HSS630: Social theory and religion

        [Cr:4, Lc:3, Tt:0, Lb:0]

Course Outline

Religion continues to play a vital role in the lives of contemporary Indians. The growing importance of religion in the public sphere is also self-evident. And yet, a social scientific study of religion is conspicuous by its absence in educational institutions. This is unfortunate as it deprives students of creative ways of thinking about religions, and placing them in history and society. This course is intended to familiarize students with the rich resources social theory offers on how to think about religion. Students will be introduced to nine major theories of religion: Animism and Magic (E.B. Tylor and J.G. Frazer), Religion and personality (Sigmund Freud and Sudhir Kakar), Society as Sacred (Emily Durkheim), Religion as alienation (Karl Marx), The Reality of the Sacred (Mircea Eliade), Society’s “construct of the heart “ (E.E. Evans-Pritchard), Religion an Cultural System (Clifford Geertz), Religion as Source of Social Action (Max Weber) and Evolutionary theories of religion.

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