RELG 127. Secrecy and Heresy

This seminar will explore religious literature, bodily practices, and social behaviors associated with the performance of secrecy in various geographical, historical, and political contexts. Religious communities have often employed secrecy as a strategy for the maintenance of group solidarity and religious identity when faced with allegations of heresy. Secrecy functions not only as a means to subvert and undermine the marginalization of religious minorities but as a powerful tool for the creation of more egalitarian possibilities through preservation of privileged knowledge and the presence of internally shared though externally undisclosed social and religious connections. What kinds of religious secrets are meant to be safeguarded? What set of behaviors and strategies are required to keep these "secrets" or sustain adopted personas? Is religious secrecy merely a tactic for ensuring survival in the context of social marginalization and political persecution? What is the relationship between secrecy and suspicion? Is it necessary that what one wishes to conceal is inherently negative, pernicious or even heretical?
2 credits.
Eligible for ISLM, MDST
Spring 2022. al-Jamil.
Catalog chapter: Religion  
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