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SOCIOLOGY

School

Boston University Graduate Program in Religion

GRS RN 675

Culture, Society, and Religion in South Asia

BTI Category

Sociology/Ethnography/Research Methods

Semester

SP24

Ethnographic and historical introduction to the Indian subcontinent with a focus on the impact of religion on cultural practices and social institutions. This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Aesthetic Exploration.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Culture, Society, and Religion in South Asia

TR

2:00-3:15pm

Grading Option

Letter/PF/Audit

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisite?

N

Notes

N

School

Boston University Graduate Program in Religion

GRS RN 709

Cults and Charisma

BTI Category

Sociology/Ethnography/Research Methods

Semester

SP24

Examines religious sects, new religions, and charismatic leadership using case- studies from history and the contemporary world, as well as analytical principles from religious studies and anthropology. This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, Social Inquiry I

Professor

Class Day & Time

Cults and Charisma

M

2:30-5:15pm

Grading Option

Letter/PF/Audit

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisite?

Y

Notes

Pre-req: undergraduates who have taken RN 200 and/or RN 355, and with consent of instructor.

School

Boston University Graduate Program in Religion

GRS RN 752

Topics in Religious Thought - Happiness

BTI Category

Sociology/Ethnography/Research Methods

Semester

SP24

Topic for Fall Spring 2024: What is happiness? How can we achieve a balanced, healthy, fulfilling life? Classical thinkers such as Aristotle, Plato, Chuang Tzu; Stoic, Epicurean, Confucian, Buddhist paths; comparison with contemporary studies on happiness and mindfulness. This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: WritingIntensive Course, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Topics in Religious Thought - Happiness

TR

2:00-3:15pm

Grading Option

Letter/PF/Audit

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisite?

Y

Notes

Pre-req: CAS WR 120 or equivalent and one course from among the following: Religion, Philosophy, Core Curriculum (CC 101 and/or CC 102).

School

Boston University School of Theology

STH TR814

Advanced Qualitative Research

BTI Category

Sociology/Ethnography/Research Methods

Semester

SP24

This course is for students involved or interested in independent qualitative research, including interviews, ethnographic projects, and/or content analysis. It will function much like a workshop, providing extensive guided practice with project conceptualization and design, finding funding, meeting university ethics requirements, gaining access to communities, recruiting participants, managing and storing data, creating coding schemes and using software, integrating mixed types of data to support an argument, balancing "home" and "field," being reflexive, and exercising respect and care for both oneself and one's interlocutors. Relative attention to these issues will depend on the needs and interests of the students. It can fruitfully be taken either separately or in addition to TR 800, Ethnographic Research.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Manglos-Weber

R

12:30pm-3:15pm

Grading Option

Letter

Credits

3

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisite?

N

Notes

N

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 3137

Ethnography and Religion

BTI Category

Sociology/Ethnography/Research Methods

Semester

SP24

This course critically considers how methodological experiments have brought together the ethnographic field and the religious archive in innovative ways. Particular attention is paid to questions that have arisen in post-colonial societies, that compel us to re-evaluate scholarly presumptions and methods that have been produced in the 'west'. Discussions will focus on a variety of global societies, considering how 'religion' has been the object of ethnographic, ethnohistorical, anthropological and historical inquiry in the past and present. Readings and presentations by invited speakers will acknowledge the methodological difficulties involved in pursuing research on the phenomenon and practice of religion across social contexts. We will be deliberating about ethnographic methods of studying religion as the everyday experience of diverse communities and identities, while paying attention to questions of power, race, gender and class, amongst others. The discussions will also consider how ethnography has been informed by religion and theological dispositions, and whether ethnographic inquiry should be free from religious inclination at all. As a methodology course, a key aim of this course is to provide students with an opportunity to develop their research interests, projects and ethnographic methods.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Teren Sevea

F

9:30-12PM

Grading Option

Letter

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisite?

