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Hip Hop, Reggae, and Religion (EM)

In this course, we will examine music and the religio-political imagination of the Black Atlantic, focusing on Jamaica and the US. We will examine the ways that the various cultures of hip-hop and reggae offer critique to our contemporary religious and political arrangements. Listening to the perspectives expressed in these cultural formations we will question whether the music provides a prophetic challenge to the status quo. Giving attention to the music, from the Negro Spirituals, to contemporary Hip Hop and Dancehall, we will contextualize it with an interest in understanding the relationship between their religious and political visions.

Instructors
Kevin A. Wolfe
Spring 2019
Hip Hop, Reggae, and Religion (EM)

In this course, we will examine music and the religio-political imagination of the Black Atlantic, focusing on Jamaica and the US. We will examine the ways that the various cultures of hip-hop and reggae offer critique to our contemporary religious and political arrangements. Listening to the perspectives expressed in these cultural formations we will question whether the music provides a prophetic challenge to the status quo. Giving attention to the music, from the Negro Spirituals, to contemporary Hip Hop and Dancehall, we will contextualize it with an interest in understanding the relationship between their religious and political visions.

Instructors
Kevin A. Wolfe
Spring 2018
History of Passover: From Moses to Jesus to Harry Potter (HA)

This course explores the history of Passover, from its ancient origins to its modern variations. Students will reflect on Jewish ideas of redemption as represented in art, food, memory, and ritual. Tracing the evolution of the holiday and its meaning, we will consider: sacrifice in its ancient Near Eastern context; Passover's centrality in the development of Christianity; ritual disparity between varying Jewish ethnicities; and non-traditional Haggadahs composed over the last hundred years. In a semester-long project, students have the option to write, create, and/or perform a representation of the main themes of the course.

Instructors
David Sclar
Spring 2018
Holy War, Martyrdom and Sacrifice in the Islamic Tradition (EM)

How were just war, holy war, and martyrdom imagined and enacted over the centuries in Islamic societies? How do concepts of the afterlife inform attitudes towards war and martyrdom? We begin in the Late Antique world with a survey of noble death, martyrdom, holy war, and just war, in the Roman, Jewish and Christian traditions. We explore these topics in the Islamic tradition through case studies: the Arab conquests, the Crusades, Spain and the Reconquista, the Iran-Iraq war and contemporary jihadist movements. We use primary sources in translation (including fiction and poetry) and, for modern period, films and internet.

Instructors
Shaun E. Marmon
Fall 2022
Holy War, Martyrdom and Sacrifice in the Islamic Tradition (EM)

How were just war, holy war, and martyrdom imagined and enacted over the centuries in Islamic societies? How do concepts of the afterlife inform attitudes towards war and martyrdom? We begin in the Late Antique world with a survey of noble death, martyrdom, holy war, and just war, in the Roman, Jewish and Christian traditions. We explore these topics in the Islamic tradition through case studies: the Arab conquests, the Crusades, Spain and the Reconquista, the Iran-Iraq war and contemporary jihadist movements. We use primary sources in translation (including fiction and poetry) and, for modern period, films and internet.

Instructors
Shaun E. Marmon
Spring 2020
How to Change the World: A Seminar on US Christianity and Social Movements (SA)

Have you ever wanted to change the world? So have lots of other people. In this course, we'll explore how American Christians have participated in social movements since the early 20th century, and we'll see how religion fits into their mobilization strategies. We'll focus on four case studies: the Catholic Worker movement; Black church women during the Civil Rights movement; the early Christian Right; and advocacy around HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ+ rights. This course centers ethnographic research methods in the study of religion, and students will learn skills such as data coding, participant observation, and qualitative interviewing.

Instructors
Lauren R. Kerby
Spring 2023
In the Shadow of Swords: War, Martyrdom and the Afterlife in Islam (EM)

How were just war, holy war, and martyrdom imagined and enacted over the centuries in Islamic societies? How do concepts of the afterlife inform attitudes towards war and martyrdom? We begin in the Late Antique world with a survey of noble death, martyrdom, holy war, and just war, in the Roman, Jewish and Christian traditions. We explore these topics in the Islamic tradition through case studies: the Arab conquests, the Crusades, Spain and the Reconquista, the Iran-Iraq war and contemporary jihadist movements. We use primary sources in translation (including fiction and poetry) and, for modern period, films and internet.

