SCHEDULE OF CLASSES
Rel 122 Religion and Art: Spring 2014

Students are strongly recommended NOT to print out this syllabus
as it will continue to develop and change over the course of the semester.

Rel 122 will meet on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 2:00 to 3:00p.m. in Patterson Hall 110.

My Office Hours will be Monday, Wednesday, and Friday: 1:00-2:00, and by arrangement.

 1/13-17 | 1/20-24 | 1/27-31 | 2/3-7 | 2/10-14 | 2/17-21 | 2/24-28 | 3/3-7 |
3/17-21 | 3/24-28 | 3/31-4/4 | 4/7-11 | 4/14-16 | 4/22-25 | 4/28-5/2 | 5/5-9 |
Click the date to see the schedule for that week.

Required Reading: The Required Reading for the course will be provided by the instructor via My.Westminster. See the daily schedule for the readings to be discussed each day.

Recommended Reading: Any of the following are worth reading and will enrich your understanding of the topic. They will be referred to during the course of the semester.
Apostolos-Cappadona, Diane, ed. (1984). Art, Creativity, and the Sacred: An Anthology in Religion and Art. New York: Continuum.
Barkow, J. H., Leda Cosmides, and John Tooby, eds. (1995). The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Boyd, Brian (2009). On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Boyer, Pacal 2001. Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought. New York: Basic Books.
Bulbulia, Joseph, Richard Sosis, Erica Harris, Russell Genet, Cheryl Genet, and Karen Wyman, eds. (2008). The Evolution of Religion: Studies, Theories, and Critiques. Collins Foundation Press.
Dissanayake, Ellen (1988). What is Art For? Seattle: University of Washington Press.
Dutton, Denis (2009). The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure, and Human Evolution. New York, Berlin, and London: Bloomsbury Press.
Gell, Alfred (1992). “The Technology of Enchantment and the Enchantment of Technology,” in Anthropology, Art and Aesthetics, ed. Jeremy Coote and Anthony Shelton. Oxford: Oxford University Press: 40-63.
Mithen, Steven J. (1996). The Prehistory of the Mind: A Search for the Origins of Art, Religion and Science. London, UK: Thames and Hudson.
Pyysiäinen, Ilkkya and Veikko Anttonen (eds. 2002). Current Approaches in the Cognitive Science of Religion. London and New York: Continuum.
Stausberg, Michael (2009). Contemporary Theories of Religion: A Critical Companion. London and New York: Routledge.
Turner, Mark (2006) ed. The Artful Mind: Cognitive Science and the Riddle of Human Creativity. Oxford University Press.
Wrangham, Richard 2010. Catching Fire: How Cooking Made us Human. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Outcomes

Grading


Week 1: Introduction: Religion and Art.

Excerpts from The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll.

"Just the place for a Snark!" the Bellman cried,
As he landed his crew with care;
Supporting each man on the top of the tide
By a finger entwined in his hair.

"Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
That alone should encourage the crew.
Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
What I tell you three times is true."

The Bellman himself they all praised to the skies--
Such a carriage, such ease and such grace!
Such solemnity, too! One could see he was wise,
The moment one looked in his face!

He had bought a large map representing the sea,
Without the least vestige of land:
And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be
A map they could all understand.

"Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes!
But we've got our brave Captain to thank:
(So the crew would protest) "that he's bought us the best--
A perfect and absolute blank!"


Week 1.
Monday 1/13
Classes Begin: Introduction to the course and the class webpage, etc.. Procedures and Outcomes, etc. The Problem of Art and Religion.

Wednesday 1/15 The Problem of Art and Religion: The Glamor of the Gods.
Reading:
DeConcini. Barbara (1991). “The Crisis of Meaning in Religion and Art.” The Christian Century, March 20-27: 223-326.

References:
Elkins, James (2004). On the Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art.
Dixon, John (1983). “Art as the Making of the World.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 51/1: 78-103.

Friday 1/17 Discussion.


Week 2.
Monday 1/20
No Class in honor of Martin Luther King.

Wednesday 1/22 Defining Religion/Defining Art.
Ninian Smart's Dimensional Model of Religion. Denis Dutton: Art as a "Cluster Concept."
Reading: Dissanayake, Ellen (1988). What is Art For? (Excerpt 1)
Dutton, Denis (2009). The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure, and Human Evolution. (Excerpt 1)

References:
Elkins, James (2004). On the Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art.

Friday 1/24 Discussion.