N

Notes

N

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 3199

Black Religion on the Big Screen

BTI Category

Sociology/Ethnography/Research Methods

Semester

SP24

This course uses historical and contemporary films and other sources as case studies to examine how filmmakers, and Hollywood professionals more broadly, reproduce tropes and reinscribe complex representations concerning Black religion, Black people, and race and religion in a variety of geographical and temporal contexts through film. The ultimate objective of this course is for students to grapple with how Black religious subjects have utilized the medium of film for different purposes and also for students to analyze how filmmakers and cinematographers such as Arthur Jafa, Julie Dash, Tyler Perry, Spike Lee, and others portray, conceptualize, and regard the variety of Black religious expressions in the New World and throughout the African diaspora. Students will be expected to have some knowledge of Africana religions, Black studies, feminist and queer theory, and/or filmic analysis. Jointly offered in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as xxxx.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Ahmad Greene-Hayes

M

6-9PM

Grading Option

Letter, P/F, Audit

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisite?

N

Notes

N

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 3129

Qualitative and Mixed Methods

BTI Category

Sociology/Ethnography/Research Methods

Semester

SP24

This course will serve as an introduction to quantitative and qualitative methods in the study of religion. Using case studies on the study of religion from across the disciplines in the social sciences, the course will provide the students an introduction to a select array of methods which may include basic descriptive statistics, elementary survey design, material culture, case studies, ethnography (digital and otherwise), and more quantitatively experimental field methods. The students will work on group driven hands-on projects throughout the semester. Jointly offered in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as Religion 2024.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Swayam Bagaria

M

10-12PM

Grading Option

Letter, P/F, Audit

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

Y

Online?

N

Prerequisite?

N

Notes

Permission to enroll in the course will be granted as petitions are received.

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 3113

Magic Today: An Anthropological Perspective

BTI Category

Sociology/Ethnography/Research Methods

Semester

SP24

What is “magic”? Is it different from “religion”? Is magic a “way of knowing”?
In this course, we will look at “magic” from an anthropological perspective. We will focus, in particular, on contemporary magic in Europe and North America, addressing e.g. Contemporary Paganisms, Wicca, Chaos Magic, New-Age Spirituality, and contemporary Esotericism. By engaging with ethnographic works, students will get acquainted with or deepen their knowledge of the main issues, traditions, debates, and research in the field of the Anthropology of Religion and in the Anthropology of Magic. Students will analyze contemporary magic vis-à-vis e.g. popular culture, feminism, globalization, medicine, social media, history, and well-being. They will do so through ethnographic readings, films, music, arts, discussions, and independent research.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Giovanna Parmigiani

T

3-5:30PM

Grading Option

Letter, P/F, Audit

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

Y

Online?

N

Prerequisite?

N

Notes

This is a limited enrollment course: students will be asked to fill a questionnaire and to submit it to the instructor. The questionnaire will be available on Canvas two weeks before the beginning of the classes. Petitions will be accepted by the first day of classes. This course provides a research paper option for students interested in this possibility.

School

Hartford International

RS-536-2

Religion as a Social Phenomenon: The Sociological Study of Religion

BTI Category

Sociology/Ethnography/Research Methods

Semester

SP24

All religion is a social phenomenon. Although faith has a private dimension, human beings experience religion in groups or through forms created by social organizations. Every religion creates and is maintained by institutionalized rituals or concrete organizational forms. Professed beliefs are passed down by religious traditions, and ideally, these beliefs have consequences for one's social behavior. Religious life has spawned times of war and times of peace; changed human beings and human history. Each of these social dimensions of religion can be investigated with the research methods of the social scientist. Much can be learned about religion from a sociological perspective, from reading classical sociological theories of religious organization and practice including those of Weber, Durkheim, and Marx.

Course fulfills the following curricular requirements:
MAIRS - Interreligious Studies: Elective
MAIRS - Islamic Studies: Elective
MAIRS - Islamic Studies: Religious Pluralism
MAIRS - Ministerial Studies: Beliefs and Practices of the Christian Faith

Professor

Class Day & Time

Scott Thumma

Asynchronous

Asynchronous

Grading Option

Letter

Credits

3

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

Y

Prerequisite?

