Location: Bowdoin / Religion / Courses / Fall 2010


Fall 2010

016. Sex and the Church
Elizabeth Pritchard T  11:30 - 12:55
TH 11:30 - 12:55
An examination of the themes, varieties, and conflicts of Christian teachings and practices regarding sex and sexuality. Source materials include the Bible, historical analyses, Church dogmatics, and contemporary legal cases. Although the focus of the course is on Catholic traditions, the course will include comparative analyses of the sexual ethics of other Christian denominations.

025. The Islamic Revolution of Iran
Robert Morrison M  2:30 - 3:55
W  2:30 - 3:55
The 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran changed the way Muslims and non-Muslims viewed the potential for religion in the political arena. Focuses on the history of Shi’i Islam’s views of political involvement, transformative events of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Iranian history, and the careers of religious leaders such as the Ayatollah Khomeini. Concludes by examining religious and political developments in post-revolutionary Iran.

201. Black Women, Politics, Music, and the Divine
Judith Casselberry M  11:30 - 12:55
W  11:30 - 12:55
Examines the convergence of politics and spirituality in the musical work of contemporary Black women singer-songwriters in the United States. Analyzes material that interrogates and articulates the intersections of gender, race, class, and sexuality, generated across a range of religious and spiritual terrains with African diasporic/Black Atlantic spiritual moorings, including Christianity, Islam, and Yoruba. Focuses on material that reveals a womanist (Black feminist) perspective by considering the ways resistant identities shape and are shaped by artistic production. Employs an interdisciplinary approach by incorporating ethnomusicology, anthropology, literature, history, and performance and social theory. Explores the work of Shirley Caesar, The Clark Sisters, Me’shell Ndegeocello, Abby Lincoln, Sweet Honey in the Rock, and Dianne Reeves, among others.

222. Theravada Buddhism
Sunil Goonasekera T  10:00 - 11:25
TH 10:00 - 11:25
An examination of the major trajectories of Buddhist religious thought and practice as understood from a reading of primary and secondary texts drawn from the Theravada traditions of India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Burma.

232. Approaches to the Qur'an
Robert Morrison M  11:30 - 12:55
W  11:30 - 12:55
Explores a variety of approaches to and interpretations of the Qur’an, the foundational text of Islam. Special attention will be paid to the Qur’an’s doctrines, to the Qur’an’s role in Islamic law, to the Qur’an’s relationship to the Bible, and to the Qur’an’s historical context. While the Qur’an will be read entirely in English translation, we will explore the role of the Arabic Qur’an in the lives of Muslims worldwide will also be explored.

251. Christianity
Elizabeth Pritchard T  2:30 - 3:55
TH 2:30 - 3:55
An introduction to the diversity and contentiousness of Christian thought and practice. This diversity is explored through analyses of the conceptions, rituals, and aesthetic media that serve to interpret and embody understandings of Jesus, authority, body, family, and church. Historical and contemporary materials highlight not only conflicting interpretations of Christianity, but the larger social conflicts that these interpretations reflect, reinforce, or seek to resolve.

275. Comparative Mystical Traditions
Jorunn Buckley M  1:00 - 2:25
W  1:00 - 2:25
Taking a clue from the Greek verb behind the term “mysticism,” “to see inwardly” (muein), studies primary texts—some “classical,” others less well known—with a specific focus on Jewish, Hellenistic, Christian, and Islamic materials. Avoiding “universal” ideas about mystical traditions, places mystical aspects within their specific religious traditions. Focuses on the language(s) of mysticism: how are mystical techniques, training regimens, and experiences expressed in their respective religious-cultural frameworks? Mysticism is seen as separate from modern “self-help” therapies and other ego-enhancing systems. Religious-political aspects of mysticism are treated, especially with respect to certain types of medieval European Christian mysticism.

390. Theories about Religion
Jorunn Buckley T  6:30 - 9:25
Seminar focused on how religion has been explained and interpreted from a variety of intellectual and academic perspectives from the sixteenth century to the present. In addition to a historical overview of religion’s interpretation and explanation, the focus also includes consideration of postmodern critiques and the problem of religion and violence in the contemporary world.