History | Colloquium-Early Modern West European History
H615 | 3141 | Sheehan

A portion of the above section reserved for majors
Above section meets with HIST H680 and H620


Religion has, in the past decade, vaulted into prominence as a field
of historical inquiry. After many years in which religion was
subordinated to the more apparently concrete historical domains of
economy and society and in which secularization was embraced as the
bedrock of modernization, religion has come back. This course will
investigate new histories of religion. It will concentrate first and
foremost on the history of European and American religions, but
depending on student interests, might range farther afield. We will
spend several weeks investigating different historical and
anthropological ways of imagining the object "religion" and the
various debates around the problem of secularization. We will also
read primary source material from the early modern European period,
a time when religion as an object of scholarly inquiry was defined.
In addition, we'll spend some time looking at the disciplinary
distinctions in the study of religion, in particular those between
theological, church historical, sociological and anthropological
inquiries. And finally, we will dedicate half the semester to recent
historical work on religion, attempting to come up, along the way,
with some ideas about how to write the cultural history of religion.