Autumn 2016 | Spring 2017
Introduction to Folklore (honors) - English 2270H/ Comparative Studies 2350H
TueThur 11:10-12:30PM Hagerty Hall 145
Folklore is the culture that people make for themselves. Not all of us are specialists, but all of us tell stories, shape our environments, cultivate communities, and take care of our souls and our bodies. The forms of folklore circulate from person to person and group to group, adapting to every change of situation; they lend themselves to a wide array of social purposes. We'll look at a range of genres from both US and international settings: folktales, legends, jokes, song and dance, religious and holiday custom, foodways, craft, and domestic art.
Introduction to Folklore - English 2270/ Comparative Studies 2350
MWF 10:20AM - 11:15AM Journalism Bldg 371
#24893 / #24877
This class will investigate the history of folklore studies, review the major genres, and focus on the concept of folklore as emergent and dynamic—as an integral part of our day-to-day lives. We will explore different forms of vernacular culture, including oral/verbal, customary, and material folklore, and consider various interpretive and theoretical approaches to the examples of folk culture discussed. We will particularly explore contemporary forms of folklore, including urban legends, supernatural legends, rumors, jokes, personal narratives, food traditions and celebrations, occupational folklore, folk art, and digital forms of folklore like internet memes and “photoshops.”
The U.S. Folk Experience - English 2367.05
WeFr 12:45PM - 2:05PM Scott Lab E245
Concepts of American folklore & ethnography; folk groups, tradition, & fieldwork methodology; how these contribute to the development of critical reading, writing, & thinking skills.
Norse Mythology and Medieval Culture – Scandanavian 3350
TuTh 9:35AM - 10:55AM Journalism Building 251
What do we know about Thor and Odin, and how do we know it? This course examines the myths of the Old Norse gods and the sources in which those myths are recorded. Students will gain insight into the world view and beliefs of the pagan North by reading (in English translation) the most important textual sources on Scandinavia's pre-Christian mythology. Place-name, archaeological, and other evidence will also be discussed. Students intrigued by the Viking Age, medieval Northern Europe, or the interpretation of myth will find much of interest ( --as may bannermen of Houses Stark and Greyjoy).
GE lit and diversity global studies course.
Global Folklore – Comparative Studies 4597.03
MW 9:35-10:55PM Hagerty Hall 145
This course provides an introduction to contemporary folklore from around the world. How do ordinary people create meaning and beauty in their everyday lives? How do communities and groups mark themselves and maintain a collective sense of themselves as distinct from other communities/groups, particularly in a period of aggressive globalization? What does it mean to respect and conserve cultural as well as biological diversity? Students will begin by learning key concepts of folklore scholarship: culture, tradition, performance, genre, the local/global distinction, the folk/popular divide, the dynamics of tradition and innovation in folklore production. Through an exploration of these concepts students will develop an expansive definition of folklore in the modern world. In the second half of the course, we will explore a set of special topics through readings and films from varied world regions, and we will connect via videoconference with student groups in Egypt, India and Croatia to exchange knowledge and perspectives. We will focus on the transmission and transformation of cultural knowledge and practice in situations of want, conflict, and upheaval. Please note: all classes will be conducted as student-led discussions of course readings. As an upper-level GE, this course provides practice in reading scholarly articles, discussion and written syntheses. Class participation is required.
Arabic Folk Narratives in Translation – Arabic 5702
We 3:15PM - 6:00PM Hagerty Hall 451
Literary and cultural aspects of 1001 Nights and other popular narratives (epics, legends, folktales) in the Arab world. The purpose of this course is twofold; first, it is to examine in some detail a representative body of Arab popular narrative as a living tradition. What is the significance of verbal art as it is performed in present day social and cultural contexts? Second, it is to introduce students to methodological approaches to the study of folk narrative. The Arab world maintains side-by-side rich and centuries long practices of oral and written literature. Although this course will focus on folk and popular narrative, we will not neglect to consider the effect that a literate population has on verbal art both as process and product. How does exposure to literacy affect the structure and content of verbal art forms? What effect does the reading aloud, rather than simple recounting, of a popular narrative have on performance and on audience response and evaluation? What effect does diglossia have on verbal art forms?
Throughout the course, we will be discussing how, and to what degree, verbal art in general, and narratives in particular, can be studied as definers and negotiators of cultural reality. What is the relationship of folk and popular narrative to other verbal art forms, and how does folk narrative reflect or comment upon Arab society and culture of a given time and place?
