This synchronous online course will explore ancient and modern constructions of gender and how that impacts an understanding of sacred texts, not only in questions of translation and gender performance but in the pressing need for safe inclusive spaces. Trans and intersex people have been violently victimized, ostracized, and demonized by oppressive readings of sacred texts. Understanding ancient physiology demonstrates that our “scientific” or “natural” conceptions of gender change; they are not fixed but shaped by culture and society. We are currently at the cusp of a broader cultural/social paradigm shift as scientists are more clearly and publicly making known that a focus on two sexes cannot be supported biologically, further supporting the work that gender theorists such as Judith Butler have pioneered. While many welcome the possibilities that are on the horizon, others are using religion as a cudgel to continue to promote the concept of gender binaries. This seminar will set the historical, cultural, and literary context for Greek, Roman, Jewish, and Christian sources. The course will culminate with student-led presentations of their research projects based on the individual interests of the students, resulting in a variety of collective resources on gender and religion (not limited to Jewish and Christian traditions).
As it is a 1.5 unit upper-division course it will meet every other week of the semester, the format will be seminar style, students are expected to have completed the assigned readings and be ready to discuss materials.
Relates to Thresholds: 3. Sacred Text and Interpretation 4. History of Dissenting Traditions and the Thea/ological Quest 6. Thea/ology in Culture and Text.
Prerequisite: ECO Core Course
Enrollment max: 15. Auditors excluded.