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Race, Religion, and the Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance (HR) of the 1920s is most often depicted as "the flowering of African American arts and literature." It can also be characterized as a period when diverse forms of African American religious expressions, ideologies, and institutions emerged. This course explores the literature of the Harlem Renaissance, particularly the writings of Langston Hughes, to understand the pivotal intersection of race and religion during this time of black "cultural production."

Instructors
Wallace D. Best
Spring 2018
Muslim South Asia

This graduate course seeks to provide the participants with a broad introduction to major intellectual trends in the history of Islam in South Asia from the early nineteenth century to the present. We focus on the work of select individuals and discuss their writings in the context of their intellectual, social, cultural, and political milieu. Translations and exegeses of the Qur'an, Islamic law, politics, and social thought are among the themes on which we focus.

Instructors
Muhammad Q. Zaman
Fall 2022
Medieval Judaism

This seminar surveys recent trends in historiography about medieval Jews and Judaism. We read and compare major works of scholarship written mainly during the last two decades that focus on medieval Jewish history in both Europe and the Middle East, from the 9th century to the 14th century. Special emphasis is placed on works of social and cultural history that illuminate Jewish communal life and religious identity in varying historical contexts. All required readings are in English, but supplementary readings are suggested for students with reading knowledge of Hebrew.

Instructors
Eve Krakowski
Spring 2022
Problems in Near Eastern Jewish History: Judaism after the Talmud

Most varieties of late ancient Judaism disappeared after late antiquity, leaving rabbinic Judaism challenged only by Karaism (a medieval anti-rabbinic movement). This course examines this shift, focusing especially on the role played by the Babylonian Talmud's canonization and circulation throughout the Near East. Students will learn to work with the medieval Jewish scholastic genres that developed around and against the Talmud (rabbinic responsa, commentaries, and digests, as well as Karaite exegesis), consider material evidence for these texts' production and consumption, and survey their historical contexts and parallels.

Instructors
Eve Krakowski
Spring 2019
Problems in Near Eastern Jewish History: Karaism

Karaism was the only major alternative to rabbinic Judaism in the Middle Ages: an anti-rabbinic, scripturalist, scholarly, messianic, and proto-Zionist Jewish movement that developed in Iran and Iraq in the ninth century and that by the tenth century had spread across the Islamic Middle East. This course examines how and why Karaism emerged and flourished during this period and after, and what its history tells us about Judaism in the medieval Islamic Middle East more generally. Proficiency in either Hebrew or Arabic required.

Instructors
Eve Krakowski
Spring 2021
Khomeini's Islamic Republic

In this seminar, we probe the idea of an "Islamic Republic," both in the writings of the most prominent leader of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and in the writings of modern and contemporary Iranian thinkers and political figures. We engage in an extensive study of Khomeini's theory of Islamic government, as well as a study of scholars who influenced him. We also study political debates in the decade after the Revolution over what institutions should comprise an Islamic government. The course ends with a study of reformist and conservative theories of state in contemporary Iran.

Instructors
Nura A. Hossainzadeh
Spring 2019
The Philosophy of Kant: Kant's Practical Philosophy

The seminar examines Kant's main writings in practical philosophy. The goal is to understand Kant's ethical thought generally, but in this edition we pay particular attention to his account of moral motivation, practical belief, and moral argument.

Instructors
Andrew Chignell
Alexander T. Englert
Fall 2022
Pre-Kantian Rationalism: Spinoza: Tractatus Theologico-Politicus

This course is a close reading of Spinoza's "Tractatus Theologico-Politicus." Topics discussed include the relation between philosophy and theology, the status of revelation and prophesy, Spinoza's account of miracles, the relation between religion and politics, and the freedom of religious practice and expression. We are especially interested in the relation of this text to others of Spinoza's writings, and to the writings of other figures, including Descartes, Hobbes, and Maimonides.

Instructors
Daniel Garber
Spring 2021
Topics in Recent and Contemporary Philosophy: Almost Everything Concerning the Concrete Part of Reality

This course is part of a 2-semester sequence co-taught with Gideon Rosen which aims to provide a graduate-level overview of contemporary analytic ontology. Rosen leads the spring semester course "Almost Everything Concerning the Abstract Part of Reality." After taking both courses, a graduate student may expect to have a level understanding of analytic ontology which would provide the basis for original further research in the area.

