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Current Teaching 2016-2017

Fall 2016

  • RELS886 Religion, Nature and Technology. Thursday 8:30-11:30 in Elias Andrews Room, Theological Hall.
    In this seminar we will read together a series of books that dispute, interrogate, refashion or reject Weber’s claim that a key theme of modernity can be captured by the German term Entzauberung—the disenchantment or de-magicking of the world. Starting from Bruno Latour’s classic We Have Never Been Modern, we will read together key works that instead seek to theorize religion/culture/spirituality together with nature/environment in modernity. These various approaches involve the emergence of new formulations of the sacred in the West, the examination of modernities beyond the West, and the development of new theoretical formulations such as affect theory or new materialism. Students will demonstrate their understanding of these works through seminar presentations and weekly discussions. They will formulate their own research question on a related topic, and hand in an essay at the end of term. rels886-syllabus-2016

Winter 2017

  • RELS401 Honours Seminar: Spiritual but not Religious. Thursday 2:30-5:30 in STIR412B. TA: Galen Watts.
    This year the honours seminar will focus on the concept of “spiritual but not religious” (SBNR). It will ask in what ways has the term “spirituality” been operationalized, and for what (political) ends? Is “spirituality” a meaningful term, or is it, rather, an empty signifier used by anyone to mean anything they want it to? What might it mean to be “spiritual but not religious” (SBNR)? What are the economic, social and cultural changes that have enabled SBNR to become a (coherent?) category of self-classification in the contemporary west? What might the rising popularity of this moniker reveal about the current religious and cultural climates? What social, political and ecological implications might this trend hold for contemporary society, more generally? And, finally, in light scholarly attention given to problematizing the concept “religion”, emerging most forcefully from the critical study of religion, how ought we to make sense of “spirituality” as both an emic and etic term?

Course Roster

Courses that I regularly teach at Queen’s include: