Examination of the relationship between food,, American religions, and American popular culture;, how food is incorporated into formal religious, rituals such as the Eucharist or fasting; how, cooking, communal eating, and food practices are, part of the more informal religious culture of, religious communities. Also, consideration of, whether eating and food have taken on religious, meaning within American culture as a whole, using, the Northwest as a focus.
Religious traditions of Japan from the eighth, century to the present examined through the, thematic lenses of hagiography, asceticism,, syncretism, gender, family, and cultural, identity. Critical attention will be paid to the, concepts of "religion" and "secular" during, examination of continuities and changes from the, ancient to the contemporary period. Students will, conduct a semester-long research project on a, topic related to Japanese religion.
Formation and development of Western Christianity, from late antiquity through the late medieval, period (circa 250 to 1450 C.E.). The relation of, popular piety to institutional and high cultural, expressions of Christianity. Issues such as, Christianity and the late Roman empire, the, papacy, monasticism, religious art and, architecture, and heresy and hierarchy discussed, using theological texts, social histories, popular, religious literature.
The religious, social, and political dynamics of, the Islamic world, circa 1300 C.E. to present,, especially the nineteenth through twenty-first, centuries. Earlier developments (e.g., the, Qur'an, Muhammad, Muslim dynasties) considered in, relation to the modern context. European, colonialism, postcolonial change, reform and, "fundamentalist" movements, Sufism, Muslim views, of "modernity," and changing understandings of, politics, gender, and relations with non-Muslims.
The historical roots and branches of Sufi Islam,, including the search for the "inner meaning" of, the Qur'an, complex metaphysical formulations,, ascetic assertions, meditation practices,, devotional ruminations on love, and Sufi poetry, and music. Discussion of the important role of, Sufism in the spread of Islam. Muslim critiques of, Sufism and Sufi responses.
Examination of women and gender in Buddhist, mythology, doctrine, practice, and institutions, spanning the length of the Buddhist tradition (i.e., 500 BCE to the present), addressing examples from Indian, Southeast Asian, Tibetan, and Japanese Buddhist contexts. Tension between Buddhism's theoretical discourse on women and gender; actual roles and experiences of women in the Buddhist tradition. Topics include the founding myth of the Buddhist order of nuns and the writings of early nuns; Buddhist discourse on female impurity and the exclusion of women from sacred mountains; and the movement to revive full ordination for nuns in Southeast Asia.
The perceptions and realities of religious, resurgence in a supposedly secularizing world., Focus on the historical, theological, social, and, political aspects of Christian and Islamic, fundamentalism. Themes include secularization, theories and their critics; changing, understandings of religion and modernity;, connections among religion, politics, violence,, sexuality/gender, and identity.
Major trends in American religion from the, Puritans to the feminist and liberation theologies, of the 20th century. Intensive reading of works by, major American figures and scholars. With, instructor consent, may be taken twice for credit.