Instructors
Mark Johnston
Fall 2020
Special Topics in the History of Philosophy: Knowledge & Belief in Kant/Fichte/Hegel

A seminar on Kantian epistemology and philosophy of mind. Topics include: the nature of assent; the nature of faith and hope; fallibilism vs. infallibilism about justification; transcendental arguments; opinion and common sense; the sources of epistemic normativity, and the structure of practical arguments. Kant is the main focus, but we also consider how some of these themes are treated by his influential successors J.G. Fichte and G.W.F. Hegel. We may also look at some broadly Kantian movements in contemporary epistemology and pistology (theory of faith).

Instructors
Andrew Chignell
Spring 2020
Philosophy of Mind: Human Capacities

The idea is to look at some central capacities of the human mind beginning with judgement and reasoning, including reasoning from perception, then moving on to discuss the capacity to make value judgements, ascribe and assume responsibility, and achieve the status of a person.

Instructors
Philip N. Pettit
Fall 2022
Philosophy of Mind: Conversable Minds

The idea to be explored is that there are many distinctively human capacities that the ability to speak does not presuppose but that the practice of conversing does, mostly, catalyze. These capacities may include the capacity to make up our minds, to reason and follow rules, to make conscious perceptual judgments, to make mutual commitments, and to hold and be held responsible.

Instructors
Sam Berstler
Philip N. Pettit
Fall 2020
Religion and the Tradition of Social Theory

A critical introduction to developments in social theory that have influenced the academic study of religion, including the classic contributions of Marx, Durkheim, and Weber as well as more recent debates in anthropology and cultural theory. Required of, and designed for, first- and second-year graduate students in religion; others must receive the instructor's permission to enroll.

Instructors
Stephen F. Teiser
Fall 2019
Religion and the Tradition of Social Theory

A critical introduction to developments in social theory that have influenced the academic study of religion, including the classic contributions of Marx, Durkheim, and Weber as well as more recent debates in anthropology and cultural theory. Required of, and designed for, first- and second-year graduate students in religion; others must receive the instructor's permission to enroll.

Instructors
Stephen F. Teiser
Fall 2021
Philosophy and the Study of Religion

The impact of twentieth-century philosophical ideas on the academic study of religion: naturalism, phenomenology, hermeneutics, structuralism, Nietzschean genealogy, and American pragmatism, among other philosophical movements.

Instructors
Leora F. Batnitzky
Gabriel M. Citron
Fall 2018
Philosophy and the Study of Religion

The impact of twentieth-century philosophical ideas on the academic study of religion: naturalism, phenomenology, hermeneutics, structuralism, Nietzschean genealogy, and American pragmatism, among other philosophical movements.

Instructors
Leora F. Batnitzky
Fall 2020
Philosophy and the Study of Religion

The impact of modern philosophical ideas on the academic study of religion: naturalism, phenomenology, hermeneutics, genealogy, ideology, social construction, and epistemic injustice, among other philosophical movements, as well as the complex interplay between constructions of religion, race, and gender.

Instructors
Leora F. Batnitzky
Fall 2022
Studies in Greco-Roman Religions: Antioch from the Seleucids to Late Antiquity

In this cross-disciplinary course about ancient Antioch students learn about religious and ethnic diversity, imperial power, and domestic life in antiquity and communicate their knowledge clearly through creating virtual exhibits that draw on objects in collections at Princeton and Harvard. The seminar focuses on literary, archaeological, and art historical materials. This course is parallel-taught at Harvard Divinity School by Prof. Laura Nasrallah. Participants travel to collections at Dumbarton Oaks, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Worcester Art Museum, and Harvard University.

Instructors
AnneMarie Luijendijk
Fall 2018
Studies in Greco-Roman Religions: Time and Transformation:From Second Temple Judaism to Late Antiquity

This seminar explores ancient Jewish memory-making and historiography through a doubled focus on [1] the shifting ideas about time and the normative past in Second Temple Jewish and late antique Jewish and Christian sources and [2] modern scholarly approaches to the periodization of ancient Judaism and the transition from Second Temple Judaism to post-70 Judaism and Christianity in particular. In the process, we consider the theorization of temporality, forgetting, and cultural memory within and beyond Religious Studies--and ask what test-cases from ancient Jewish sources might contribute to them.

Instructors
Annette Y. Reed
Fall 2019
Studies in Greco-Roman Religions: Group Formation, Ritual, and Politics: Who's In? Who's Out?

Together we explore basic primary sources (especially Greek, some Latin or Coptic, reading mostly, for our purposes, in translation) of Ancient Mediterranean Religion c.100-400 CE, investigating how the early Jesus movement originated from and interacted with Jewish sources, writers and teachers, as well as classical ones, while spreading throughout the Roman empire, and how, in the fourth century, this unlikely movement morphed into "catholic church" endorsed by Roman imperial authority.

Instructors
Elaine H. Pagels
Fall 2020

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