N

Notes

N

School

Boston University Graduate Program in Religion

GRS RN 687

Anthropology of Religion

BTI Category

Sociology/Ethnography/Research Methods

Semester

SP24

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 CAS AN 384. This course fulfills a single unit in the following BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, Social Inquiry I.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Anthropology of Religion

TR

11:00-12:15pm

Grading Option

Letter/PF/Audit

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisite?

N

Notes

N

School

Boston University Graduate Program in Religion

GRS RN 727

Topics in American Religion - Black religion and Black politics

BTI Category

Sociology/Ethnography/Research Methods

Semester

SP24

Topic for Spring 2024: "Black Religion and Black Politics" delves into the intricate and interconnected relationship between politics and religion within the Black experience. This course challenges the conventional notions of "politics," "religion," and "blackness," and instead encourages students to critically engage with these concepts through a diverse range of multimedia sources, including literature, film, performances, and modes of discourse. By exploring the complexities, controversies, and nuances of the relationship between religion and politics, this seminar invites students to grapple with the indeterminate and contested nature of this connection in the modern world. By examining historical and contemporary examples, students will gain insights into the challenges, conflicts, and possibilities that arise from the interplay between religion and politics within Black populations throughout the African diaspora. This critical examination will shed light on how blackness disrupts and reshapes traditional academic approaches, creating new avenues for understanding and engaging with the complexities of religion and politics.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Topics in American Religion - Black religion and Black politics

M

2:30-5:15pm

Grading Option

Letter/PF/Audit

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisite?

N

Notes

N

School

Boston University Graduate Program in Religion

GRS RN 656

Digital Religion

BTI Category

Sociology/Ethnography/Research Methods

Semester

SP24

How has technology impacted religion? This hands-on course explores how digital technologies like the Internet, social media, gaming, and artificial intelligence have changed the way that people think about religion. This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Digital/Multimedia Expression, Writing-Intensive Course, Creativity/Innovation.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Digital Religion

TR

9:30-10:45am

Grading Option

Letter/PF/Audit

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisite?

Y

Notes

Pre-req:First-Year Writing Seminar

School

Boston University School of Theology

STH TT904

Readings in Marx

BTI Category

Sociology/Ethnography/Research Methods

Semester

SP24

This course will engage in close readings of Karl Marx's political and philosophical work and trace his critique of capitalism as formulated in Capital. Students will be introduced to Marx's intellectual context, his key texts and concepts, and reflect on the legacy of his philosophical and political contributions, particularly in critical studies in religion and theology. The course will also engage with texts that expand the Marxian contribution to the realm of postcolonial studies and critical theory.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Maia

T

12:30pm-3:15pm

Grading Option

Letter

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisite?

N

Notes

DOCTORAL LEVEL: STH TT904 is for Doctoral students and is 4 credits

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 2060

Devotional Poetry

BTI Category

Sociology/Ethnography/Research Methods

Semester

SP24

This course surveys the work of English and American lyric poets writing in the devotional mode, primarily from the Christian tradition, from the seventeenth through the twenty-first centuries. Poets include the English Metaphysicals (Donne, Herbert, Vaughan, Traherne), John Milton, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, T.S. Eliot, R.S. Thomas, Denise Levertov, Franz Wright, Christian Wiman, Jericho Brown, Anya Silver, and others. Poems and poets are approached thematically rather than chronologically (for example, poems of praise, lamentation, doubt, etc.). Students will leave this course experienced in the discipline of reading deeply and with attention. New readers of poetry and projects that engage Arts of Ministry are welcome. This course is eligible for Episcopal/Anglican polity Art of Ministry.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Regina Walton

W

3-5:30PM

Grading Option

Letter, P/F, Audit

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisite?

