HUM 135

 What is Secularism?

Matthew Mutter

. T . Th .

3:10 pm – 4:30 pm

RKC 101


1 credit.  Secularization is often understood as a story of subtraction: once we believed in gods, spirits, mana, miracles, or providential agency, now we don’t. This brief course will complicate that story by looking at secularism, not as what is “left over” once the world has been disenchanted, but as a way of actively constructing that world. The course will touch on a number of questions: What is secularism’s relation to the religious contexts out of which it emerged? How does it tend to conceptualize the self, the world, and knowledge? What are its animating moral and political norms? Along the way we will try to make distinctions between the historical process of “secularization” and “secularism” as a distinct system of belief. This course meets for the first four weeks of the semester.  Class size: 20