This course will reflect on the nature of the social world in a way that emerges from and is integrally linked with Christian faith. Challenging the common view that individuals are fully independent and self-made, we will look at the different kinds of communities that define us, in both restrictive and enabling ways: family, political society, religious community, and groups formed on the basis of other kinds of shared identities. We will look at the way in which we emerge as individuals only through these primary identifications, and at the conflicted way in which our individuality is essentially an attempt to understand and even overcome them. We will also explore the tensions that arise between these various communities and their claims upon us—between family and social membership, between religious community and political membership, between formal legal identity and concrete group identification, and so on. The course includes readings from diverse philosophical, religious, literary, and social-scientific texts. It aims to develop an existentially and philosophically rich Christian sensitivity to the complexity of the social relationships that shape us and make claims on us.
ICS 130609 F11
Dr. Shannon Hoff