REL 295 - Special Topics in Religion
Credits: 3 credits in fall or winter, 4 in spring
Prerequisite varies according to the topic. A course offered from time to time in a selected problem or topic in religion. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.
Spring 2016, REL 295-01: Madness, Psychology, and Religion (4). Why are madness and religion so often associated with one another? Why do different people, sometimes even the same person, consider the same phenomenon as either madness or religion? This course addresses these questions by reading (1) theories that explain away-religion as madness; (2) biographies of gurus and saints who think the world, not themselves, mad; (3) studies in cognitive science that measure religious experience in the laboratory; and (4) works of literature in which madness and religion are associated. (HU) Hyne-Sutherland.
Winter 2016, REL 295-01: Hinduism in American Popular Culture (3). Yoga camps, Ohm tattoos, 5K color runs: all are testament to the fact that religious ideas and symbols from classical Indian culture have found new life in contemporary America. In this course, we examine this process of transmission, exchange, and appropriation. Students examine classical Indian texts in translation alongside modern re-imaginings of the concepts and practices found within them. Major topics include: the appropriation of Hindu symbols and practices for commercial or artistic purposes, the role of Indian philosophy in American literature and counter-culture, the nature of the guru-disciple relationship in American ashrams, and the development of “spiritual” tourism to South Asia. (HU) Hyne-Sutherland.
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