Studies in Orality and Literacy – Comparative Studies 5668
We 2:15PM - 5:00PM Hagerty Hall 451
#24753 / #24754
Examination of major theories of writing and of oral composition and transmission, in juxtaposition to case material deriving from a variety of Middle Eastern and Western studies. Sample Texts: Joyce Coleman, “Orality and Literacy,” Walter Ong “Digitization Ancient and Modern,” Denise Schmandt-Besserat, “The Origins of Writing,” David Carr, “Torah on the Heart,” Anna Davies, “Forms of Writing in the Ancient Mediterranean World,” Konrad Hirschler, “Literacy, Orality, Aurality,” and “The Written Word in the Medieval Arabic Lands,” Roman Jakobson "Roman Grammatical Parallelism & Its Russian Facet," Susan Niditch “New Ways of Thinking About Orality and Literacy,” Sabra Webber “Canonicity and Middle Eastern Folk Literature,” James C. Scott, Ch. 6 ½ “ Orality, Writing and Texts” In The Art of Not Being Governed, Salem/Pax, Elaine Richardson and Sean Lewis "'Flippin’ the Script' / 'Blowin’ Up the Spot': Puttin’ Hip-Hop Online in (African) America and South Africa"
Prereq: Not open to students with credit for 648, or NELC 5568 (648).
Cultures of Waste and Recycling – Comparative Studies 5957.02
TuTh 12:45PM - 2:05PM Mendenhall Lab 129
The Trash Class is back! This course explores the notion of the residual: what is left over, useless, unclassifiable. We will explore the customary management of communal resources, both human and material, in scarce-resource societies. We’ll consider processes of symbolic classification through which phenomena can be labelled as out of place or out of phase. We'll examine the creation of waste (and its converse, deprivation) with the codification of custom in modernity, and look at strategies by which waste is recuperated as a matter of necessity, aesthetics, or ideology. We'll look at how different kinds of leftover move in and out of systems of value: for example, the labelling of things as "junk" or "antiques," people as "trash," or ideas as "folklore." Finally, we'll think about the status of residues in social and cultural theory. Course requirements include regular Carmen discussion of readings and a research project that traces the social life of a cultural object.
Introduction to Graduate Study in Folklore I: The Philology of the Vernacular – CS 6750.01/English 6751.01/ENGLISH 6751.11
Th 1:50PM - 4:50PM Denney Hall 435
How do we interpret traditional forms and the cultural practices that create them? How can we read cultural expression as text within the context of its performance? How can we cope with the multiple existence and variation of our object of study? This course provides a lightning introduction to folklore and the intellectual wellsprings of folkloristics. It then moves on through several canonical genres of traditional expression such as festival, fairytale, legend, folk belief, jokes, and costume with an eye towards developing the tools necessary for their interpretation. Students will compile an annotated bibliography on a single genre and write an analysis of an example of that genre.
Ethnic Literature and Culture in China – Chinese 7470
Mo 2:15PM - 5:00PM Journalism Bldg 387
Examines poetry, prose, and other cultural expressions related to ethnic minority groups in China.
Seminar in Critical Theory – English 7876.01
Fr 9:10AM - 12:10PM Denney 419
A review of theory and practice in some of the principal forms of literary analysis; focus on a single theoretical movement or a single critical problem.
East Asian Humanities – EALL 1231
Mark Bender, Xin Zhang, Yongfei Yi
Mo 11:30AM - 1:35PM/ Fr 11:30AM - 12:25PM Gateway Film Center House 1
Introduction to the contemporary and traditional cultures of China, Korea, and Japan taught through readings, films, and demonstrations.
Vampires, Monstrosity, And Evil: From Slavic Myth to Twilight – Slavic 2230
WeFr 12:45PM - 2:05PM Orton Hall 110
Changing approaches to evil as embodied in vampires in East European folk belief & European & American pop culture; function of vampire & monster tales in cultural context, including peasant world & West from Enlightenment to now. Taught in English.
