Secular & the Sacred

Original Version

What roles do religion and spirituality play in society? By applying theoretical frameworks used to study religion as a cultural phenomenon, examining the development and influence of religious and spiritual traditions in the West, and exploring diverse religious and spiritual identities in contemporary Western society, students will investigate the ways religion and spirituality have shaped personal, political, social, and cultural institutions and practices in the West.


COR 250-01TVL The Secular and the Sacred: India

Gary Scudder | M, TH 8:00-9:30 AM

India is often described as the most spiritual country in the world, as well as the most religiously diverse, but it is also a nation that clearly defines itself as secular. Students in Sacred & Secular routinely explore the complex interaction between the sacred and secular worlds, but it is difficult to imagine a country with more potential for rich study than that provided by India. This section features a required spring break trip to India. Instructor permission is required for registration.

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COR 250-02 The Secular and the Sacred: X-Files

Steve Wehmeyer | T, F 8:00-9:15 AM

Where does fringe science meet fringe religion?  Why do UFO Abduction Narratives matter?  Why are modern biologists obsessed with "The God Gene?"  Why was Thomas Edison trying to build a machine to speak with the dead?  Where do science, religion, technology, and "magic" meet, and where do they diverge?  This section of COR 250—facilitated by professors Chuck Bashaw and Steve Wehmeyer—is part of an intensive, year-long collaborative exploration of the marginal ways of knowing that characterize and sometimes define the Western Intellectual Tradition.  The truth is out there! (Only students who are currently enrolled in Bashaw’s section of COR-210 in FA19 are able to enroll in this section of COR-250.)

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COR 250-03 The Secular and the Sacred: Gender & Difference

Rowshan Nemazee | M, TH 11:00 AM-12:15 PM

This section will expose and explore the contributions that various feminist and gender studies have made both to western religions and to the study and practice of religious rites and rituals in the 21st century. It will further delve into the ideological and theological "stained glass ceilings" and practical hurdles to equality that women and LGBTQ communities have had to face in institutional forms of religion. These gendered lenses will offer new recognition of and regard for the intersection of the sacred and the secular.

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COR 250-04SIS The Secular and the Sacred: Sacred Architecture

Rowshan Nemazee | M 2:00—3:15 PM / W 11:00 AM-12:15 PM

This section will explore the contributions that sacred architecture has made toward our understandings of religious/theological concepts, the idea of the "sacred," and an awareness of "spirituality" from secular perspectives. It will further analyze the parallels and differences between the sacred architectures of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam together with an assessment of modern architecture's approach to non-denominational "spiritual" spaces through nature, form, light, scale, and materiality or lack thereof.

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COR 250-05 The Secular and the Sacred: Original Version 

Kelly Thomas | T, F 11:00 AM—12:15 PM

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COR 250-06 The Secular and the Sacred: Original Version 

Kelly Thomas | T, TH 12:30—1:45 PM

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COR 250-07 The Secular and the Sacred: Religion, Race, and the U.S.

Amy Howe | T, TH 2:00—3:15 PM 

In this section, we will interrogate the terms “religion” and “race” as categories that mark social difference, shape debates about social justice and equity and are often used to justify exclusionary policies, and fuel hate crimes within and outside of the U.S. We will examine how the categories of religion and race shift and change at different moments in U.S. history, shaping conversations about education and immigration policies, cultural practices of social reform and protest, and U.S. missionary and humanitarian interventions.

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COR 250-08 The Secular and the Sacred: Religion, Race, and the U.S.

Amy Howe | T, TH 3:30—4:45 PM

In this section, we will interrogate the terms “religion” and “race” as categories that mark social difference, shape debates about social justice and equity, and justify exclusionary policies and hate crimes within and outside of the U.S. We will examine how the categories of religion and race shift and change at different moments in U.S. history, shaping conversations about education and immigration policies, cultural practices of social reform and protest, and U.S. missionary and humanitarian interventions.

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