Mar 03, 2021  
Catalogue 2019-2020 
Catalogue 2019-2020 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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AFRS 330 - Religion, Critical Theory and Politics

Semester Offered: Spring
1 unit(s)

Advanced study in selected aspects of religion and contemporary philosophical and political theory. May be taken more than once for credit when content changes.

Topic for 2019/20b: Race and Political Theology​. (Same as RELI 330 ) In recent years, “political theology” has emerged as a crucial notion in the humanities. Most narrowly, political theology refers to Carl Schmitt’s claim that all “significant political concepts” of the modern nation-state have theological and religious roots. Until very recently, theorists of political theology have ignored the ways in which race functions as a significant political concept of the state. This seminar explores the intersection between race and political theology. We examine multiple conceptions of political theology. And we ask most centrally: In what ways are constructions of race rooted in theological concepts and histories? We ask this question both from the perspective of the state as well as from accounts of African American experience in historical and literary texts. We consider writings by Carl Schmitt, Frederick Douglass, Ralph Ellison, Albert Raboteau, and Toni Morrison. Jonathon Kahn.

Topic for 2019/20b: Islam, Decolonization and Reform. (Same as INTL 330  and RELI 330 ) In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a groundswell of reform in Islamic thought emerged, taking up the challenges, anxieties, and injustices posed by colonial and imperial politics. The meaning of Islam in the twentieth century, to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, was shaped by these social theorists and the political movements that they participated in. Reformist Islamic thought was entangled with processes of decolonization and revolution in Muslim-majority lands around the world – not only the gaining of national sovereignty by formerly colonized territories, but the decolonization of minds, communities, societies, morals, gender relations, & patterns of thought. How did political projects of revolution and resistance relate to projects of theological and moral revival in Islam? How did Muslim intellectuals around the world draw on the US Black radical tradition to theorize colonization and race? How did these projects contribute to the emergence of the “Muslim world” as an idea? This course surveys the development of modernist Islamic reform movements during the period of political decolonization, and explores the relationship between Islamic social theory and decolonial thought in the contemporary context. Kirsten Wesselhoeft.

Prerequisite(s): One course in Religion or Africana Studies or permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

Course Format: CLS

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