After reading Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason, Master Yoda conceded “Hmm… mmmm…. there is no do. Only try.”
Students have developed expertise with regard to required and recommended readings; class discussions are insightful and productive and the essays are learned and well written. The discursive environment is critical and engaged and the selected reading list is perfectly arranged. Except for this, the class is a complete disaster.
Ideology: a socially transmitted discourse producing symptoms of subjection and misrecognition.
Curious incident. I was on the bus reading “Ideological State Apparatuses” by Louis Althusser. I was reading with a pen, providing commentary and mark ups in the margins. A kind soul generously offered me their highlighter, seeing that I was making a mess of the text with a wobbly pen on the bumpy transit ride. And isn’t that just so? The highlighter is useful for emphasis but useless for criticism and commentary. Isn’t the dominant mode of production little more than a highlighter ideology, leaving the reader without appropriate instruments for criticism?
“No, an exorcist is not someone who teaches fitness. Are there any other questions?”
The University of Manitoba Faculty of Arts Department of Religion
RLGN 3110 Issues in the Study of Religion and Evil (C)
Dr. Kenneth G. MacKendrick
Office: 331 Fletcher Argue
Telephone: (204) 474-6277
Calendar Description: An examination of the construction of evil in discourse and ritual, including such topics as: purity and pollution; social boundaries and identity; norms of conformity and non-conformity; institutions of power and authority; morality and evil.
Course Description: A concentrated study of ideology and socio-cultural identity formation. Themes addressed include ideology and ideology critique, myth and myth-making, ritual and social formation, comparison and classification, and sex and gender.
Required Reading Package: RLGN 3110 Issues in the Study of Evil and Religion (Winter 2014).
Juschka, Darlene. Political Bodies / Body Politic: The Semiotics of Gender. London: Equinox, 2009.
Lincoln, Bruce. Discourse and the Construction of Society: Comparative Studies of Myth, Ritual and Classification. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.
McCutcheon, Russell. The Discipline of Religion: Structure, Meaning, Rhetoric. New York: Routledge, 2003.
Smith, Jonathan Z. Imagining Religion: From Babylon to Jonestown. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988.
RLGN 3110 Issues in the Study of Evil and Religion
Feuerbach, Ludwig. “The Essential Nature of Man.” In The Essence of Christianity, 1-32. Translated by George Eliot. New York: Harper and Row, 1957.
Marx, Karl. “For a Ruthless Criticism of Everything Existing,” “Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right: Introduction,” and “Theses on Feuerbach.” In The Marx-Engels Reader, Second Edition, 12-15, 53-65, 143-145. Edited by Robert C. Tucker. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1978.
Althusser, Louis. “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses (notes toward an investigation).” In Mapping Ideology, 100-140. Edited by Slavoj Zizek. London: Verso, 1995.
Barthes, Roland. “Myth Today.” In Mythologies, 109-159. Translated by Annette Lavers. New York: Hill and Wang, 1972.
Bloch, Maurice. “Symbols, Song, Dance and Features of Articulation: Or Is Religion an Extreme Form of Traditional Authority?” Archives européennes de sociologie 15 (1974): 55-81.
Bloch, Maurice. “The Past and the Present in the Present.” Man 18 (1977): 278-292.
Lease, Gary. “Ideology.” In Guide to the Study of Religion, 438-447. Edited by Willi Braun and Russell T. McCutcheon. New York: Continuum, 2000.
Smith, Jonathan Z. “Map is Not Territory.” In Map is Not Territory: Studies in the History of Religions, 289-309. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978.
Smith, Jonathan Z. “Classification.” In Guide to the Study of Religion, 35-44. Edited by Willi Braun and Russell T. McCutcheon. New York: Continuum, 2000.
Smith, Jonathan Z. “A Matter of Class: Taxonomies of Religion.” In Relating Religion: Essays in the Study of Religion, 160-178. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.
McCutcheon, Russell. “More than a Shapeless Beast: Lumbering through the Academy with the Study of Religion.” In Critics Not Caretakers: Redescribing the Public Study of Religion, 3-20. Albany: SUNY, 2001.
Ortner, Sherry. “Is Female to Male as Nature is to Culture? Feminist Studies 1, no. 2 (1972): 5-31.
Delphy, Christine. “Rethinking Sex and Gender.” In Sex in Question: French Materialist Feminism, 30-41. Edited by D. Leonard and L. Adkins. London: Taylor & Francis, 1996.
Goldenberg, Naomi R. “Theorizing Religions as Vestigial States in Relation to Gender and Law: Three Cases.” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 29, no. 1 (2013): 39-52.
In an attempt to understand the apparent 600% increase in workload, Dr. MacKendrick called the Office of Change Management.
KGM: “So…. I have a question. Why did one of my first year students call me to say that they’d puked in their library carrel?”
OCM Response: “There have been a lot of changes recently. For instance, we’ve replaced the library staff with an automatic self-service. The books are on the shelves so we regarded librarians as redundant.”
KGM: “That’s helpful, but doesn’t explain why the student called me.”
OCM: “Since students are of age, we figured they can clean up after themselves, so we let go of our caretaking services.”
KGM: “I see. No caretakers. So why did they call me?”
OCM: “You’re the point person for first contact.”
KGM: “Me? First contact? Not the registrar?”
OCM: “There is no registrar, students report directly to professors.”
KGM: “Uh… This is a lot to take in. Can you direct me to the Dean’s office? I have some questions”
OCM: “There have been a lot of changes. In our new system professors also take care of themselves…”
KGM: “Should I speak with the Head of my Department?”
OCM: “You seem like a pretty smart fellow, what do you think I’m going to tell you next.”
KGM: “Oh.. I see…”
OCM: “Actually, you’re the only FTE staff member left on your floor.”
KGM: [nervously looking down an empty hallway] . . . Hello? Is there anyone here?”
OCM: “Just a heads up. Can you tape your next few lectures and forward them to us; and, I’d like to make sure I have the correct office number. Thanks for your cooperation.”