This course will draw upon the variety of materials from Europe, post-Soviet Eurasia, Middle East, the Americas, and the Southeast Asia, and explore the vicissitudes of religion, and even more broadly, of the sacred, in today’s world which is supposedly secular and still increasingly “disenchanted.” The course will cover the basic ideas of the process of secularization that started, admittedly, since the 16th century, and continues. We will follow the story of how the distinction between “secular” and “religious” has been constructed in the modern times and the Enlightenment, and how the boundaries between the two have been moving. However, we will also deal with the criticism of secularization paradigm based upon the positions of current postmodern and postcolonial approaches, as well as upon new evidences from across the world that support the ideas of “de-secularization” or “post-secularism.” What is going on, in fact, is not a linear development but a variety of simultaneous processes of constant redefining, reconstructing, and reformatting of the sacred, in its connection with culture, knowledge, power, and violence. The course will largely draw upon experiences of many regions, starting with Europe and North America, and further with special focus on Russia, former Soviet Eurasia, and non-Western areas.
Credit load: 4 ECTS