Undergraduate Catalog 2019-2021

WMST 4105 Religion and the Body

Religion, arguably the most important element of culture, is often ‘practiced’, ‘enacted’, or ‘performed’ through physical means. This course will examine the role of the body in a number of traditions and contexts—from how one dresses or gestures—to less visible modes such as celibacy or ecstatic trance. The goal of this course is to consider the manifest ways in which the body is employed in religious traditions as well as look at individual traditions and case studies for specific examples of embodied religious practice. The first half of the course will look at broader themes of religion and the body (ritual, sexuality, performance, clothing, so forth). The second half the course will focus on individual traditions or case studies, and a general introduction to each religion will be presented at the start of those weeks.