Religious Studies | Religious Historiography
R664 | 3612 | Weitzman


R664 Religious Historiography (3 Cr.) R 7:00-9:00 PM SY 224(Weitzman)

We have two goals in this seminar: 1) to think critically about the
discipline of historiography-- its definition and aims, its limits and
possibilities; and 2) to survey different scholarly approaches to how
communities remember, construct and make use of their pasts.

In Part I of the course we will explore what historians do when they
reconstruct the past. We will ask what makes historiography different from
myth or fiction. We will probe concepts thought crucial to historiography
like objectivity. And we will explore some of the social, cultural and
literary factors that shape the way historians represent the past.

In the second part of the seminar we will consider the past from other
perspectives. The study of religion often involves the study of how
communities perceive their past -- the social, ideological, and
psychological factors that shape the way they remember and relate to
history. At the same time, a community's perception of its past is itself
an historical phenomenon, evolving in response to social and cultural
change. In Part II we will pursue various approaches to one or the other
of these two issues.