Religious Studies | Religious Historiography
R764 | 27368 | Weitzman


Topic: Myth, Memory and History. The past can play many different
roles in the life of a religious community, establishing how reality
works, defining identity, modeling behavior. The goal of this
seminar is to explore the roles of the past in religious life. How
do communities represent and use the past? Why are certain memories
contested or even suppressed? What role do oral tradition, texts and
other media play in mediating the past? As we address these
questions, students will be introduced to several scholarly concepts
that have proven useful for understanding how societies
perceive/construct the past: collective memory, invented tradition,
public and hidden transcripts, morality, and the unconscious.
Requirements: (1)Brief written responses to Seminar discussion
questions (10%). (2) 20-25 page seminar paper that explores how a
given religious community conceives and/or uses its past. Students
enrolled in R764 should write a paper (25+pages) that incorporated
into its analysis original research into primary sources. Students
will be asked to prepare a brief oral presentation of their research
at the end of the semester (60% of course grade). (3) Active and
informed participation in seminar discussion. No more that one
unexcused absence permitted(10%). Text: M. Bernstein, Foregone
Conclusions; R. Davis, The Lives of Indian Images; S. Freud, Moses
and Monotheism; M. Halbwachs, Collective Memory; M. Sahlins,
Historical Myths and Mythical Realities; J. Scott, Domination and
the Arts of Resistance; G. Obeysekere, The Apotheosis of Captain
Cook.