Films of the Middle East – NELC 2244
WeFr 9:35AM - 10:55AM Hagerty Hall 160
In this course, contemporary films of different Middle Eastern countries will be approached from several perspectives. The course will present films of several countries in the region to give an introductory account of the specific cultures of their production. The emphasis will be on how various national cultures have built popular cultural products that may be representative of their specific cultural locations. In this respect, the course will bring about national, social, cultural, and historical issues and problems pertaining to the region. Film as a form of popular art will be considered as useful for understanding the production of narratives about Middle Eastern lives. Both a narrative and a visual medium, film will be presented as a way of seeing and representing the realities and fictions of these societies. Students will be asked to relate, compare and contrast these films as examples of national projects and cultural products. This introduction to different cinematic experiences in a particular region will consider how the representation and narration of reality in filmic texts are related to its contexts. This course will equip students with a basic knowledge of contemporary Middle Eastern culture. It will give students a chance to understand foreign cultures by presenting examples of how these cultures envision themselves in their films. Film, as a social practice and as a medium for national imagination and representation, will
provide students a comparative and critical perspective with which to reconsider their own understanding of film.
Russian Fairy Tales and Folklore – Russian 2345
TuTh 11:10AM - 12:30PM - Mendenhall Lab 185
We shall examine four categories of texts, both verbal and visual: (1) a survey of Russian demonology; (2) a large selection of the best-known Russian fairy tales; (3) scholarly articles analyzing the meaning of these tales as well as the differences between folklore and literature; (4) visual materials (film, paintings, graphics, and handicrafts), plus music inspired by Russian fairy tales. Students will meet Baba Yaga, the wicked witch of the east, both the desirable Prince Ivan and the seemingly deplorable Ivan the Fool, dragons who write letters, and talking birds, wolves, and horses. And what does it say about gender that Russia folklore features, not a Frog Prince, but a Frog Princess? Find out! Taught in English. GE cultures and ideas and diversity global studies course.
Folklore of Contemporary Greece – Modern Greek 2680
TuTh 9:35AM - 10:55AM Denney Hall 268
A general survey of socio-cultural trends and issues in modern Greece through close examination of ethnographies and other folk expressions.
Introduction to Comparative Religion – Religious Studies 2370
TR 9:10-11:05AM Scott Lab E001
This course is intended to provide a general introduction to the comparative study of religions. It is structured around three fundamental questions: (1) what is (and isn’t) religion? (2) what are the major similarities and differences among the world’s religions? (3) what is religious pluralism and what are some of the challenges that pluralism poses for thinking about religion’s place in the world today? We will begin by orienting ourselves to the academic study of religions. We will continue by surveying a range of religious traditions, including Native American religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Finally, we will try to make sense of the contemporary religious landscape by examining some new religious movements, as well as the rise of religious “nones” and the “spiritual but not religious.” The class is open to all students, no prior knowledge is assumed. It fulfills GE requirements in Cultures and Ideas and Diversity: Global Studies.
Science Fiction/Fantasy: Folklore and the Fantastic from the Nineteenth-Century to Contemporary Imagination – English 3372
TuTh 3:55PM - 5:15PM Campbell Hall 335
For this course, our focus will be on the ways in which folk narratives – specifically folk and fairy tales, mythology, and legends – often serve as starting places for speculative literature. Drawing from a variety of countries, genres, time periods, and experiences, this class will explore how folk narratives give meaningful shape to the ambiguous realities, unbelievable scenarios, and wonderful magic of the fantastic. While the folktales, fairy tales, and mythology discussed with vary through each time period (with certain themes like “Beauty and the Beast” and the concept of the Underworld repeating), when thinking about legends we will focus on the figure of the vampire across the centuries. No prior knowledge of speculative literature or folklore studies is assumed. Through the lens of speculative literature, we will analyze folk narratives as powerful cultural materials and explore why traditional narratives remain important in our contemporary society. Through the lens of folklore, we will explore strategies involved in reading and writing speculative literature, examine the common themes and metaphors across its different genres, and consider the profound impact of imaginative writing.
Research Design and Ethnographic Methods - Studies in Ethnography – CS 4655
TR 2:20-3:40PM Mendenhall Lab 129
Columbus is the fastest growing city in Ohio, and one of the fastest growing cities in the country. How is this growth promoted, and who is benefitting from it? Urban political economists have done a good job of exploring the macro level forces, including technological change and globalization, that have changed Columbus, and other cities. But it has been ethnographers, who observe people doing ordinary social activities, to capture what changes in a city mean for how people live, work, and think about the places they all home. For Fall 2016, this class on ethnography will offer an exposure to the history, theory and practices of ethnographic study specifically by looking at studies of urban communities and urban redevelopment processes. We will be reading studies that capture how ethnographers examine the structures and deeper meaning of daily urban life, and theorize its connection to broader processes of urban redevelopment. In addition, we will practice the methods of ethnography through individual and group projects that will examine the people and processes that are promoting the ongoing growth of Columbus, as well as what it means for individual and community life in Columbus.
