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Course Offerings

AIS 345: Islamic Mysticism

This course is an overview of Islamic spirituality, which refers to the spiritual aspects within basic Islamic texts and general Islamic practices, and Islamic mysticism, which refers to the concepts and practices of Sufism. Throughout the entire course, poems from Rumi, the greatest of the Sufi poets, will be read and discussed. The purpose of the course is to expose students to the ideas and practices of Islamic spirituality and mysticism, the history of Sufism and in a lesser extent the debate between Sufism and normative Islam.

CHI 430/495G: Chinese Folklore in Popular Culture

This course studies the following seminal folktales from Chinese culture: Mulan, White Snake, Meng Jiangnü, Weaving Maiden, Mulian and Woman Huang, and Butterfly Lovers. These tales have not only been central to traditional culture in China, but have been reinterpreted in film, literature, drama, and opera in China, Japan, the United States. We will examine the formations and transformations of these tales in various forms throughout the cultural history of China.

CLA 100: Ancient Stories in Modern Films

Films are studied that directly derived from Classical texts as well as films that reveal no direct influence from the ancient world but that nonetheless bear a striking thematic relationship to some works of Classical literature.

GER 103: Fairy Tales in European Context

UK Core Inquiry in Humanities

Fairy tales entertain, but also designate taboos, write out life scripts for ideal behaviors, and demonstrate the punishments for violating the collective and its prescribed social roles. We will examine classical & contemporary fairy tale using the interpretive tools central to unlocking folklore.

CLA 135: Greek & Roman Mythology

The Greek myths studied both from the standpoint of their meaning to the Greeks and Romans and from the standpoint of their use in later literature and in everyday life. Fulfills Gen Ed Inquiry, Humanities.

MCL 135: Vampires – Evolution of a Sexy Monster

This course answers the following questions: What is a vampire? Where do they come from? Why do we have an obsession with the walking dead, especially with fanged monsters? How do we get rid of them (or attract them)? The course will explore the origin of the vampire in Slavic folklore and trace the movement of the legend across Europe into literature and then finally into today's films and pulp fiction. We will learn about the legends, rituals and folk religious beliefs associated with the vampire phenomenon and how they have been interpreted over the centuries by various peoples. We will explore the myriad of approaches to the vampire from psychology, folkloristics, literature, physiology and anthropology. Taught in English.

HJS 110 Introduction to the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible

An introduction to the best-selling and most influential book ever written - a text foundational to both Judaism and Christianity. In this course we will survey the contents of the biblical text, paying close attention to its narrative artistry, its historicity, and its relationship to the ancient Near Eastern culture in which it was written.

FR 263: African and Caribbean Literature and Culture of French Expression in Translation

This course treats major cultural questions concerning the exchange between Africa and the Caribbean in terms of historical, sociological, political, and literary events. No knowledge of French is required. (Same as AAS 263.)

MCL 270: Introduction to Folklore and Mythology

Introduces the forms and functions of folklore and mythology, with particular emphasis on the Americas. Folklore opens up questions about the relationship of tradition to modernization, individualism, and community. The course explains how folklore is fundamental to human lives and relates these cultural traditions to identities and values in contemporary society. We give attention particularly to methods of ethnography and field collection to uncover symbols, structures, and functions in expressive culture. Satisfies the UK Course Intellectual Inquiry in the Humanities or Intellectual Inquiry in the Social Sciences requirement.

MCL 300: Contact Zones: Cultivating Intercultural Competence

This course aims to help students acquire skills and knowledge needed to promote understanding of individuals/groups from diverse backgrounds, without reinforcing stereotypes in the name of “cultural difference.” Toward this end, this course will (1) utilize, as a guide/ lead, the concept of “contact zones,” zones of exchange that divide but simultaneously connect “us” and “them”; and (2) have each student conduct a semester-long ethnographic project concerning the contact zone. (Same as SPA 300.)

CLA 331: Gender & Sexuality in Antiquity

A survey of the construction of gender, sexuality, and their relation to and expression in the societies of ancient Greece and Rome. Gender roles, marriage, social problems concerning sex and virginity, and different ways of understanding sexuality and gender in historical contexts are examined through the study of ancient literature, art and the insights of contemporary scholarship.

CLA 382: Greek and Roman Religion

This course will examine religious practice and experience in the world of ancient Greece and Rome. Religion will be conceived of very broadly and include not only the ancient gods themselves and their cult and ritual, but also religious thought in ancient philosophy, ancient Christianity, and also the various connections between religion and Greek and Roman society. The course seeks to familiarize the student with scholarly approaches to the study of religion as a historical phenomenon of human behavior.

GER 363: Germanic Mythology

Magic spears and helmets, dragon slaying, cursed gold rings and an eight-legged horse – these are just some of the mythical elements we’ll be exploring in this course. Read medieval Viking sagas in translation and learn about the origins of Thor and Loki.

MCL 591 Old Norse also taught in connection with this course.

RUS 370:Folklore of Russia and Ukraine

Central issues of Russian folk culture, particularly related to ritual, material culture, and oral lore; patterns and functions of folk architecture, clothing, and crafts in 19th C. peasant life. In English.

MCL 595: Topics in Folklore & in Popular Culture

An in-depth investigation of some aspect of folk culture (including artifacts, oral literature or rituals) and/or mythology with emphasis on a specific topic within a single cultural context or across cultures, e.g., the legend in European society, Chinese folklore in contemporary film, etc. MCL majors and graduate students will be expected to conduct part of their research in the target language. May be repeated up to six credits with different subtitles. Prereq: MCL 270.

Depending on Topic:

FR 324: Studies in French Literature

An introduction to the major trends of the French literary tradition, with emphasis on textual analysis and critical approaches. May be repeated to a maximum of 6 hours with a different subtitle. Prereq: FR 204