Bruce Willis with a glowing red eye, from the film 12 Monkeys

Theodore Louis Trost

Thursday, 2pm-3:15pm  & by appointment

 

REL 124.001 Religion & Film in America

Religious language, themes, and rituals appear with surprising frequency in contemporary American films. How does an awareness of this religious dimension in a work of “popular culture” affect our interpretation of its meaning? What do these often subtle traces of religion suggest about the American character? And what does the broad popularity of these films say about the nature of being “religious” in America? These are the kinds of questions we will explore together in Religious Studies 124. We will focus on the enduring dialogue (or “debate,” or even “culture war”) between American culture and religious identity, or-in the language of the religious studies discipline-between the sacred and the profane. Our basic “texts” will be six films that have achieved box office or video rental success during the last twenty years. Our conversations about these films will be supplemented with careful readings of religious, cultural, and literary scholarship. The class will be conducted mainly as a seminar; it will also include occasional brief lectures.

T, R | 3:30-5:50 pm

Lloyd 329

Download Syllabus

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Readings

Klassen, Chris
Religion & Popular Culture
Oxford University Press, 2014
0195449185

Clark, Terry R.
Understanding Religion & Popular Culture
Routledge, 2012
041578106X

Books are available at the SUPe Store and online through vendors such as amazon.com.