NOTE: Colorado College is responding to Coronavirus (COVID-19) developments. Summer Block A & B classes are being delivered via distance learning. Admission open houses and visits are canceled. See Coronavirus Updates & Resources here.
Since the Enlightenment, philosophers and historians have argued that individual freedom and autonomy depend upon the confinement of religious beliefs and practices to the private sphere. On their view, the spread and entrenchment of institutions of modernity would result in the decline of religion as an active moral and political force. These modern ways of thinking assume that there are discrete entities called religion and the secular; where the latter is conceived as the arena of activities such as politics, economics and science in which religion has no place.
In this seminar, we will examine the phenomena of religion and the secular and their place in the modern world through close readings of historical, sociological, philosophical and anthropological works that address the question of religion and its relationship to politics in diverse contexts such as the Middle East, South Asia, Europe and the United States. Our aim will be to acquire an understanding of the variety of ways in which the relationship between religion and politics is configured and debated and to complicate our understanding of key concepts and problems such as modernity, progress, freedom, citizenship and belonging, religious difference, toleration, and the question of religious minorities.