COLL-E104 15587 Religion and Revolutions (Cipa)(S & H)(3 cr.)

This course raises the central questions concerning the struggle between the received dogma of religion, and freedom of thought and conscience by focusing on issues such as:

  • views of the 18th century on Man, religion, and reason;
  • efforts of the 19th century thinkers like Marx, Comte, Durkheim, Weber to change society in a more “rational” direction;
  • the role of the French Revolution in bringing down the traditional underpinnings of European society;
  • the Russian Revolution and the development of the Marxist position on religion;
  • the Turkish secularist revolution and the destruction of the Ottoman Empire;
  • India and Sri Lanka: Hinduism and Buddhism;
  • Iranian Civilization and Iranian Revolution;
  • Huntington’s concept of the “Clash of Civilizations”.

    Among the questions we will be dealing with are: Is it possible to have a “secular” world? Is it still possible to have a unified “religious” vision? What is the relationship of “religion” to a “secular” state or to a “secular” public? How can religious traditions relate to each other, in a constructive and creative fashion, without descending into violence, at a time when they are obliged to come into closer and more intimate relations with each other than ever before? What is the relationship between religion and revolution? Is religion on the way out, or is it on the way in? What contributes to the phenomenal rise in fundamentalist commitment in so many places? Are there exceptions? Are we condemned to have a Star Wars like “clash of civilizations” between Islam and the West?

    Course Requirements

    The midterm exam is mandatory, but will not detract from the final grade. A good midterm exam will only enhance the final grade. You are also required to write a Research Paper (10-12 pages) on a topic of interest in the course, concentrating on subjects or regions of your choice. Finally, the “Final” consists of three or four essays to be chosen out of about ten or twelve.