Religious Studies | Religion and Social Criticism
R661 | 27532 | R. Miller


This course examines religion as a source or an object of social
criticism, starting in the early modern period and concluding in the
early part of the twentieth century.   We will proceed along two
general lines.  First, we will explore how theologians,
philosophers, and psychological and social theorists have seen
religion as an object of critique, focusing in particular on
critics’ ethical, political, psychological, or economic reasons.
Second, we will examine how Western thinkers have seen religion as a
source of ideas for evaluating matters of personal or communal
identity, cultural practices, or social institutions.  We will also
explore how religion is theorized in the critical discourses
surrounding it.   One question we will consider is how (and in what
ways) “religion” is conceptualized in political or intellectual
regimes that espouse the toleration or unmasking of religious belief
or practice.  Readings include works by Las Casas, Locke, Hume,
Schleiermacher, Marx, Weber, Nietzsche, Freud, James, Dewey, and
Reinhold Niebuhr.