RLG385H1: Becoming Modern: Institutions, Individuals, and the Dark Side of Modernity


What does it mean to be modern? Words like “modern,” “modernity,” and “modernism” are used to mark a fundamental boundary between our era and all that came before it (or lies outside of it); but most of us are hard-pressed to offer a solid account of what exactly this boundary is. This course examines the relationship between: a fundamental shift in the nature of daily experience; an order-of-magnitude expansion of the power of the State; a dramatic reorganization of religious experience and cultures; and a tremendous growth in the enterprise of Western science and technological production. We trace this reorientation over the last two centuries and examine its consequences using philosophical, literary, theological, and scientific sources, as well as recent scholarly work on the topic.

Completion of 4.0 credits
Society and its Institutions (3)