Politics and Religion in the Greek World

History 280A/285A

Fall 2010
308C Doe Library
Day & Time: 
W 1-4P

This seminar will explore the relationship between religious practice and political power in the Greek world. Our examination will embrace multiple political contexts, including polis, koinon, empire, and (time and interest allowing) monarchy. The most developed approach to this issue is the polis religion model, which holds that religious practice in the Greek world was almost exclusively organized by and mediated through the polis. But this leaves many questions unanswered. Was it always so? How did religious practice relate to the process of state formation? Did religion play any part in the conflicts that are at the heart of Greek political history, or was its only social function to create a sense of solidarity and belonging? In the first part of the semester we shall take a careful and critical look at this and other current approaches to the issue by scholars of the ancient world, and look to recent work in anthropology and other related fields to explore new directions in which research on the topic might move. In the second part of the semester, students will devote themselves to a research project exploring the relationship between religion and politics through a selected case study informed by our critical engagement with the secondary scholarship. The seminar will conclude with presentation and discussion of studentsâ€_Äô research projects, which will form the basis for the final paper.


280A.001 - CCN: 39807
285A.001 - CCN: 39894

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