Poetry, Desire & Religion

Studies the use of love poetry genres to transform theological traditions in India, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity circa 600-1500 CE; studies ongoing exploration of intersections of the sacred, desire, and expressive language in post-Enlightenment poetry; explores poetry and, more generally, the arts as a performative mode by which a theological relation is posed and enacted in one’s life; introduces students to basic problems, readings, and ideas related to language, hermeneutics and desire; specific authors include: Mirabi, Kabir, Rumi, San Juan de la Cruz, Dickinson, Rilke, H.D., and C

Religion & Politics: The Middle East Today

Explore how religious beliefs and practices shape identities and politics at the individual, local, national and global levels; examine the complexities of the three Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in their diversities as well as other religious traditions such as Baha’i and Zoroastrianism; examine how theological differences shape political conflicts and conversely, how entrenched political conflicts shape religious beliefs of their respective communities. Open only to students in FOCUS Program. One course.

Women in the Biblical Tradition: Image and Role

Women in ancient Israel, early Christianity, and early Judaism in their contexts in the Near Eastern and Greco-Roman worlds, with attention to the relation between textual depictions and social reality and to the ethical issues raised by the continuing authority of biblical texts for matters of gender. Sources include the Bible, images from art, and archaeological remains. One course.

Black Gods and Kings: Priests and Practices of the Afro-Atlantic Religions

Surveys the spiritual, political and economic experience of those who worship African gods – West and Central Africans, Cubans, Brazilians, Haitians, and North Americans. The gods as sources of power, organization and healing amid local political dominance of Muslims and Christians and seismic expansion of international capitalism.

Religion and Film

A study of the relationship between motion pictures and religion. Focus on the comparative portrayal of organized religions; expressions of religious life; and religious topics, such as God, evil and morality, in both Western and non-Western films in which contemporary artists and intellectuals explore the challenges of modernity. One course.

Medieval Christianity in Film and Fiction

Exploration of modern popular fictional representations of Christianity in the Middle Ages, including novels and films. Comparison with original medieval sources to understand relationship between present-day interpretations and actual medieval practice, and what this reveals about both cultures. Of particular concern: ethical issues concerning Christianity and violence, wealth, power and notions of democracy and modernity. One course.