Mar 21, 2023  
Course Catalog 2021-2022 
Course Catalog 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

POLS 377 - God and the Sovereign

Liberal democracy necessitates the church-state separation and the neutrality of the state toward the citizens’ diverse religious beliefs: the democratic sovereign authors the civic laws regardless of people’s diverse theologies and their gods. Democratic governance, therefore, requires political secularism. In recent decades, this understanding of sovereignty seems to have obtained popularity and predominance. The nineteenth-century anarchist, Michael Bakunin, however, states that the modern idea of the sovereign state is indeed a modified concept of Christianity’s almighty God: rather than excluding Him from the political sphere of human existence, the modern theory of sovereignty reproduces God in the institution of the state. Likewise, a number of twentieth-century thinkers highlight a structural similarity between political sovereignty and deity. This current of thinking about the intimate relationship between God and the Sovereign presents a formidable opposition to the ideas of democratic sovereignty and political secularism. In this course we critically engage with this current, and further inquire about the relationship between the God of [monotheistic] religions and the sovereign of politics. Our intellectual journey crosses through topics such as secular vs. theological political thought, as well as concepts such as sovereignty, the exception, politicoreligious violence and sacrifice. The students should come out of this course with the further capability of critiquing a set of contemporary political ideas that challenge liberal democratic thought and its humanist ground.

Credits 1

This course was previously taught as POLS 398 - God and the Sovereign

Social Science

Social Sciences

Compass Attributes
Social Science, Structure/Power/Inequality, Taylor and Lane Scholars