Religion 246: Religion and Popular Culture

MWF 10:40 –11:35, 214 Hall of Languages

Prof. Gail Hamner. Office hour: Mondays 9:30 – 10:30 and by appt.

                        Office (512 Hall of Languages): 443-5716; Department (501 Hall of Languages): 443-3861

Mr. Steven Benko, T.A. Office hours: Mondays 11:35-12:30, Wednesdays 12:30-1:30

Below:  Words in brackets express what we will do in class that day.  All other writing details your assignments.

Week One: Introductions

Wed. Jan. 19                 [Introductory lecture, syllabus review]

Fri. Jan. 21                     Strinati Introduction (xiii – xviii)
                                        [prepatory discussion of home altars]

Week Two: Home Altars

Mon. Jan. 24               meet in the art museum
                                        Essay on home altars (class handout)

Wed. Jan. 26                 Strinati, Chapter 1 ("Mass Culture and Popular Culture")
                                        [Other personal shrines; shrines on the Internet]

Fri. Jan. 28                     Search for examples of shrines
                                        [response to museum exhibit]

Week Three: Sports

Mon. Jan. 31                 Watch the Superbowl on January 30 (more info given in class)
                                        Strinati, Chapter 2 ("The Frankfurt School and the Culture Industry")

Wed. Feb. 2                 consider stories of/in the Superbowl and religion within/against other sports

Fri. Feb. 4                     consider commercials during Superbowl

Week Four: Television Shows

Mon. Feb. 7                 Review Strinati
                                        [apply Frankfurt School Theory to religion on TV]

Wed. Feb. 9                 Review essay on home altars
                                      [draw connections between TV, religion, shrines]

Fri. Feb. 11                   QUIZ #1

Week Five: Television (cont.)

Mon. Feb. 14             Strinati, Chapter 3 ("Structuralism, semiology, and popular culture")
                                    [talk shows and tel-evangelists]

Wed. Feb. 16             Watch a daytime talk show and/or televangelist
                                    [the occult and other paranormal spirituality on TV]

Fri. Feb. 18                 Watch TV for references to, and/or examples of religion
                                    [TV stereotypes of religions, spirituality, clergy]

Week Six: Advertisements

Mon. Feb. 21             Strinati, Chapter 6 ("Marxism, political economy and ideology")

Wed. Feb. 23             Read ads and note markers of class and ideology

Fri. Feb. 25                 Search for ads that use religious references

Week 7: Music

Mon. Feb. 28             Review Strinati, Chapter 3

Wed. March 1           Review Strinati, Chapter 4
                                    [non-CCM that references religion or spirituality]

Fri. March 3               Listen to music

Week 8: Catch-up and Review

Mon. March 6         Open class for continued discussion

Wed. March 8         Review session

Fri. March 10         QUIZ #2

Week 9: Spring Break

Week 10: Woman in Popular Culture

Mon. March 20         Strinati, Chapter 5 ("Feminism and Popular Culture")

Wed. March 22         Consider Strinati’s chapter in light of music, TV, sports, altars

Fri. March 24             [angels, madonnas, virgins, and the fallen woman]

Week 11: Religion and Film

Mon. March 27         Strinati, Chapter 6 ("Postmodernism and Popular Culture")

Wed. March 29         [film clips—religion in film]

Fri. March 31             [discussion of religious response to Hollywood films]

Week 12: religions not ‘of the Book’ and popular culture

Mon. April 3             review Strinati Chapter 5
                                    [guest speaker on pagan religion]

Wed. April 5             review Strinati Chapter 6
                                    [meditation, crystals, amulets]

Fri. April 7                 question session

Week 13: Cultural Saints

Mon. April 10          QUIZ #3

Wed. April 12             Strinati Conclusions

Fri. April 14                 consider whom you would name a cultural saint

Week 14: (Holy?) Holidays

Mon. April 17             [Christmas, Easter, and Halloween]

Wed. April 19              [July 4th, Memorial Day, MLK Day]

Fri. April 21 no class: Good Friday

Week 15: Cultural debates carried by/through religion

Mon. April 24             review Strinati 1-2

Wed. April 26             review Strinati 3-4

Fri. April 28                 review Strinati 5-7
                                      [Gender relations]

Week 16: Course wrap-up

Mon. May 1                Continued discussion and course evaluations