Introduction to Folklore – CS 2350 / English 2270
Denney Hall 250
#17005 / 18568
This class explores forms of traditional, vernacular culture—including verbal art, custom, and material culture—shared by people from a number of regional, ethnic, religious, and occupational groups. We will consider various interpretive, theoretical approaches to examples of folklore and folklife, and we will investigate the history of folklore studies. Recurring central issues will include the dynamics of tradition, the nature of creativity and artistic expression, and the construction of personal and group identities. Folklore theory and methods will be explored through engagement with primary sources: folktale, legend, jokes, festival, belief, and costume, and students will collect examples of folklore through fieldwork.
GE Arts and Humanities: Cultures and Ideas.
The U.S. Folk Experience – English 2367.05
MoWeFr 9:10AM - 10:05AM Caldwell Lab 119
MoWeFr 1:50PM - 2:45PM
Caldwell Lab 102
Concepts of American folklore & ethnography; folk groups, tradition, & fieldwork methodology; how these contribute to the development of critical reading, writing, & thinking skills.
Science Fiction and/or Fantasy: The Fairy Tale and Reality – English 3372
TuTh 9:35AM - 10:55AM
Journalism Bldg 371
Most of us associate the fairy tale with magic and fantasy. This course considers the many ways in which fairy tales call us back to the "real" world; in fact, the modern Western world. We'll look first at the fairy tales of oral tradition as a kind of peasant survival guide, with examples from Italy, India, Ireland, and beyond. Then we'll see how the genre was domesticated and standardized in print and film, creating prominent models of selfhood and success along the way- taking us from Perrault to the Grimms, to Hans Christian Andersen and Horatio Alger, and finally to Soviet children's writers and Walt Disney. There was always subversion on the sidelines, however, and we'll look at other writers and filmmakers who bend or break the dominant fairy tale script. In all these transformations, fairy tales explore the tension between three ways individuals can respond to the promise of modern society: playing the game to win, escaping the game, and changing the rules. But what happens when we lose faith in the game? In a group project we'll survey what has been happening lately to the fairy tale plot in popular culture. There will also be two exams.
Humanitarianism in Question: U.S. Imperialism and Solidarity with Central America – CS 3501
TuThur 11:10am – 12:30pm
Stillman Hall 135
Explore the history, dominant discourses, and practices of aid (governmental and grassroots) to Central America by investigating primary texts dating from the nineteenth century to the present, by consulting the critical literature on the history of development, and by examining dramatizations in film and literature of both the predicaments of the region and solutions generated by residents and outsiders. Throughout, we will attempt to understand why some humanitarian projects flourish whereas other, equally well-intended ones constitute setbacks rather than advances toward a more just, prosperous, and peaceful Central American reality.
Introduction to Narrative and Narrative Theroy – English 4559
TuThur 12:45PM - 2:05PM
Denney Hall 206
Stories give shape to our everyday life experiences. We tell stories about ourselves, about others, about trivial interactions that fade from memory, and about life changing events. In this course we explore who tells stories to whom and in what contexts; the course will give you the tools to understand how narrative works. We’ll examine narrative form, genre, performance, repertoire and interaction. Each student will collect stories that will become the focus of a term paper. Requirements include a midterm exam, comments posted to Carmen (a total of 10 comments for the semester) instead of a final exam, and a term paper.
Studies in the English Language: The Sociolinguistics of Talk – English 4571
TuThur 2:20PM - 3:40PM
The dinnertable conversations, class discussions, chats while exercising, arguments, and joking that we engage in every day are rich with pattern and meaning. This course is an introduction to the analysis of spoken language, with a focus on ordinary conversation. The course will not help you to become a better public speaker. Instead, you will learn about the mechanics of conversation: how do we start and end conversations, decide when it's our turn to talk, show politeness or interest, create identities for ourselves and others through our talk? With a focus on face-to-face interaction, we'll examine how speakers utilize social context in talk and exploit language in order to achieve their goals, as well as how their goals sometimes get thwarted, in everyday settings. Topics covered include turn-taking and interruption, politeness, discourse markers such as "like" and 'y'know', cross-cultural communication, and language and power. the fairy tale with magic and fantasy.
