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    Vassar College
  Dec 15, 2017
Catalogue 2017-2018
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AFRS 330 - Religion, Critical Theory and Politics

Semester Offered: Fall and 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 2017/18a: Islam, Decolonization, and Reform​. (Same as INTL 330  and  RELI 330 )This course surveys the development of Islamic movements in French, British, and Dutch colonial territories and the subsequent post-colonial states. We focus on the various projects of religious, moral, societal, and political reform that developed during this period. We ask how political projects of revolution and resistance related to projects of theological and moral revival in Islam. Theories of sexuality are a central part of these movements, and the seminar focuses in large part on how new (normative and descriptive) accounts of gender and sexuality emerged in Islamic discourses in this period, responding to and shaping the political dynamics of decolonization. Kirsten Wesselhoeft.

Topic for 2017/18b: 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

One 2-hour period.

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