Current Courses

This seminar examines American freethinkers, secularists, humanists, and atheists from Tom Paine and Ernestine Rose through Madalyn Murray O’Hair and Sam Harris. Topics emphasized include: church-state relations; social radicalism and women’s rights; secular versus Christian imaginings of the nation; and … read more >

What is the role of religious argument in politics and law? What kinds of arguments are advanced, and how do they differ from one another? Are some of these arguments more acceptable than others in a liberal democracy? This course … read more >

Although political action is often considered a problem of making oneself heard, religious practices of silence, self-effacement, and withdrawal from certain worldly struggles have guided many significant political and social movements, particularly forms of non-violent resistance. This course considers the … read more >

This course investigates the intersection of religion and celebrity in American culture through figures such as Oprah and Billy Graham. Beyond looking at particular religious celebrities, the course looks at the history of fame, theories of “charisma”, and secular celebrities … read more >

This course surveys the history and historiography of how Native Americans, Europeans, and Euro-Americans reacted and adapted to one another’s presence in North America from the 1600s to the mid-1800s, focusing on themes of religion and gender. We will examine … read more >

This course takes morality and the question of “what’s right” seriously as a lens through which to understand and assess modern American history. “Morality” is, of course, a devilishly flexible rhetoric, a language invoked to tell people how to act … read more >

  • Love and Reason

  • Faculty: Anna Bialek
  • Schedule: Mondays/Wednesdays 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
  • Course Number: L57 RelPol 245

Love often seems dramatically unreasonable, and reason can seem coldly rational in a way that excludes any emotion, passion, or affiliation even akin to love. The supposed opposition between love and reason has been used by Christian and secular thinkers … read more >

  • Thinking About Religion

  • Faculty: Elena Kravchenko
  • Schedule: Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. OR 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
  • Course Number: L57 RelPol 102

Nearly everyone has had some experience with something they would call “religion,” from at least a passing familiarity through the media to a lifetime of active participation in religious communities. But what do we actually mean when we use the … read more >

Prize-winning novels and novelists form the entire reading list for this class, which is interested in how writers from multiple perspectives (Christian, Jewish, pluralist, atheist, and others) have viewed the function of religion and the meaning of spirituality. This course … read more >

This course covers the major conservative thinkers from the rise of FDR to today, including Hoover, Robert Taft, William F. Buckley, Frank Meyer, Pat Buchanan, Phyllis Schafly, Jerry Falwell, Ronald Reagan, the neocons, and ending with some of the younger … read more >