American Regional Cultures in Transition: Appalachia, Louisiana, and the Texas Border Country – English 4597.02
TuThur 12:45PM - 2:05PM
Bolz Hall 422
This course will introduce you to the folklore of three American regions. Each is famous for its traditional culture, but each is often thought of as deviating in a distinctive way from the national culture: Louisiana is "creole," Texas is "border," and Appalachia is "folk." While exploring these differences, we'll also observe the commonalities: positive and negative stereotyping from outside, complex racial and class composition, heavy in- and out-migration, environmental distinctiveness and stress, extraction economies, tense and often violent relationships with both government and business. We'll look at historical change through the prism of celebrated folklore forms such as Louisiana Mardi Gras, Appalachian fairy tales, and the Tex-Mex corrido. We'll also explore the impact of Hurricane Katrina and the reconstruction of the Gulf Coast, the energy economy in Appalachia, and the cross-border movements of people, drugs, and capital. A general question arises: what counts as America?
Russian Fairy Tales and Folklore – Russian 2345
Course description: Examines four categories of texts, both verbal and visual: (1) a survey of Russian demonology; (2) a large selection of the best-known Russian fairy tales,; (3) scholarly articles analyzing the differences between folklore and literature; and (4) visual materials (film, paintings, graphics, and handicrafts) and music inspired by Russian fairy tales. Taught in English. GE cultures and ideas and diversity global studies course.
The Middle East in the Media – NELC 3204-10
Syrian refugees, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an authoritarian regime in Turkey, ongoing turmoil in Iraq and Afghanistan... These are just a few of the stories coming out of the Middle East that dominate headlines around the world. How do we understand the broader context for these stories? How might the media shape what we do and do not know about the Middle East? How does the media literally mediate between the so-called ‘East’ and ‘West’? This course uses a wide lens to evaluate how the Middle East and its people are represented in, by, and for the media. It also takes a broad view of the media (or “mediascape”) as news, entertainment, and communication, including everything from newspapers to television, music, film, advertising, digital and social media. We will discuss topics such as globalization, security, censorship and freedom of speech, and the role of technology in social movements such as the Arab Spring.
Fulfills GE Culture & Ideas and Diversity: Global Studies.Theory and Method in the Study of Religion – Religious Studies 3972
Hayes Hall 005
What is “religion”? How and why do we study “religion”? Is “religion” a manifestation of some sacred, sui generis reality that human beings can only dimly apprehend? Or is “religion” a rickety ideological superstructure built on the foundation of colonial, economic, and gendered oppression? Perhaps it’s a psychological projection, a delusion from which humanity must free itself. Or maybe “religion” is simply the creation of the scholar who studies it. This course provides a survey of classical and contemporary theories that have tried to answer these questions along with many others. We will cover a wide array of approaches to the study of religion, ranging from anthropology to psychology, feminist theory to cognitive science, and apply those approaches to interpret specific case studies of religious practices in particular places. Students also will have the opportunity to contribute original research to the American Religious Sounds Project, an OSU collaborative scholarly initiative. This class is required of Religious Studies majors and minors, though it is open to all students interested in the subject.
Community Development: Field Research and Seminar: Social Policies, Practices, Justices, and Responsibility – AAAS 5189
A service-learning course that draws on the principles of experiential learning by immersing students in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs.
Research Design and Ethnographic Methods – Anthropology 5650
Jeffrey H. Cohen
MoWeFr 9:10AM - 10:05AM Jennings Hall 160
This course introduces core ethnographic methods for anthropological fieldwork. We will master a variety of tools from the basics of participant-observation to defining social networks.
Analyzing Language in Social Media – English/Linguistics 5804
Lauren Squires and Marie-Catherine de Marneffe
WeFr 9:35AM - 10:35AM
The goal of this course is to learn how to conduct data analysis based on social media (e.g. Twitter). This course will approach the study of language and interaction in social media from both theoretical and practical angles. From the theoretical side, we will explore why social media are of interest for linguistic and other social science researchers, focusing on previous research findings about communicative behavior in social media. From the practical side, students will learn to perform analysis of social media behavior, covering all steps in the research process from data collection/selection to quantitative and qualitative analysis and reporting. The course will thus offer students valuable skills in both understanding and conducting social science research. The course is open to both undergraduate and graduate students. Class sessions will be a micture of lecture, discussion, and hands-on programming work at computers. No previous experience in lingusitics or programming is required, though some background in the study of language will be helpful.
