JPR459H1: Fanaticism: A Political History


This seminar in theory will explore the modern history of the concept of ‘fanaticism’ and its role in the development of political modernity. A focus on the concept of the “fanatic” (and its cognates) from the perspective of its various uses in political and religious thought from the Early Modern period through the Enlightenment and up to the present day, provides a fascinating opportunity for a critical review of the secular, rationalist, and scientific assumptions underwriting modern political forms and concepts, especially those of liberal democracy. At the same time, the course will offer critical insight into the ways in which religious and political differences among colonial “others” were, and continue to be, central to the elaboration of Western theoretical discourse on fanaticism and extremism as forms of “political pathology”. (Given by the Departments of Political Science and Religion)

(2.0 credits in Political Theory and/or Philosophy including 1.0 credit at the 300-level) or (0.5 credit in Method and Theory in the Study of Religion and 1.0 credit at the 300-level in the Study of Religion)
Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)