Theories & Methods in the Study of Religion RELST-GA.1001, Becker
Wednesday 2:00pm-4:45pm. Class #3012. 4 pts. 726 Broadway, Rm. 542
Students explore fundamental theoretical and methodological issues for the academic study of religion, including some of the more important theories of the origin, character, and function of religion as a human phenomenon. Students cover psychological, sociological, anthropological, dialectical, post-colonial and feminist approaches, as well as some problems for the study of religion today: secularization theory and the intersection of religion and media. Departmental permission required.
Intro to the Qu'ran RELST-GA.1609, Katz
Tuesday 2:00pm-4:45pm. Class #20671 4 pts. BOBS, LL145
This course is an introduction to the content and interpretation of the Qur’an, as well as to the ways in which it functions in Islamic ritual and practice. We will read selections from the Qur’an in English translation and examine the history of its interpretation over the centuries. We will then look at some of the trends in Qur’anic exegesis (including modernist, radical, and feminist interpretation) that have emerged in modern times. We will use anthropological studies, narrative and film to examine how the Qur’an is studied and experienced in different communities.
Spinoza and Spinozism: New Perspectives RELST-GA.1760.002, de Vries
Thursday 11:00am-1:45pm. Class #20865. 4 pts. 726 Broadway, Rm 542
This graduate seminar will consist in an integral reading of Spinoza’s posthumous Ethics in light of its historical and biographical context, its philosophical, biblical, and theological sources, and its contemporary reception. We will notably place Book One, entitled “On God,” within the larger agenda of Spinoza’s oeuvre, starting out from his defense of a so-called minimal creed, his views on civil religion, tolerance, and the stability of the political order, as expressed in the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus and the Letters. In the Ethics we will especially study Spinoza’s quasi-naturalist equation of God and Nature and the metaphysical monism as well as implied unicity and oneness of the divine it expresses, while evaluating its consequences for our understanding of miracles and divine providence. Yet, more broadly, we will also touch upon his conception of the parallelism or compatibilism of body and mind, the distinction between the three different types human knowledge (imaginatio, ratio, scientia intuitiva), and retrace his views of the passions, human bondage, freedom, and beatitude. Last but not least, we will survey the renewed influence of Spinoza's thought in contemporary debates in political philosophy, the philosophy of religion, and the philosophy of mind.
Martin Heidegger, Sein und Zeit (Being and Time) RELST-GA.2467 (Same as GERM-GA.2192), de Vries
Tuesday 2:00pm-4:45pm. Class #20581. 4 pts. 45 W4th St., Rm B02.
Starting with a detailed discussion of its Introduction and Division One, this seminar will offer an integral and close reading of Martin Heidegger’s 1927 magnum opus Sein und Zeit (Being and Time) against the background of its historical and philosophical origins and context, including its immediate reception at the time. Special attention will be paid to Heidegger's use, critique, and betrayal of his teacher Edmund Husserl. The seminar further aims to bring not only phenomenological, hermeneutic, neo-Marxist, and deconstructive but also analytic, notably epistemological and pragmatist, arguments and methods (next to insights and perspectives drawn from ordinary language philosophy and moral perfectionism) to bear upon the late 20th and early 21st century reception and undiminished significance of this modern classic.
Topics: Islamic Space and Time RELST-GA.2476 (Same as MEIS-GA.1770), Alatas
Tuesday 4:55pm-7:40pm. Class #20672. 4 pts. KEVO, Rm LL1
This course explores various Islamic imaginaries of space and time. It traces the ways in which Islam has served as a resource for Muslims in thinking about, envisioning, configuring, and realizing spatiotemporal orders. Over the course of the semester we will read theoretical, historical, and anthropological works that address different Islamic conceptions and practices of time and space, their relationship to Muslim selves and communities, as well as the tension between what is usually considered as sacred and secular time and space. We look at how Islamic space and time are created, represented, enacted, and felt through various means from oral stories, texts, and genealogical forms to built infrastructure, rituals, and mobility. We question the relationship between places, myths, histories, and rituals in constituting religious experience, while thinking about how ‘the religious’ or ‘the sacred’ becomes experienceable through time and place. We also look at how displacement, alienation from, and fragmentation of, Islamic time and space affect Muslims’ understandings of self, nature, and community.
