Social Science and Religion Network Courses

Fall 2017

ANTHROPOLOGY

AN 719 ANTHROPOLOGY OF MUSLIM CULTURES AND POLITICS

Prof. Shahla Haeri

Muslim societies are today being buffeted by a struggle over the forms and meanings of Muslim culture and politics. This course examines this struggle, and its implications for religious authority, gender ideals, and new notions of citizenship, civil society, and democracy.

MWF 10:10-11:00am

AN 775 Culture, Society, and Religion in South Asia

Prof. Frank Korom

Ethnographic and historical introduction to the Indian subcontinent with a focus on the impact of religion on cultural practices and social institutions.

MWF 1:25-2:15pm

GMS MA 620 World Religions and Healing

An introduction to approaches to healing integral to Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, African, African-descended, Latin American, Chinese, Native American traditions, and to some of the outcomes of their interactions, in relation to the experience of affliction and suffering. Draws on source materials from history, religious studies, and medical anthropology. 4 cr, Fall sem. M 3:30-6:15, Charles River Campus.

M 2:30-5:15pm

GMS MA 622 Religion, Culture, and Public Health

This medical anthropology course will explore relationships between religion, culture, and health in the context of public health projects. We will examine historical developments, examples of faith-based public health organizations, and current research on “religious health assets,” both locally and internationally. Students will design and conduct qualitative research projects on the culture of a faith-based health organization. 3 cr, Fall sem Th 3:30-6:15, Charles River Campus. (Students needing a 4th credit should speak with the instructor about adding a single-credit directed study.)

R 3:30-6:30pm

 

MEDICAL ANTHROPOLOGY

GMS MA 620 World Religions and Healing 

An introduction to approaches to healing integral to Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Yoruba, African-descended, Latin American, Chinese, Navajo traditions, and to some of the outcomes of their interactions, in relation to the experience of affliction and suffering. Draws on source materials from history, religious studies, and medical anthropology.

Prof. Linda Barnes

M 3:30-6:15pm

GMS MA 622  Religion, Culture, and Public Health 

his course will explore relationships between religion and health in the context of public health projects. We will examine historical developments, examples of faith-based public health organizations, and current research on “religious health assets,” both locally and internationally. 3 cr. Students needing a 4th credit should speak with the instructor about adding a single-credit directed study.

Prof. Lance Laird

Th 3:30-6:15pm

GMS MA 640 The Cultural Formation of the Clinician: Its Implications for Practice

This course  provides a context for exploring and reflecting on one’s own cultural formation in relation to such topics as gender, sexual orientation, race, class, religion, body size, and other areas where there are the greatest risks for health disparities through unexamined bias. The course examines the values one brings into one’s practice as a researcher and/or care provider, and how the interaction of both influence one?s personal and professional life, including responses to diverse patient cultures. Offered through the M.S. program in Medical Anthropology.

Prof. Linda Barnes

W 5:00-7:50pm

 

RELIGION

GRS RN 795 Humanities Approaches to Religion

Introduces major theoretical questions in the humanistic study of religion. Examines the nature and origin of religion as well as definitions and critiques of religion from comparative, historical, sociological, literary standpoints as well as postmodern and gender studies approaches.

Prof. Anthony Petro

T 3:30-6:15pm

GRS RN 616 Modern Islam

Focuses on formations of Islam in colonial and postcolonial periods. How modernist and Islamist thinkers have negotiated the encounter between tradition and modernity.

Prof. Teena Purohit

TR 9:30am-10:45am

GRS RN 768 Symbol, Myth, and Rite

Historical overview of ritual behavior, the role of symbolism in the study of culture, and the narrative quality of worldview and belief. Emphasis on verbal performance and public display events in specific cultural contexts

Prof. Adam Seligman

TR 2:00pm-3:15pm

GRS RN 684 The Holocaust

Background of German (and European) anti-Semitism. Rise of Nazism and early oppression, initial Jewish reaction, mechanics of destruction, ghettos, camps, world response and nonresponse, literature of the Holocaust, and religious implications.

Prof. Steven Katz

TR 3:30pm-4:45pm

GRS RN 640 The Quran

The emergence of the Quran as a major religious text, its structure and literary features, its principle themes and places within the religious and intellectual life of the Muslim community.

Prof. Kecia Ali

MWF 12:20pm-1:10pm

GRS RN 628 Modern Judaism

Exploration of complex encounters between Judaism and modernity from the Renaissance and Reformation to expulsion from Spain and creation of Jewish centers in the New World; emancipation and its consequences; assimilation, conversion, Reform Judaism, Zionism, the American Jewish community, modern anti-Semitism.

Prof. Steven Katz

TR 12:30pm-1:45pm

GRS RN 638 Mysticism and Philosophy: Jewish and Islamic Perspectives

Thematic introduction to mysticism and philosophy, with a focus on dynamics of religious experience. Readings from medieval Jewish and Islamic philosophy; Sufi mysticism and philosophy; Kabbalah, Biblical interpretation, Sufi poetry, Hebrew poetry from the Golden Age of Muslim Spain.

