Posted on June 11, 2020
REL 231-02: Religion in America [GHP, GMO] MWF 3-3:50pm
Instructor: Dana Logan
This course introduces the diversity of religions in the United States (Iroquois, Lakota, Vodou, Mormonism, Islam, and white evangelicalism) and focuses on enduring questions in American religion such as the proper relationship of religion and the state, the difference between spirituality and religion, and the role of religion in American capitalism. We will begin with the European colonization of the Americas, the separation of church and state, and explore Native American spiritual creativity in the face of removal. Finally, we will explore how religion and politics interact in American Zionism, the Civil Rights movement, and the rise of the Religious Right. We will end the class with a consideration of Kanye’s church and the role of religion in American consumerism.
Dana Logan is a scholar of American religion and ritual who works on the history of evangelicalism, religion and politics in the nineteenth-century United States, and the experience of ritual in everyday life. Dana also writes fan fic about Shakers and feels that JLo’s performance in Hustlers was under-appreciated. She teaches classes on American “cults,” race and religion, and role of religion in celebrity culture. She is from Boulder, Colorado and received her BA from Reed College, her MTS from Harvard Divinity School, and her PhD in Religious Studies from Indiana University in Bloomington.
REL 303-01 Christianity in Byzantium [WI] T 4-6:50pm
Instructor: Derek Krueger
This course explores Orthodox Christianity from the sixth to the twelfth century (500-1200) as a system of religious practice. We will focus on concepts of holiness: holy things, holy places, holy people. Our investigations will provide insight into the formation of Orthodoxy and the cultural heritage of Christianity in the Eastern Mediterranean. We will survey a variety of literary, ritual, visual, and material evidence in order to understand a wide range of devotional behaviors in their historical, geographical, and cultural contexts. Topics to be explored include liturgy, the veneration of images, the cults of the saints, the quest for healing, monasticism, the architecture and illustration of churches, and the shape of Byzantine religious thought about God, creation, and redemption. This course will also address larger questions about what a religion is, how religions can be studied, especially historical religions, from a variety of sources, and how scholars might come to understand what a religion was like for the people who practiced it.
Derek Krueger is Joe Rosenthal Excellence Professor of Religious Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. A scholar of Christianity in the ancient and medieval Eastern Mediterranean world, he’s written about saints’ lives, monasticism, and the everyday religion of lay Christians. When school’s out of session and we’re not in the midst of a pandemic, he loves to travel the world–including with students–seeking out historical places, natural habitats, beautiful music, and excellent food.