GOVT-382 Dept Sem:Max Weber
Fall for 2016-2017
Faculty:
Max Weber (1864-1920) is commonly recognized as one of the pioneers in the development of modern social science. Trained as a lawyer and economic historian, he became one of the seminal figures in the development of the discipline we now know as sociology. But he was a scholar with wide-ranging interests, who did work of lasting significance on a whole series of subjects, ranging from the methodology of the social sciences to the sociology of religion. Both as a scholar and a citizen Weber was keenly interested in politics, and he wrote extensively on subjects that are of interest to political science and even political philosophy.

This course is designed as an opportunity for students to acquaint themselves in some depth with: 1) the writings of Weber himself on certain key themes that are of particular interest to students of politics; 2) the scholarly debates about his treatment of those themes; and 3) the relevant secondary literature. The themes to be emphasized are: 1) what it means to be modern; 2) the probable fate of modern societies; 3) the religious roots of cultural differences; 4) the distinctiveness of the West; 5) the cultural consequences of market economies; 6) the peculiar dynamics of modern politics; and 7) political ethics.

The course will be run as a seminar. All students enrolled in the course will be expected to write three papers: two short ones--one on a theme in the writings of Weber himself and another on a theme drawn from the secondary literature--as well as a more substantial research paper, which is due at the end of the term.

This course has been renumbered, effective Fall 2014. A student who earned credit for GOVT 492 Dept Sem: Max Weber in a prior term should not enroll and cannot earn credit in this class.

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: GOVT 117 or GOVT 080

Course syllabi
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Spring '17: Alonso S (description, file download)
Additional syllabi may be available in prior academic years.

Sections:

GOVT-382-70 Comparative Secularisms: Religion-State Relations in the World Today
Spring for 2016-2017
In a highly influential article published before 9/11, the political scientist Alfred Stepan (2000) claimed that no single religious tradition can be associated with a specific form of secular politics. The world's major religious traditions are multivocal, he argued, and for this reason the same set of religious doctrines have served at different times and in different places to justify obedience or revolt, nonviolent or violent collective action, apathy or social transformation. Secularisms are multiple, and so are their consequences for the relationships between religion and the state.

This course wants to analyse and explain the existing systems of religion-state relations in the world today. Under what conditions do religions and states adopt one or another type of religion-state relations? How do these relations change across time and place and why? The course will assume an inherently comparative perspective, looking at examples and cases from different religious traditions and world regions.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
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