Prof. Diana Lobel

TR 2:00-3:15

GRS RN685/STH TX899 Representations of the Holocaust in Literature and Film

Questions of representation in literature and film about the Holocaust, including testimonial and fictive works by Wiesel and Levi, Ozick, and others; films include documentaries and feature films. Discussions of the Holocaust as historical reality, metaphor, and generative force in literature.

Prof. Nancy Harrowitz

TR 2:00pm-3:15pm

 

SOCIOLOGY

GRS SO 765/STH TR 802 The Sociology of Religion

This course will introduce students to the basic ideas and methods with which sociologists have analyzed the relationship between religion and society. It will explore what it means to think about religious language, symbols, communities, and practices a social phenomenon. We will also explore the social processes at work in congregations and denominations, new religious movements and conversion, religious communal identity and ethnic conflict.

Prof. Jonathan Calvillo

R 12:30pm-3:15pm

 

Spring 2017

ANTHROPOLOGY

AN 707/307 Turkey and Middle East Perspective (Area)

Social and cultural diversity of the modern Middle East with particular attention to Turkey. Focus on the interplay of traditions and socio-economic changes that have occurred during the 20th century and their implications for the future.

Tues/Thurs 11:00am-12:15pm

AN 719/319 Muslim Cultures

Prof. Shahla Haeri

Muslim societies are today being buffeted by a struggle over the forms and meanings of Muslim culture and politics. This course examines this struggle, and its implications for religious authority, gender ideals, and new notions of citizenship, civil society, and democracy.

Tues/Thurs 9:30am-10:45am

AN 755/355 Religious Fundamentalism in Anthropological Perspective

Prof. Shahla Haeri

Anthropological study of the global phenomenon of religious fundamentalism. A product of the modern world, fundamentalism is perceived as counter-cultural and anti-nationalist. Cases drawn from North America and Islamic Middle East, with special attention to women’s interpretation of religion.

Tues/Thurs 2:00pm-3:15pm

AN784/GRS687 Anthropology of Religion

Prof. Frank Korom

Myth, ritual, and religious experience across cultures. Special attention to the problem of religious symbolism and meaning, religious conversion and revitalization, contrasts between traditional and world religions, and the relation of religious knowledge to science, magic, and ideology. Also offered as GRS RN 687.

Tues/Thurs 12:30pm-1:45pm

 

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

IR500 A1 Topics: Violent Extremism

Prof. Stern

Examines aspects of international relations. May be repeated for credit if topics are different. In Spring 2017, five topics are offered. Section A1: Violent Extremism. Workshop to develop creative methods to counter terrorist recruitment. Students develop counter-narratives and digital dissemination tools (including apps, video, even comics) to frustrate terrorists’ on-line recruitment efforts. Final products are entered in a worldwide competition for anti-recruitment tactics.

Fri 8:00am-10:45am

 

RELIGION

RN 628 Modern Judaism

Prof. Steven Katz

Exploration of complex encounters between Judaism and modernity from the Renaissance and Reformation to expulsion from Spain and creation of Jewish centers in the New World; emancipation and its consequences; assimilation, conversion, Reform Judaism, Zionism, the American Jewish community, modern anti-Semitism.

Tues/Thurs 9:30am-10:45am

RN 645 Islamic Law

Prof. Kecia Ali

A survey of major trends in Islamic jurisprudence from the 7th century to the present; the structure of Islamic law, its regulative principles, its place in Islamic society, and the mechanisms by which it is elaborated and applied.

Tues/Thurs 9:30am-10:45am

RN 682 History of Religion in Pre-Colonial Africa

Prof. Thornton

Study of the development of religious traditions in Africa during the period prior to European colonialism. An emphasis both on indigenous religions and on the African roots and the growth and spread of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in the continent as a whole. Also offered as GRS AA 882 and GRS HI 749.

Mon/Wed 10:10am-11:25am

RN 735 Women, Gender, and Islam

Prof. Kecia Ali

Investigates the way Muslim religious discourse, norms, and practices create and sustain gender and hierarchy in religious, social, and familial life. Looks at historical and contemporary challenges posed to these structures.

Tues 12:30pm-3:15pm

RN 753 Topics in Religion and Sexuality

Prof. April Hughes

Topic for Spring 2017: Gender, Sexuality, and Buddhism. Examines conceptions of gender, sexuality, the body, and the family in Buddhism. We look at primary sources from different Buddhist cultures from a broad range of time periods. No previous knowledge of Buddhism required.

Mon 2:30pm-5:15pm

RN 760 Seminar on the Holocaust

Prof. Steven Katz

Seminar examining ethical and religious issues raised by the Holocaust, including anti-Semitism; treatment of Jewish women; nature of the perpetrators; actions of different countries; importance of ideology; the nature and degree of Jewish resistance; post-Holocaust theology.

Mon 2:30pm-5:15pm

RN 771 Topics in Ancient Christianity

Prof. Pregill

Topic for Spring 2017: Christianity and Islam in the First Millennium. The complex relationships between Christianity and Islam as rival imperial cultures, from their origins to the emergence of the Islamic Middle East and Christian Europe by the year 1000 CE, focusing on themes such as scripture, violence, authority, and identity.

Tues/Thurs 2:00pm-3:15