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Postsecular Political Thought: Religion, Radicalism, and the Limits of Liberalism

JPR2058H / JPR458H


Department for the Study of Religion (Religion)
St. George
Ruth Marshall

This seminar in theory examines the postsecular as a series of questions opened by the so-called return of religion to public debate, the rise of politicised religious movements, and the limits of liberal democracy’s ability to respond to the challenge of religion and religious otherness. The course will examine the debates on religion’s public, political role as articulated by thinkers such as Habermas, Rawls, Brown, Zizek, et al by focusing on politically radical or revolutionary challenges to liberalism that are grounded upon or draw their inspiration from religious traditions, doctrines and practices. We will focus especially on challenges emerging from the colonial and post-colonial world in response to colonialism and the globalization of liberal democracy and capitalism, from thinkers such as Ghandi, Qutb, Ali Shariati, Gutierrez, recent contributions by postcolonial theorists to a ‘postsecular’ debate that is dominated by Western thought, as well as examining forms of globalized ‘fundamentalist’ thought.