The class is designed for students who want to deepen their philosophical understanding of religion. After exploring the "masters of suspicion" (Feuerbach, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud), we will engage Antonio Gramsci's theory of hegemony and WEB Du Bois' sociological analysis of the Black Church. We will get acquainted with social theories that focus on religion's
"utopian" dimensions (Ernst Bloch) and the "messianic" components of our life practices (Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida). We will explore different and conflicting feminist approaches (Luce Irigaray, Grace Jantzen, Judith Butler) and discuss how Pierre Bourdieu's theory of "habitus" and "social field" might inform a critical social analysis of religious attitudes. We will confront Frantz Fanon's reflections on anticolonialist violence and Homi Bhabha's postcolonial concepts of "hybridity" and "mimicry". In a concluding section "Philosophers read the Bible" we will deal with Alain Badiou's re-discovery of St. Paul's "universalism" and Giorgio Agamben's alternative interpretation of a "remnant". What can we learn from the different approaches for a more comprehensive engagement with religion(s) and religious movements?
- Professor: Jan Rehmann