Summer 2007

SOCS 612
Religions Resist Modernity

Gottschalk,Peter S.

06/25/2007 - 07/12/2007
Monday-Thursday 09:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Public Affairs Center 107

Why did the Taliban forbid television? Why do Creationists reject evolution? Why did Gandhi insist that Indian nationalists spin their own thread? Throughout the last century, resistance has been rising to modernity, and religion has been playing an increasingly important role in challenging the globalization of modern Western values. We will explore how Europe transformed itself into a "modern" society with worldwide influence. Then we investigate how the Lakota Sioux, Christian Creationists, Mohandas Gandhi, Malcolm X, the Branch Davidians, and the Taliban each have used religion in an attempt to resist some aspect of modernity either outside the Western world or within it.

Readings include John Neihardt, Black Elk Speaks; Robert Lee, Inherit the Wind; Mohandas Gandhi, My Experiments with Truth; Malcolm X, Autobiography; Stuart Wright, ed. Armageddon in Waco; and Sherifa Zuhur, Revealing Reveiling.

The course is designed as a seminar; regular attendance and participation in classroom discussion are expected and will make up part of your grade. Assignments include two papers and one in-class presentation.

A syllabus for this course is available at:
Course Syllabus

Peter Gottschalk (BA College of the Holy Cross; MA University of Wisconsin-Madison; PHD University of Chicago) is professor of religion at Wesleyan University. His research and teaching concentrate on the confluence of religious cultures in South Asia, with a particular focus on Muslims and Hindus in contemporary rural India. His work investigates issues of identity, social memory, modernity, and epistemology. Among other works, he has written Beyond Hindu and Muslim: Multiple Identity in Narratives from Village India (2000), co-written Islamophobia: Making Muslims the Enemy (2007), and co-designed the interactive website "A Virtual Village" (2001). Click here for more information about Peter Gottschalk and click here for more information about his work.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:
Geneive Abdo, MECCA AND MAIN STREET (Oxford University Press), Paperback

Mohandas Ghandi, THE STORY OF MY EXPERIMENT WITH TRUTH (Beacon Press), Paperback

John Neihardt, BLACK ELK SPEAKS (Bison Books), Paperback

Ahmed Rashid, TALIBAN (Yale University Press), Paperback

Stuart Wright, ARMAGEDDON IN WACO (University of Chicago Press), Paperback

Malcolm X, THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MALCOLM X (Ballantine Books), Paperback

Sherifa Zuhur, REVEALING REVEILING (State University of New York Press), Paperback


A course reader is also required and can be purchased at the It's Only Natural store (not to be confused with the nearby restaurant by that name). It is located at 386 Main Street (860 346-1786). Students should call ahead to ensure they have a copy available. If they have run out they should be able to get another copy quickly upon request.

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