Sabbath Politics: Rest and Refusal in Religion and Politics


The Jewish Sabbath arrives every week to disrupt ordinary life with a wholly different way of living, abstaining from some activities in divinely commanded rest. Is this different way of life strictly a break from the ordinary, or also a guide to it-and to how it might require disruption, reformation, and repair? Sabbath traditions have inspired radical political action including movements against debt, income inequality, environmental destruction, and racial injustice. This course will consider the ways that 20th and 21st century American Jews have practiced Shabbat and thought about its significance in political life. Students will read a range of texts including Abraham Joshua Heschel's classic 1951 book The Sabbath, and consider them in relation to movements of contemporary radical politics that have been inspired by Sabbath traditions, including Strike Debt, reparations for the descendants of enslaved people, and agonistic democratic politics.
Course Attributes: AS HUM; EN H

Section 01

Sabbath Politics: Rest and Refusal in Religion and Politics
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