Your first submission of your class documentation is due today.
It should be submitted as an e-mail attachment by Friday afternoon at 4:30 pm at the latest.


Week 3.
Monday 1/27
The Beginnings of a Solution: The Ethology of Art and Religion--religion and art as persistent patterns of behavior.
Reading: Wunn, Ina (2005). “Ethology of Religion,” from The Encyclopedia of Religion, Second Edition: 2867-2870.

References:
Dissanayake, Ellen (1988). What is Art For?
Taves, Ann (2009). Religious Experience Reconsidered: A Building-Block Approach to the Study of Religion and other Special Things.

Wednesday 1/29 Discussion.

Friday 1/31 The Meaning and End of Art. Does art have an end? Can its end be known? What is art for?

References:
Boyd, Brian (2009). On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction.
Dissanayake, Ellen (1988). What is Art For?
McGilchrist, Iain (2010). The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World.


Week 4.

"We have sailed many months, we have sailed many weeks,
(Four weeks to the month you may mark),
But never as yet ('tis your Captain who speaks)
Have we caught the least glimpse of a Snark!

"We have sailed many weeks, we have sailed many days,
(Seven days to the week I allow),
But a Snark, on the which we might lovingly gaze,
We have never beheld till now!

Monday 2/3 Paying Attention: Valorization and the manipulation of attention.
Reading:
Boyd, Brian (2009). On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction. (Excerpt 1 on the nature and importance of attention)

Wednesday 2/5 First Short Quiz and Discussion.

Friday 2/7 Playing with Perception: an evolutionary history of art and religion.
Reading: Lawson, E. Thomas (2000). “Towards a Cognitive Science of Religion.” Numen 47/3; 338-349.

The second submission of your class documentation is due today. Please turn it in by 4:30 pm at the latest.

References:
Bulbulia, Joseph (2008). The Evolution of Religion: Studies, Theories, and Critiques.


Week 5.

"Come, listen, my men, while I tell you again
The five unmistakable marks
By which you may know, wheresoever you go,
The warranted genuine Snarks.

"Let us take them in order. The first is the taste,
Which is meager and hollow, but crisp:
Like a coat that is rather too tight in the waist,
With a flavor of Will-o-the-wisp.

Monday 2/10 Seeing the Unseen/Perceiving the Sacred in the Profane: further clarification of a theory of religion and art.
Reading: Rennie, Bryan (2007). “Mircea Eliade: The Perception of the Sacred in the Profane, Intention, Reduction, and Cognitive Theory.” Temenos: 73-98.

References:
Apostolos-Cappadona, Diane, ed. (1984). Art, Creativity, and the Sacred: An Anthology in Religion and Art.
Brennan, Marcia (2010). Curating Consciousness: Mysticism and the Modern Museum.
Gell, Alfred (1998). Art and Agency: An Anthropological Theory.

Wednesday 2/12 Seeing the Unseen/Perceiving the Sacred in the Profane, continued.

Friday 2/14 Divination and Prophecy.
Reading: Rennie, Bryan (2013). “Religion and Art Behavior--A Theory and an Example: The Biblical Prophets as Postcolonial Street Theater,” Paper presented at a session on Theorizing Religion and Art, organized by the North American Association for the Study of Religion at the American Academy of Religion Conference. Baltimore, MD, Saturday November 23rd 2013.


Week 6.
Monday 2/17 Divination and Prophecy, continued: The Hebrew prophets as postcolonial street theatre.

You must submit an abstract for your first short research paper by this date.

Wednesday 2/19 The Variety of art forms and Narrative Theory.
Reading: Hinnells, John R. (2005). “Religion and the Arts,” from The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion: 509-525.
Scalise Sugiyama, Michelle (1996). “On the Origins of Narrative: Storyteller Bias as a Fitness-Enhancing Strategy. Human Nature 7/4: 403-425.

References:
Rennie, Bryan (2002). Il n’y a pas un Solution de la Continuité: Eliade, Historiography, and Pragmatic Narratology in the Study of Religion. ARC: The Journal of the Faculty of Religious Studies, 30: 115-137.
Geertz, Armin and Jeppe Sinding Jensen (2011). Religious Narrative, Cognition and Culture: Image and Word in the Mind of Narrative.
Sjöblom, Tom (2008). “Narrativity, Emotions, and the Origins of Religion,” in Bulbulia et al eds., The Evolution of Religion: Studies, Theories, and Critiques: 279-25.

Friday 2/21 Narrative Theory, continued and discussion.