Instructors
Shaun E. Marmon
Spring 2018
Incarceration in Antiquity (HA)

Material and textual data indicate carceral practices were regular features in the ancient Mediterranean. This course begins by discussing select key works in the field of carceral studies, and considers ancient evidence to discuss the challenges of identifying prison spaces, the role of the state in incarceration, and the purpose(s) of incarceration in antiquity. A digital humanities component (mapping carceral sites and producing 3D models) will give students an intricate understanding of ancient carceral geographies and introduce them to digital humanities. The course requires international travel during Fall Break.

Instructors
Caroline Cheung
Matthew Larsen
Fall 2019
Indigenous Expressions: Native Christianities in Colonial Mexico (HA)

In this seminar, we will discuss ideas about conversion, authorship, translation, and histories in the context of Indigenous people's engagement with Christianity in colonial Mexico. In particular, we will be looking at the ways that Native Americans shaped Mexican Catholicism and the ways we can think of Indigenous people as authors and creators of their religious traditions rather than merely adopters or receivers of the Christian faith as taught by Spanish colonists.

Instructors
Jessica Delgado
Fall 2018
Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities: Justice Then and Now (EM)

This course examines ancient texts that have been central to modern conceptions of justice. We will analyze these texts in their own context, understanding both their own arguments and those that they criticize; look at how they have functioned to support different positions in the more recent past; and interrogate whether they should continue to have a role in shaping our notions of justice, and if so, what role that should be. The seminar will include discussions with justice-impacted individuals, as well as the potential for interested students to carry out a community-based project.

Instructors
Joshua H. Billings
Moulie Vidas
Spring 2023
Intermediate Biblical Hebrew (LA)

We will read the selections from the Hebrew Bible in the original Hebrew, considering aspects of translation and Hebrew grammar and syntax, as well as the historical, literary and religious contexts of the books.

Instructors
Laura E. Quick
Spring 2019
Intermediate Biblical Hebrew (LA)

We will read the selections from the Hebrew Bible in the original Hebrew, considering aspects of translation and Hebrew grammar and syntax, as well as the historical, literary and religious contexts of the books.

Instructors
Philip Zhakevich
Spring 2020
Interpreting the Qur'an: Text, Context, and Materiality (EC)

This course will involve a close reading of the Qur'anic text and its interpretive traditions. The course will also go beyond approaching scripture as a bounded, collected, literary text, by examining the ritual, experiential and material encounters between the Qur'an and Muslim communities. How does the Qur'an operate within societies? What are its multiple functions? How are the controversial verses often associated with the Qur'an interpreted? Through a critical engagement with categories like "scripture," and "interpretation" students will be introduced to larger debates on hermeneutics and material culture within the study of religion.

Instructors
Tehseen Thaver
Spring 2019
Interpreting the Qur'an: Text, Context, and Materiality (EC)

This course will involve a close reading of the Qur'anic text and its interpretive traditions. The course will also go beyond approaching scripture as a bounded, collected, literary text, by examining the ritual, experiential and material encounters between the Qur'an and Muslim communities. How does the Qur'an operate within societies? What are its multiple functions? How are the controversial verses often associated with the Qur'an interpreted? Through a critical engagement with categories like "scripture," and "interpretation" students will be introduced to larger debates on hermeneutics and material culture within the study of religion.

Instructors
Tehseen Thaver
Spring 2021
Introduction to Coptic Language and Literature

This course offers an introduction to Coptic language and literatures. The class provides the foundational grammatical and linguistic concepts to build elementary Coptic reading competency (with focus on the Sahidic dialect primarily but not exclusively). Through course examples and group reading, students gain exposure to a broad Coptic corpus including Nag Hammadi literature, martyr literature, monastic texts, magic or medical recipes, and other documentary texts. The course also introduces students to the tools and resources of Coptic studies - dictionaries, grammars, as well as digital humanities resources.

Instructors
Lydia C. Bremer-McCollum
Fall 2022