English 9151A

The Postsecular Eighteenth Century

Instructor: Professor Alison Conway
Fall Half Course.

For a variety of reasons, eighteenth-century studies has been slow to make the “religious turn” familiar to critics working in other literary fields. This course examines the reasons why this has been the case, and what a “religious turn” in this field might look like. It also seeks to move beyond the secular/religion divide by engaging with theorists of postsecularism, who have re-fashioned our understandings of these terms and their evolution since the Reformation. Focusing on the eighteenth-century novel, the genre most often identified with the “secularization thesis,” we will investigate how religious controversy, materialist philosophy, and new understandings of sociability—as well as developments of form—contributed to the genre’s early “postsecular” history.

View the course syllabus here: English 9151A. PDF download