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The Myth of DisenchantmentMagic, Modernity, and the Birth of the Human Sciences$
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Jason A. Josephson-Storm

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226403229

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226403533.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
The Myth of Disenchantment
Author(s):

Jason Ā. Josephson-Storm

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226403533.003.0001

The introduction notes that throughout the academy there continues to be an ongoing investment in the modernization thesis, which is alternately celebrated or condemned. Fortunately, two small groups of dissenters have rejected this grand narrative: First, postcolonial thinkers have worked to shatter the reflexive linkage between Eurocentrism and modernization; and second, a handful of historians working on Europe have come to emphasize contemporary enchantments therein. Taken together seemingly suggests as paradox—if the rejection of the supernatural is supposed to be the defining feature of both European culture and modernity, then in this respect—Europe is not Europe. The introduction also locates the manuscript as a whole as producing a Foucauldian genealogy of Horkheimer and Adorno’s monumental Dialectic of Enlightenment and the left-Weberian narrative contained therein. The chapter then argues that one of the mechanisms that both makes magic appealing and motivates its suppression is the reification of a putative binary opposition between "religion" and "science," and the production of a “third term” (superstition, magic, and so on) that signifies repeated attempts to stage or prevent reconciliation between these opposed discursive terrains. Finally, the introduction lays out "Reflexive Religious Studies" as a new model for our field.

Keywords:   Introduction, postcolonial theory, Dialectic of Enlightenment, Reflexive Religious Studies, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Superstition, Myth, Religion and Science, Critical Theory

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