Today I was looking at the UI English Department course catalog for spring 2013 and being emo because
19TH CENTURY AMERICAN LITERATURE IS MY SOULMATE BUT I CANNOT TAKE THOSE CLASSES because my last two major requirements = old stuff
AND LIKE NO OFFENSE BUT AN ENTIRE SEMESTER ABOUT BEOWULF IS JUST NOT MY THING
so I am going to sign up for “SELECTED WORKS OF THE MIDDLE AGES” and the class that Twilight Professor is teaching; over the summer she invited us to her new class informally titled “The Bible for English Majors,” and I was so excited and we shared happy feelings
but what I really want to show you is that she is also teaching a graduate seminar in criticism and theory, and the course description reminded me of you guys!
This seminar is designed to provide graduate students with the theoretical tools to take part in what is being hailed as the return of religion in literary criticism and the religious turn in the humanities at large. Its readings lay the groundwork for addressing the changing dynamics of religion, secularism and secularization across literary historical periods and in conjunction with a variety of critical perspectives. One of the hypotheses of this line of inquiry is that our current theoretical, critical, cultural moment is calling into being a new critical approach to literary study, one I suggest we call postsecular criticism: not a criticism that proclaims secularization to be over-and-done-with, but one that, having passed through secularism as an ideology and secularization as a nexus of historical processes, is now subjecting that that ideology and those processes to critical examination.
In this seminar, we will read foundational texts in the sociology of religion as well as recent works in sociology, philosophy and literary theory, including works by Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, Jürgen Habermas, Danièle Hervieu-Léger, Talal Asad, John Caputo, Charles Taylor, Slavoj Zizek, Graham Ward, and Jacques Derrida, as well as a range of contemporary literary scholars and critics whose work we might consider postsecular. Key concerns of the seminar include: exploring ways to examine religious phenomena as distinctly religious, not simply as functions of material determinants; understanding and problematizing sociology’s vexed secularization thesis; uncovering the logic of secularism as an ideology in Western European and US culture; unraveling the implications of scholarly investments in secularism; and configuring the grounds and contours of a critical inquiry and a pedagogy that are not secularist in their presuppositions but genuinely postsecular.