and thought.

Instructors
Kevin A. Wolfe
Religion and the City (EM)

This course introduces students to the socio-historical and political processes through which religion is represented, contested, and managed in the built environment. The course pays particular attention to the way that claims of religion implicate questions of diversity, difference, and justice in contemporary cities. Students will study the conceptual and historical debates on the role and place of religion in the public sphere and analyze empirical cases of how spatial decisions regulate or enable expressions of religious difference in urban settings.

Instructors
Babak Manouchehrifar
Religion and the Public Conversation (CD or SA)

This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary study of religion and its engagement with society and culture. We will identify where and how religion operates in the public conversation, especially in, but not limited to, the United States. Classes will be focused around topics that intersect with religion in the public conversation such as place, media, race, body, art, and ethics. Students will develop recognition of the different ways people use religion to construct meaning, boundaries, and identity and will demonstrate the ability to engage in informed dialogue around issues of religion.

Instructors
Jenny Wiley Legath

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