Near Eastern Languages and Cultures | Religion and Revolutions
N303 | 28788 | Cipa

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, and
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
India and Sri Lanka: Hinduism and Buddhism
Iranian Civilization and the 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?”