2022 Summer - History of Religions: Topic Courses

RLG360H5F - Topics in South Asian Religions (N. Jafri)

‘Religion in Pakistan’ asks three broad questions. What does it mean to study ‘religion’ within the confines of a given nation-state? How is the phrase ‘religion in Pakistan’ different from a phrase such as ‘Pakistani religions’? Why is ‘religion’ the dominant lens through which we examine Pakistan? This course takes up these questions by turning to three distinct modules: these include imagined religion, lived religion, and legal religion. In each module, we interrogate the centrality of the category of ‘religion’, and investigate its productivity, or lack thereof, in scholarly and lay discourses on and about Pakistan. To help us in our endeavours, we draw upon scholarship from religious studies, anthropology, and history, and utilize a diverse array of case studies from across Pakistan.


RLG411H5F - Advanced Topics in Relgion, Media, and Culture: Icons, Iconography, Iconoclasm: The Lives of Religious Images (C. Pasqua)

This course will consider the icon and what it represents across religious traditions and in visual media more broadly, with a focus on twentieth- and twenty-first-century religions in the Americas. Some of the topics students will explore include: Indigenous and Black resistance to colonial aesthetics through Kent Monkman and bell hooks; Warner Sallman's Head of Christ painting (1940) and the recent ‘colour of Christ’ debates in American Christianity; blasphemy in Islam through Salman Rushdie's novel Satanic Verses and the Danish Cartoon crisis; and secular echoes of religious iconography in contemporary art, such as Andy Warhol's portraits of iconic figures. To support our visual and critical analyses of these images, we will read theory, drawing on scholarship both within and beyond religious studies that intersects with media studies, art history, visual anthropology, and literary criticism.