Monday, March 16, 2009

Syllabus for Sociology 185 Spring 2009

Sociology 185C: Cultural Theory: The Case of Politicized Religion
Tuesday-Thursday, 9:30-10-45
Professor Roger Friedland (
Teaching Assistant: Clayton Childress,
South Hall 1430

God was not supposed to be a political force in our day. Secularization was to lead to the progressive distancing of the state from religion. This course will introduce the topic of politicized religion, the fusion of two symbolic orders -- divinity and temporal power -- a mixing that is, by most accounts of modernization, an historical surprise. This course will examine the rise of religious nationalism or politicized religion, and its nature as a particular form of institutional politics. In particular we will examine politicized religion through three themes: sexuality, commodities and money, and violence.

It is strongly recommended that you read a daily national newspaper, as the topic of the course tends to appear regularly in the headlines. You will be held accountable for knowing about the major events that occur during the quarter that bear on the course materials.

All the readings for this class, except for one, are available on the web, either through course e-reserves or directly through the web. You are responsible for purchasing a copy of Tim La Haye and Jerry B. Jenkins, Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth’s Last Days, (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale, 1995).

March 31: Logistics

April 2: Introduction

April 7: The Crisis of Secular Nationalism
Readings: Susan Friend Harding, “The Moral Majority Jeremiad,” pp. 153-181, The Book of Jerry Falwell: Fundamentalist Language and Politics, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000
Sayyid Qutb, “Islam is the Real Civilization,” Milestones,
Mark Juergensmeyer, “The Loss of Faith in Secular Nationalism” and “Competing Ideologies of Order,” pp. 11-41, The New Cold War: Religious Nationalism Confronts the Secular State, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993).

April 9: Nationalism and Religion
Readings: Rogers Brubaker, “Religion and Nationalism: Four Approaches” paper presented at "Nation / Religion," University of Konstanz, July 6-8, 2006
Olivier Roy, “The Modernity of an Archaic Way of Thinking,” pp. 232-289, in Globalized Islam: The Search for a New Ummah, (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004).

April 14: Religious Nationalism and the Global Order

April 16: Divine Nervous System
Readings: Roger Friedland and Richard Hecht, "The Bodies of Nations: A Comparative Study of Religious Violence in Jerusalem and Ayodhya," History of Religions Vol. 38, No, 2, pp. 101-149, 1998.

April 21: The Sex of Religious Nationalism
Readings: Azar Nafisi, “James” pp. 157-194, Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, (London: Forth Estate, 2004)
Saba Mahmood, “Female Sexuality and Social Discord,” pp. 106-113, Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005)

April 23: The Sex of Religious Nationalism

April 28: Midterm Examination—in class

April 30: Defending The Value of Value: Money and God
Readings: Tim La Haye and Jerry B. Jenkins, Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth’s Last Days, (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale, 1995).

May 5: Jesus and Money
Readings: Matthew 22-24

May 7: The Sex of Money
Readings: Max Weber, “Asceticism and the Spirit of Capitalism” pp. 155-183, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1958).

May 12: The Sex of Money

May 14: Religion and Violence: Culture and Power
Readings: Paul Berman, Terror and Liberalism, “In the Shade of the Koran,” “The Hideous Schizophrenia,” pp. 52-102
Robert Pape, “The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism,” American Political Science Review 20 (August 2003), pp. 1-19.
Nichole Argo, “Human Bombs: Rethinking Religion and Terror,” MIT Center for International Studies, April, 2006
Samuel P. Huntington, “The Clash of Civilizations,” Foreign Affairs, 72:3, 1993, pp. 22-49.

May 19: Religious Violence and Institutional Politics

May 21: The Loveless State
Readings: Hannah Arendt, “The Public and the Private Realm,” pp. 22-77, The Human Condition, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998).

May 26: The Sexless State
Readings: Giorgio Agamben, “Homo Sacer,” “The Ambivalence of the Sacred,”
“Sacred Life,” “’Vitae Necisque Potestas’,” “Biopolitics and the
Rights of Man,” pp. 71-90, 126-135
Thomas Hobbes, The Leviathan, Chapter XXXV (London, Penguin,
Exodus 1-6, Genesis 11-22

May 28: The Sex of State
Readings: Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris, “The True Clash of Civilizations,” Foreign Policy, No. 135 (March-April, 2003), pp. 62-70.

June 2: The Erotics of Religious Violence
Readings: Mark Juergensmeyer, “Warriors’ Power,” pp. 187-215, Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003).
“We Have No Orders to Save You: State Participation and Complicity in Communal Violence in Gujarat, Human Rights Watch, Vol. 14, No. 3, April, 2002, esp. Chapters 3, 4 and 6.

June 4: Q and A