Beyond Disenchantment

Spring 2020

Max Weber famously wrote about “the disenchantment of the world,” but historians and theorists from Charles Taylor to Jason Josephson-Storm have shown that the world never stays disenchanted, that we oscillate between a world drained of magic and a world full of it. Is there a way out of this oscillation? There are perhaps three: the “technological sublime” (when technology becomes “magical”); a reabsorption of the human into “Nature”; and what Dietrich Bonhoeffer calls “this-worldly Christianity.” The purpose of this course is to explore these three alternatives for our future. We will explore the possibilities through reading fiction, poetry, theology, and philosophy.

Readings will include at least some of the following:

This course will be an HON 3V70 but I will also strive to get it crosslisted in Philosophy, Religion, and maybe even Great Texts.

This existence of this course depends on the willingness of Claire, Eva, Jack, Libby, Mackenzie, Margaret, and Natalie not only to take the course — if they can: student schedules can be unforgiving in their inflexibility — but also to recruit other students to take it.