RELG 315 Syllabus

RELG 315 Syllabus - RELG 315 Special Topics in Religion I...

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RELG 315 Special Topics in Religion I: Religion and Literature Winter 2011 (Wed. and Fri. 13:05-14:25) Instructor: David Kołoszyc Office: TBD, Birks Building, 3520 University Street Phone: (514) 525-0521 Email: [email protected] Office hours: Wed. 14:30-15:30 Course Outline: Religion and literature share a long and complex history. One of the more significant features of this history has been the relegation of ‘religion’ and ‘literature’ to their respective cultural spheres in modern Western societies. This development has resulted in a curious paradox. On the one hand, modern literature and poetry have come to define, in the eyes of some observers, the liberation of language from dogmatic and theological imperatives, and hence to carry the news of the ‘death of God’. On the other hand, modern literary and poetic language has continued to pose the question of the possibility of religious experience and, indeed, to affirm in an ever new manner the necessity of a spiritual search. The purpose of this course is to address this eccentric situation by bringing together a number of seminal authors and critics. Through lectures, discussions, and critical reflections, the class will present an opportunity for students to consider a variety of ways in which literary and religious concerns run parallel to one another and bear witness to both the sense of spiritual exile and the longing for spiritual answers that define modern Western culture. Objectives: 1. To examine the development and character of some predominant religious themes in modern Western literature. 2. To critically consider the relationship between religious and literary concerns in modern Western culture. 3. To bring into dialogue the writings of pivotal novelists, poets, critics, and philosophers interested in questions that are at once literary and religious in nature. 4. To reflect on the manner in which modern religious and literary texts have transformed our understanding of language, knowledge, and subjectivity. Pedagogical Method: This course places special emphasis on the process of critical reading, attentive to the character of the themes, concepts, and questions encountered in a particular text, as well as to the character and transformations of its language. Lectures are designed to facilitate such reading both on an individual level and in the context of the classroom experience. Critical analyses during class will therefore be accompanied by readings and discussions, allowing students to share their experiences of the texts, raise questions, and exchange ideas.
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Required Texts: 1. Course pack (available at the McGill Bookstore). 2. Strindberg, August. Inferno and From an Occult Diary . Trans. Mary Sandbach. London, UK & New York, NY:
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RELG 315 Syllabus - RELG 315 Special Topics in Religion I...

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