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Sovereignty & Governmentality: Religious Dimensions

 今学期、Mayfair Yang 教授の Sovereignty & Governmentality:  Religious Dimensions というテーマのゼミに出席しています。Yang 先生は中国宗教の専門家ですが、このゼミでは、フーコー、アガンベン等、西洋の思想家をたっぷりと扱っています。西洋の巨人たちの思想を、中国の視点を交えながら議論していく、バランスの良さが心地よいです。
 毎週、かなりのリーディング・アサインメントがありますので、ちょっとさぼっていると読み切れないほどです。しかし、学生たちはきちんと読んできているようなので、毎回、感心させられます。難解な、しかも大量の文献に向き合う姿勢は、日本の学生にもぜひ見習って欲しいなと思います。日本でアメリカ流の授業をすると、教師はきっと嫌われると思いますが・・・
 参考まで、以下に授業概要を貼り付けておきます。

Sovereignty & Governmentality:  Religious Dimensions

One of the consequences of modernity is that we tend to think of religion and state politics as two separate categories, each with their separate institutions, imaginaries, and practices, and forget that throughout most of human history, they were intimately linked and mutually embedded.  Indeed, modernity in the form of secularization can be thought of as the sundering of this connection, and the expansion of the political sphere at the expense of the religious.  At the same time, we have also witnessed a repeated tendency, sometimes from within the state, and other times from without, to reconnect these two spheres, often with explosive results.

This seminar will take as a point of departure, two modes of power posited by Michel Foucault, "sovereignty" and "governmentality," and explore their workings in various religious systems around the world and in different historical moments.  Sovereignty is that vertical top-down mode of power that orients itself around the central figure of the sovereign and a juridical system.  This power works through violence and territory, and its punishments and war-making lead it to be associated with blood and death.  Governmentality, which Foucault thought was gaining ascendancy in modernity, exercises power through the enhancement and nurturing of life and population, and is focused on the individual subject and self-making.  This seminar will assess the applicability of these two modes of power for an understanding of political religions and religious politics, and for examining the stubborn persistence of the sacred-political in modernity.  We will also debate Foucault's proposition that sovereignty has lost ground in modernity.

Theoretical readings include Michel Foucault, Giorgio Agamben, Georges Bataille, Claude Lefort, Bruce Lincoln, Talal Asad, and Carl Schmitt.  Historical and anthropological readings include Helen Hardacre on Japanese Shinto fascism, Mayfair Yang on the cult of Mao in China, Talal Asad on medieval Christian monastic disciplines and modern tortures, Purnima Mankekar on Hindu nationalism, Saba Mahmood on the women's piety movement in contemporary Egypt, Bernard Faure on East Asian Buddhist monastic sexual disciplines, Eric Runions on American neoconservative Biblical discourse, Timothy Brook on imperial Chinese tortures, and Mark Danner on U.S. 

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