RELIG 3200 Constructing Religious Identity
The course explores the modern construction of religion and religions as a legal, international, historical, and cultural category. We will investigate what definitions and assumptions are at work and who religious tradition is invented, maintained, or changed and for what ends. Classifications interrogated include religious, spiritual and secular, academic and folk. Materials and movements examined include intentionally provocative juxtapositions of ancient, new, tribal, world, localized and international. It is common in contemporary discourse to privilege individual freedom to choose or create a religious identity, therefore, this course will pay special attention to the ways in which spirituality obscures the extent to which individualistic ideology legitimates the creation of self-identity through consumer and lifestyle choices.