The third submission of your class documentation is due today.
Photographs of the Brancusi installation at Targu Jiu, Romania, courtesy of Maureen Korp.


Week 7. Art and Religion in History.

"For, although common Snarks do no manner of harm,
Yet, I feel it my duty to say,
Some are Boojums--" The Bellman broke off in alarm,
For the Baker had fainted away.

"But oh, beamish nephew, beware of the day,
If your Snark be a Boojum! For then
You will softly and suddenly vanish away,
And never be met with again!'

Monday 2/24 Back to the Beginnings: Paleolithic Art.

References:
Lewis-Williams, D. (2002). The Mind in the Cave: Consciousness and the Origins of Art. London: Thames and Hudson.

Wednesday 2/26 Back to the Beginnings: The Material Culture of Early Humans: From Göbekli Tepe and Çatal Höyük to the First Cities.

References:
Aruz, Joan (2003). The Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus.
Hodder, Ian ed. (2010). Religion in the Emergence of Civilization.

Friday 2/28 The 18th Dynasty, Amarna Age Pharaohs.
Reading:
Johnson and Freed (1999). "Art in the Service of the State," from Pharaohs of the Sun.

Your first short research paper is due today. (1,000 words.)


Week 8.

"I said it in Hebrew--I said it in Dutch--
I said it in German and Greek:
But I wholly forgot (and it vexes me much)
That English is what you speak!"

Monday 3/3 Biblical Religion and the Art of Textual Interpretation.
Reading:
Orly Goldwasser, 2010. "How the Alphabet was born from Hieroglyphs."

Wednesday 3/5 Biblical Religion and the Art of Textual Interpretation, continued.

Friday 3/7 Discussion


Spring Break: Monday 3/10 to Sunday 3/16


Week 9.
Monday 3/17
A Common Thread: Divination--Telling the Future or Negotiating the Present?

Woodcut from Atalanta Fugiens, 1617, Michael Maier

Wednesday 3/19 Divination: The Art of the Divine.

Friday 3/21 Orthodox Christian iconography.
Reading:
Pentcheva, Bissera (2006). “The Performative Icon,” Art Bulletin 88/4: 631-655.


The fourth submission of your class documentation is due today.


Week 10.
Monday 3/24
Islamic Art: Calligraphy, Architecture and Acoustics.
Reading:
Cetin, Abdurrahmen (1999). “The Place of Music in Quranic Recitation.” American Journal of Islamic Social Science 16: 111-122.
Al-Faruqi, Lois Ibsen (1984). “An Islamic Perspective on Symbolism and the Arts” from Art, Creativity, and the Sacred: An Anthology in Religion and Art: 164-178.

Wednesday 3/26 Renaissance and Reformation.
The Development of Perspective and The Protestant Reformation: The Attempt to Divorce Religion and Art.

Friday 3/28 Buddhist Art: Art in the Service of Enlightenment—Experiencing the Dharma.


Week 11.
Monday 3/31
Hindu Devas: Gods as Superheroes/Superheroes as Gods.

Wednesday 4/2 Chinese art and religion.
Reading:
Paper, Jordan (1985). “ ‘Riding on a White Cloud’: Aesthetics as Religion in China,” Religion 15/1: 3-27.

The Media/Art Forms—various art forms considered in relation to their role in the History of Religion.

Friday 4/4 “Visionary/Outsider” Art: the irresistible art.
A look at examples such as Banksy, Linda Barry, Henry Darger, and Howard Finster.


Week 12.
Monday 4/7
“Visionary/Outsider” Art: the irresistible art, continued.
Student reports on Outsider/Visionary artists.
The American Visionary Art Museum.

Wednesday 4/9 Student reports on Outsider/Visionary artists, continued.

Friday 4/11 Music: “the neurophysiology of music” and its connection to religion.
Reading: Alcorta, Candace (2008). “Music and the Miraculous: The Neurophysiology of Music's Emotive Meaning,” from Miracles Volume 3, Parapsychological perspectives: 230-252.

References:
Mithen, Steven J. (2005). The Singing Neanderthals: The Origins of Music, Language, Mind, and Body.
Brown, Steven (2000b). “The ‘Musilanguage’ Model of Music Evolution,” in The Origins of Music, edited by Wallin, Nils, Björn Merker, and Steven Brown.
Brown, Steven and Ellen Dissanayake (2009). “The Arts Are More than Aesthetics,” from Neuroaesthetics: Foundations and Frontiers in Aesthetics.

