Topics such as religious phenomena, e.g., Millenialism, religious ethics and historical religious figures and movements. May be repeated for credit with different topics.
Fall Semester informationLeslie James
290A: Tps: Religion, Death, and Mourning
This course is a cross-cultural exploration of the intersections between religion, death, and mourning in religious traditions and cultures. In the face of living in a death-denying culture that treats the subject as taboo, the course demonstrates the value and benefits to be derived from conversation on death and mourning. It provides a discursive space that foregrounds the relationship between death and the meaning of life, individual and collective growth and development, healing, conflict resolution, space, and the work and of mourning. Through class discussions, reflections, and other practices based on reading materials related to the world's religious traditions, philosophy, literature, film, and print media, amongst others, the course amplifies themes such as friendship, loss, absence, conflict resolution, memory, literary genres, language and modes of discourse, monuments, rituals, and mourning practices that deal with life and death in various cultures. In the process, it seeks to raise students' awareness to the uniqueness of relationships, issues of fidelity, aesthetics, and the ethical responsibility and significance of memorializing, mourning, and the risks involved in bearing witness and speaking to the phenomenon of death and its place in the human condition.
290B: Tps: The Bible Now
This course offers a critical examination of what the Bible says or does not say about a wide range of controversial issues and some of the ways that biblical texts have been employed as an authoritative resource for discussing and regulating ethics and identity from antiquity to now. We will be especially interested in the ways the Bible is used in contemporary discussions of some contentious issues in American society, the nature of such contemporary interpretations and the degree to which a person can or should be held responsible for the implications or applications of her or his interpretations.