Religious Studies | Freud and Religion
R300 | 29537 | Levene


This course will be an exploration of some of Freud’s later writings
and case studies, particularly those that bear on the relationship
between psychoanalysis, society, and religion. The purpose of the
course is not so much to evaluate whether Freud is “right” about
religion (he takes a mostly dim view of conventional, institutional
religion) but to trace the richness of his conceptual vocabulary for
thinking about the psyche and the social. Freud’s two most lasting
ideas of the mind—that the mind has depth and that this depth
ensures that we are “other” to ourselves—continue to prove fertile
ground for both debate and deconstruction in the fields of social
theory, philosophy, and religious studies. In this course, we will
pursue the question of why this is. Readings will take up the
Oedipus Complex, religion as obsession, dreams, the Wolf Man, and
Freud’s last three social-oriented works: Totem and Taboo,
Civilization and its Discontents, and Moses and Monotheism