 


Week 13. Monday 4/14 Music: “the neurophysiology of music” and its connection to religion: continued.
Reading: Alcorta, Candace (2008). “Music and the Miraculous: The Neurophysiology of Music's Emotive Meaning,” from Miracles Volume 3, Parapsychological perspectives: 230-252.

"'Tis a pitiful tale," said the Bellman, whose face
Had grown longer at every word:
"But, now that you've stated the whole of your case,
More debate would be simply absurd.

"The rest of my speech" (he explained to his men)
"You shall hear when I've leisure to speak it.
But the Snark is at hand, let me tell you again!
'Tis your glorious duty to seek it!

You must submit an abstract for your second research paper today.

Wednesday 4/16 Dance: who is the Lord of the dance?
Reading:
Kimerer L. LaMothe (2005). “Why Dance? Towards a Theory of Religion as Practice and Performance.”
Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 17/2: 101-133.

References:
Miettinen, Jukka O. (2010). Asian Traditional Theatre and Dance.


The fifth submission of your class documentation is due today.


Easter Break Thursday 4/17 to Monday 4/21


Week 14.

They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
They pursued it with forks and hope;
They threatened its life with a railway-share;
They charmed it with smiles and soap.

Tuesday 4/22 (MONDAY CLASSES MEET TODAY) Drama: "All the world's a stage," and the Gods love a play.

References:
Tambiah, Stanley J. (1979). “A Performative Approach to Ritual.” Proceedings of the British Academy: 113-169.

Wednesday 4/23 Film: the American art of the modern era.
Reading:
Greenfield, Rennie (2008). "The Celluloid Campfire: Implicit Religion and Film," paper presented at the Denton Conference on Implicit Religion.

Friday 4/25 Religion and the Secular: the difference that makes a difference--Religion as the representation of the really real.
Pulling it all together: Imagination and History: does the creative imagination transcend temporality? Is Art “Cooked Experience,” which processes experience for greater benefit? Is “Seeing the World Better” possible?
Reading:
Dutton, Denis (2009). The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure, and Human Evolution. (Excerpt 2 on the adaptive advantage of storytelling)
Boyd, Brian (2009). On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction. (Excerpt 2 on storytelling)

References:
Alcorta, Candace and Richard Sosis (2005). “Ritual, Emotion and Sacred Symbols: The Evolution of Religion as an Adaptive Complex.” Human Nature 16: 323-359.
Bering, Jesse (2006b). “The Cognitive Psychology of Belief in the Supernatural: A Byproduct of the Ability to Reason about the Minds of Others May Offer Evolutionary Advantage.” American Scientist 94/2, 142-149.
------ (2002) “The Existential Theory of Mind.” Review of General Psychology 6: 3-24.
Dow, J. W. (2006). “The Evolution of Religion: Three Anthropological Approaches.” Method and Theory in the Study of Religion, 18:67-91.
Wrangham, Richard (2010). Catching Fire: How Cooking Made us Human.


Your second short research paper is due today. (1,500 words.)

"Leave him here to his fate--it is getting so late!"
The Bellman exclaimed in a fright.
"We have lost half the day. Any further delay,
And we sha'n't catch a Snark before night!"


Week 15.

"It's a Snark!" was the sound that first came to their ears,
And seemed almost too good to be true.
Then followed a torrent of laughter and cheers:
Then the ominous words "It's a Boo-"

Monday 4/28 Student Exhibitions.

Wednesday 4/30 Student Exhibitions.

Friday 5/2 Last Class!! Any remaining Student Exhibitions. Conclusions--Religion and Art behavior as the common ancestor of contemporary religion and art. Distinction, division, and separation as a peculiarly modern condition and cognition.

References:
Mithen, Steven J. (1996). The Prehistory of the Mind: A Search for the Origins of Art, Religion and Science.

The sixth and final submission of your class documentation is due today.
The final resubmission including all of your documentations is due in by the time of our final examination period
(Friday 5/9 @ 10:30).
In the midst of the word he was trying to say,
In the midst of his laughter and glee,
He had softly and suddenly vanished away---
For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.


Finals period, Monday 5/5 to Friday 5/9.

Wednesday, 5/7 is Reading Day.

Religion and Art Final Period: Friday 5/9 8:00 - 10:30 a.m.

Term ends Friday May 9th.

Senior Grades will be available Monday 5/12 at Noon

All other grades will be available Friday 5/16 at Noon


Back

brennie@westminster.edu