The course is divided into several parts. In the first three weeks we will look at a range of texts that define the problems of thinking about temporality and spatiality while offering different approaches to the study of Islamic space and time. We will then read recent historical and ethnographic monographs that deals with the problematics of space and time through the lens of (1) text and narrative, (2) ritual and materiality, (3) experience and affect, (4) mobility, and (5) self and subjectivity.
Topics: Priestly Writings Before, Within, and Beyond the Bible RELST-GA.3311 (Same as HBRJD-GA.3311), Feldman
Thursday 11:00am-1:45pm. Class #21488. 3 pts. KJCC, Rm 109
We will be looking at the category of “priestly” as its used by scholars to describe a variety of ancient Israelite and early Jewish literary works. This course will examine a variety of writings from the 7th–1st centuries BCE related to issues of ritual, cult, temple, priests, and sacrifice. We will ask about the possibility of literary relationships between some of these texts, question assumptions related to “rewritten bible” models, and reevaluate the common assumption that the pentateuchal priestly writings are the “base text” for nearly all later priestly literatures. Rather, we will consider each text as a literary work in its own right and as the product of a specific socio-historical context, an approach that will point to diverse and divergent cultic ideologies across Judea and the Diaspora (particularly in Egypt). Some of the texts we may study are: the pentateuchal priestly narrative (P), Ezekiel, Chronicles, Haggai, Malachi, Zechariah, documents from Elephantine, the Temple Scroll, the Letter of Aristeas, the Aramaic Levi Document, Jubilees, and 2 Maccabees among others.
Knowledge of Biblical Hebrew or Greek is helpful, but not required for the course. All texts will be made available in English translation.
M.A. Thesis Research RELST-GA.2901, Instructor
Class #2797. 4 pts.
Directed Study-Christianity RELST-GA.2921, Instructor
Class #2798. 4 pts.
Directed Study-Judaism RELST-GA.2931, Instructor
Class #2799. 4 pts.
Directed Study-Islam RELST-GA.2941, Instructor
Class #2800. 4 pts.
Directed Study-Asian Religions RELST-GA.2951, Instructor
Class # 2801. 4 pts.
Directed Study-Philosophy of Religion RELST-GA.2961, Instructor
Class #2802. 4 pts.
Directed Study-Topics in Religion RELST-GA.2971, Instructor
Section 01: Class #2975. 4 pts.
Section 02: Class #20863. 4 pts.
Section 03: Class #20864. 4 pts.
PUBLIC HUMANITIES COURSES
(Check here for updates)
Theorizing Public Humanities PUBHM-GA.1001, Khera & Lee
Wednesday 10:00am-1:00pm. Class #3274. 4 pts. 244 Greene St, Rm 805
How did ecologies of emotion create publics and humanistic knowledge in the past, and how do they shape “public humanities” work in the present? This seminar begins with an understanding of publics and the human sciences as structured by histories of colonialism, enslavement, and enlightenment. What emerges from these entanglements are affective ecologies: swirls of pain and pleasure, belonging and unbelonging, play and consumption that continue to push the stakes and boundaries of meaning-making and cultural production. Invested in questions concerning embodiment, material culture, and environment, art historian Dipti Khera and literary scholar Wendy Lee engage in a collaborative and experimental inquiry with seminar participants to explore how we work with emotions through different immersive practices. Organized around specific projects/sites, we open up a live conversation about how theories become practice in the public arts today. Concurrent projects—an exhibition A Splendid Land (Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, National Museum of Asian Art) co-curated by Prof Khera and an interdisciplinary Consent Lab (NYU Center for the Humanities) co-directed by Prof Lee—will feature alongside curatorial, digital, and urban initiatives that center emotional and sensory experiences.
Open to MA students.