The objective of this course is two-fold. First, this course introduces students to the roots of modern Western political, economic, and social thought. Through a careful reading of canonical texts, the foundational symbols and concepts of modern Western thought will be analyzed and critically assessed.
Our second objective is to learn how these symbols and concepts can be brought to bear on contemporary problems and how they inform questions about our own political and personal order. How, for instance, is the modern world different from the ancient? What is the role of rationality in modern social, political, and economic life? What is the place of technology? What are the ramifications of these developments on our public lives? On our interior lives? Students are encouraged to keep these objectives in mind for both discussion sections and their written work.
Syllabus RS-ILS 234 Spring 2019 Rosenblum
RS234_Section2_Syllabus Spring 2019 Hildner
As a Communication B course the class is designed as a writing intensive course, which follows the standard UW rules and requirements for such classes. The class also allows for more frequent oral participation and presentation.
In the first half of the semester, the course focuses on a variety of genres common in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (i.e., God, prayer, priests and prophets, monastic life, and secularization). In the second half of it, the history of religion in the US will serve as our template, and we will explore a number of genres that have been reshaped by the particular American experience (i.e. myth, ritual, religious liberty, ethics, and religious pluralism).
Genres of Western Religious Writing has been developed with this comparative approach as its methodological
guide. It offers an introduction to some of the main genres of Western religious writing (i.e., scripture,
prayer, pilgrimage, myth, and ritual) as well as legacies and challenges of Western religious traditions (i.e.
pluralism, authority, social ethics, and violence). This class is based on the premise that closer study of
certain genres across cultures and traditions can offer a fresh look onto “the West’s” religious economy and
During the course of the semester we will read religious (or spiritual) memoirs by Barbara Brown Taylor,
and Haroon Moghul, and Eboo Patel. Memoirs are a central genre of Western religious writing since
Augustin of Hippo’s (358-430) famous Confessions, in which he tells his readers about his own (reprehensible)
youth and his conversion to Christianity. The memoirs will serve as a playing field to test ideas about socioreligious
formations, religious virtuosi, religious pluralism, - activism, and - criticism. We will also examine
the concept of ritual and will thoroughly explore the idea of “braided histories of the Abrahamic
Traditions.” We will have an opportunity to talk about braided histories with Prof. emer. Charles L. Cohen,
who recently published his book The Abrahamic Religions (2020).
This course will weave together the stories of the Radium Girls and the Firecracker Boys, and explore relationship between people and radiation.
There are three main modules for the class. The first part is how to look at the sky above us. This encompasses how scientists figured out how large the Earth was, how we know the Earth goes around the sun, why we think the universe started with a “big bang”. The second module is explaining life around us. This part focuses on evolution, including how the idea was originally derived and what evidence supports it today. The last is how to look at the Earth below us. We will focus on two aspects: How do we know how old the Earth is; and, What wiped out the dinosaurs?
Are there existential truths or insights about the essence of reality, human nature, or morality that can be disclosed only in a particular form of communication? This course will explore existentialist views about who we are, our place in the world, and who we should be in that world while analyzing the way these views are conveyed.
This course explores examples of remixing, mash up and sampling from ancient Greek lyric poetry to modern theater. It will consider remix as a form of cultural appropriation as well as a strategy of resistance through juxtapositions of ancient and modern texts and media. Through close textual readings, we will examine the surprising and original ways modern artists and thinkers have remixed ancient texts to give expression to modern experiences.
.253 ILS.253.fall.2018 McClure
This course explores examples of remixing, mash up and sampling from ancient Greek lyric poetry to modern theater. It will consider remix as a form of cultural appropriation as well as a strategy of resistance through juxtapositions of ancient and modern texts and media. Through close textual readings, we will examine the surprising and original ways modern artists and thinkers have remixed ancient texts to give expression to modern experiences
This course examines a series of political, philosophical, and literary texts in order to imagine the possible
relations between power, writing, and resistance. Rather than using literature as a key to politics, or
imposing political themes on literary works, we will attend to how literature—taken as a coded form of
linguistic and aesthetic practice—and politics—understood both as the exercise of power and strategies of
resistance—might be related.
In this course, we will study a series of literary texts in order to question the relations
between political power and resistance in modern writing. Instead of assuming that
literature lies beyond the pale of political life, we will explore the hypothesis that literary
works are marked by the very relations of power that structure subjects and societies at
This is an interdisciplinary, cross-college course that will bring together Theatre and non-Theatre students, scientists and non-scientists, empiricists and humanists. The aim is to introduce students to ways of encountering science and art so that one can think critically about why these two domains have for so long been seen as separate and even mutually excluding, and how one might bring them back into some sort of dialogue. While the title of the course suggests the main trajectory (“Theatre”), there will be room for students to pursue collaborative research and projects based in art forms other than traditional, literature-based theatre: spoken word, multimedia art, installation art, applied/educational theatre, site-specific performance, immersive theatre, and the like.