The Body in American Religious History




Three decades ago, Ramon Gutierrez studied the embodied ceremonies of the sixteenth-century Pueblo to identify crucial cosmological distinctions between their culture and that of the Spanish colonialists. For Gutierrez, differing conceptions of "the body" held the key to understanding so much else. Twenty years later, Judith Weisenfeld looked to the religious lives of African American women to construct "a compelling set of questions about the body as a site of religious experience and expression that would open up avenues for scholarship beyond the traditional focus on institutions." Today, studies of "the body"--both as object and agent--form a central pillar in the field of American religious history. This course seeks to chart that historiographical development, engage the most recent conversations on the theme, and consider its protentional future developments. Students will both consider the field's existing treatments of the body within the field and chart new possibilities for engagement. Jointly offered in Harvard Divinity School as HDS3085.
Additional Information:
Faculty: David Holland
Semester: Full Spring Term
Time: Wednesday, 1:00 - 3:00 pm