N

Notes

N

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 1611

The Gnostic Mind: Jung and the Study of Religion

BTI Category

Sociology/Ethnography/Research Methods

Semester

SP24

Carl Jung (1875 -- 1961), once the most influential psychologist in the History of Religions, is today almost wholly rejected by the discipline. This course will examine the impact of Jung on the study of religion, the reasons behind this disciplinary amnesia, and imagine what a post-Jungian approach to the psychology of religion should look like in the 21st century.The course will center primary readings from Jung (in English translation). These readings will encompass his academic writings as well as The Red Book, Jung's own stylized diary of his visionary journeys in "the land of the dead" from 1913-1916. We will explore topics in the history of religions germane to Jung's work: madness and mystical experience, the paranormal and UFOs, symbols, the imagination, and the relationship between a scholar and their historical subject. Critical assessments of Jung from feminist philosophy, anthropology, neuroscience, and the history of religions will be featured.Altogether, we will interrogate what counts as knowledge within the history of religions and what might have been lost in the forgetting of Carl Jung.

Professor

Class Day & Time

TBA

W

3-5PM

Grading Option

Letter, P/F

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisite?

N

Notes

N

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 3392

Can We Still Read Religious Classics? An inquiry with Christian, Hindu, and Confucian Classics

BTI Category

Sociology/Ethnography/Research Methods

Semester

SP24

Theology is grounded in belief in God, or some Transcendent Reality that engages normatively our minds, hearts, bodies, lives. It is the practice of faith seeking understanding, exploring all manner of realities, human, all other worldly life form, and the divine. And, pertinent to this course, it is very often preserved primarily in classic religious texts that have for millennia been normative for believers. Today, such texts cannot be taken for granted. Our reading of them must be purified by the hardest critical questions, such as expose biases and systemic injustice, uncover elite power structures and exclusions and, in our interreligious world, undercut overdependence on the ideas, words, and methods of the Christian West. This course experiments with the retrieval of the reading of religious classics by taking seriously classics of three normative traditions: tentatively, in Christianity, Augustine's Instructing Beginners in Faith (4th century CE, North African Christian); in Hinduism, Sankara's Crest Jewel of Discrimination (8th century CE, orthodox Hindu), and in Confucianism, Confucius's Great Learning (6th century BCE, Chinese). We will read each carefully, and consider each in terms of its portrayal of the human, the transcendent (God, the One), the nature of learning, and, indeed, Truth such as survives our critiques of it. Each text is taken seriously, in light of critiques, and each is comprehended in light of the other two. Yes, we can still read the classics, but only if we work really hard at doing so, with the questions of the 21st century. Jointly offered in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as Religion 1040PPM.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Francis Clooney

MW

10:30-11:45AM

Grading Option

Letter, P/F, Audit

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

N

Online?

N

Prerequisite?

N

Notes

N

School

Harvard Divinity School

HDS 3125

We are One: An Anthropological Introduction to Contemporary Spiritualities

BTI Category

Sociology/Ethnography/Research Methods

Semester

SP24

What is spirituality? How is it different from religion? How is spirituality linked to well-being? In this course, we will address some of the most widespread ideas and practices within contemporary spiritualities through an anthropological lens. We will read scholarly work, for example, on astrology, Tarot, and divination; Reiki and energy healing; mediumship and near-death experiences; unidentified flying objects; and conspirituality. We will discuss their relation to neoliberalism and material culture; their role in healing and in popular culture; and their connections with politics, time, environmentalism, the senses, and non-rational ways of knowing. We will do so through ethnographic readings, films, music, arts, discussions, and independent research. By engaging with ethnographic works, students will become acquainted with or deepen their knowledge of the main issues, traditions, debates, and research in the field of the anthropology of religion and spirituality.

Professor

Class Day & Time

Giovanna Parmigiani

T

9-11AM

Grading Option

Letter

Credits

4

Professor Approval Req'd?

Y

Online?

N

Prerequisite?

N

Notes

Enrollment for this course is limited. Preference will be given to third-year MDIv students. Students will be asked to fill out a questionnaire to be considered for enrollment. Students will be notified of the decision after the first class

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