Graduate course descriptions
RELI 6001 Methods and Theory in the Study of Religion
T. 14:45-17:30 L. Orr
This course introduces an array of important theoretical and methodological approaches in the study of religions and cultures, as well as specific examples that bring out the nuances of the variety of approaches we encounter. Together, we will explore the strengths and weakness of the questions asked and the manner of answering the questions. Further, we will ponder the ways in which both religious/cultural traditions and our scholarly framework shape our understanding of human activity. The aim of the course is to create a toolkit from which each student can draw in further coursework in their final project.
RELI 6002 Religion and Popular Culture
M. 14:45-17:30 L. DiTommaso
This seminar explores the relationship between religion and popular culture. Topics for discussion include: the nature of modern popular culture; the topographies of popular culture in today's digitally integrated, superflat world; the nature of religion in a society that is inundated, saturated, and oriented by popular culture; the redeployment and functions of traditional religious themes and tropes in new pop-cultural forms; and the global "apocalyptic shift" of the past generation and its pop-cultural expressions.
RELI 6017 Food, Sex and Death in Judaism
J. 18:00-20:15 N. Cohn
This course explores three activities associated with the body - food, sex, and death - as they have been constructed throughout the past 2,000 years of Jewish history. Special attention is given to the cultural contexts in which Jewish practices and attitudes have been shaped, to ritual practice, to queer gender-sexualities, and to the interaction between embodiment and religious experience.
The aims of the seminar are (1) to introduce you to a range of approaches to and issues in the study of religion (as well as to faculty members of our Department and of our sister departments at UQAM and Laval); and (2) to help you develop professional skills and gain experience - in terms of collegial interaction, self-expression, teaching, and gaining access to funding and opportunities for presenting your research to scholarly audiences. The seminar is held within the framework of our joint doctoral program with UQAM and Laval, and there will be several opportunities to collaborate with your colleagues from these universities.
RELI 6006 Christian Bodies
T. 11:45-14:30 C. Daniel-Hughes
This course examines the history of the body in Christianity. Organized around a set of themes and topics, it includes gender and racialization, as well as illness, performance and ritual practice, the senses and feeling, sanctity, cure and rehabilitation, corporeal discipline, dress and bodily augmentation, and sexuality. We will cover various historical periods and geographic localities in order to provide some historical fluency and familiarity with Christianity in its varieties. However, the course places an emphasis on contemporary North American Christianities.
RELI 6017 Music and Religious Expression
M. 11:45-14:30 M. Crowdus
This course explores how the practice of music in its many forms relates to religious expression. Music - and associated sonic practices - have been and continue to be a crucial way through which religious experience, ritual, and expressions are shaped and mediated. Religious practice in turn shapes musical creation and dissemination, making this examination of interaction, influence, and enmeshment, nuanced and multifaceted. This course will examine the intersection of religion and music across many forms and genres, such as popular, folk, classical, liturgical musics, including orally transmitted and improvised forms. Several key thematic areas will be explored relating to music and religious expression, such as community cohesion, reformist movements, life cycle rituals, myticism, trance, and others. The course will include a component problematizing the term "music" itself as a descriptor for the sonic properties of the religious experience.
RELI 6003 Caste, Casta and Race
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