This course examines the most influential modern conceptions of religion, as articulated by major thinkers (e.g. Durkheim, Emerson, Freud, Marx, Nietzsche, Pascal, Weber) and filmmakers (e.g. Antonioni, Capra, Friedrich, Hitchcock, Kurosawa). Topics include secularization, the rationality of religious belief, the psychological pathologies, social functions, and political effects of religion, the social construction of identities, and international cinema as vehicle for the expression of “religious” and “secular” visions of transformation.
Sample reading list:
Hume, Natural History of Religion
Marx, Early Writings
Freud, The Future of an Illusion
25-150 pages of reading per week, 2 papers (7-10 pages each), one film screening per week, weekly web postings on readings and films (1 page each).