Introduction to Ethnomusicology – Music 4555/6672
WeFr 2:20PM - 3:40PM
18th Avenue Library Rm 205
This course is designed as a historical introduction to the discipline of Ethnomusicology. Beginning with the scholarship that founded Comparative Musicology in early 20th century, the course moves through successive periods of disciplinary orientations and cross-disciplinary affiliations, from the Anthropology of Music of the 1960s to the Comparative Sociomusicology of the 1980s; from Popular Music Studies of the 1990s to the Anthropology of Sound and Listening of the past decade. Through this historical survey, this course aims to give students a broad overview of the methods, theories, topics, people, and places that have defined "Ethnomusicology" - in all of its various sub-disciplinary guises - over the past 125 years.
Discourse Analysis: Social Contexts – English 7872
Wed 9:10AM - 12:10PM Denney Hall 419
For students interested in using discourse analysis as part of a folklore, linguistics, literature, or other humanities or social science research project, this course will give you the tools to investigate how language shapes perceptions, values, social interaciton, and power struggles. The course provides an overview of the major approaches to analyzing spoken and written discourse used in sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology, including interactional sociolinguistics, conversational analysis, ehtnography of communication, pragmatics, and critical discourse analysis. The approach that we will take to analyzing texts is a micro-level one, focusing on the details of linguistic structure and how those details connect to more macro spheres of social life. Students will collect spoken and written texts and analyze them in short paper assignments.
Special Topics in Theatre History: Performing Publics – Theater 7899.07
WedFr 1:35PM-3:40PM Drake Performance and Event Center 2072
This graduate seminar introduces participants to the study of events featuring “the public” as both performers and spectators. Drawing on readings from across a range of fields including theatre, dance, performance studies, and cultural studies, we will consider how performance events and practices construct, contest, and attempt to transform collective subjectivities. We’ll look first at the “public-making” work of large-scale events such as festivals, pageants, protests, and flash mobs. Next, we’ll concentrate on contemporary performance works that address themselves to “intimate” or “ambient” publics. Examples include immersive theatre projects, site-responsive installations, and works associated with relational aesthetics. Throughout the semester, we will ask how “performing publics” negotiate questions of race, class, gender, ethnicity and nationality, and we will compare different methods of research and analysis. Final projects may be performance-based or writing-based. * Class meeting times may be adjusted to accommodate the needs of students. Contact the instructor at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or come to the first class meeting.
Cartelami, Cardboard Constructions, & Material Culture – Art 7108/ History of Art 8000
Laura Lisbon and Lisa Florman
#15241 / 18983
The recent rediscovery of cartelami opens up a world of ephemeral art and popular devotion in the northern Mediterranean, much of it lost to post-Vatican II Catholicism. Cartelami are painted cardboard pieces used to assemble a stage set for Easter Week devotions in which ordinary people re-enact sacred history. Connecting familiar Baroque aesthetics to new techniques from secular theater through the ambitions of local magnates and communities, cartelami draw on painterly craft to transform the spaces and optics of parish churches and bring narrative to life. This multi-disciplinary seminar will have a steady stream of visiting artists and guest lecturers (from, among other places, Architecture, the Center for Folklore Studies, Theater, and the Center for the Study of Religion), and cover topics ranging from scenography to folk art and vernacular religion to visual storytelling and Picasso’s cardboard constructions of the early twentieth century. Students will be able to work on an equally wide range of projects, provided that they are at least tangentially related to the topics discussed in class.
American Spirituality – CS 8872
Tu 2:15PM - 5:00PM
What is "spirituality"? Why has it become such a pervasive term in contemporary American culture, used to describe phenomena as varied as yoga, chaplaincy, and Oprah? What do people mean they describe themselves as "spiritual but not religious"? How does the "spiritual" relate to other critical categories like religion, race, gender, schience, politics, capitalism, and the secular? This graduate seminar will explore these questions from a variety of vantage points. We will adopt a genealogical approach, considering how the meaning of "spirituality" has developed over time through its shifting intersections with other categories. We will then consider a range of sites and settings, including many often deemed "secular," in and through which spiritual discourses and practices have developed, such as commerce, medicine, popular media, and law and governance. The class will include a comparatie dimension, but will focus especially on the U.S. context. Readings will include primary and secondary texts on issues like religious liberalism, the rise of psychology, secularism and secularization consumerism, media, and globalization. In the end, students will produce an article-length research paper.