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Unit information: The Body, Gender and Religion in 2016/17

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Unit name The Body, Gender and Religion
Unit code THRS20192
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Muessig
Open unit status Open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

School/department Department of Religion and Theology
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description

Gender and the human body are key aspects in understanding ritual and devotion in Christianity. They are evident in images of the divine or in a religion’s refusal to depict the divine; in the control and maintenance of the body through asceticism, sexual regulations, dietary restrictions, and other practices; in questions of clothing and leadership; and in many other areas. This unit will explore these issues by focusing on early and pre-modern Christianity; but contemporary Christianity as well as other religious traditions will be considered.

Aims:

To introduce students to the main elements of religious asceticism and its relation to gender.

To provide a framework for analysing and evaluating critically a wide range of arguments advanced by historians and theologians relating to asceticism and gender

To develop critical interaction with primary and secondary materials.

To develop oral and written presentation skills through the course assessment.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will have

1.a clear understanding of what are the main elements of religious asceticism and its relation to gender

2. acquired the knowledge and skill to access critically a wide range of arguments advanced by historians and theologians relating to asceticism and gender

3. acquired skills through essay writing and examination, in presenting, analysing and evaluating complex ideas and arguments in written form.

In addition 2nd year students will have

4. developed analytical skills suitable for level I as demonstrated in their formal assessments.

Teaching details

1 lecture + 1 seminar per week

Assessment Details

One summative coursework essay of 2500 words and one unseen examination of two hours comprising 2 questions out of 6 (50%). Both elements will assess ILOs (1) and (2). The coursework essay in particular will offer students the opportunity to demonstrate ILOs (3) and (4).

Reading and References

P. Brown, The Body and Society: Men, Women and Sexual Renunciation in Early Christianity, 2nd (London: Faber and Faber, 2008).

C.W. Bynum, Holy Feast and Holy Fast: the Religious Significance of Food to Medieval Women (Berkeley: University of California Press,1987)

G. Flood, The Ascetic Self: Subjectivity, Memory, and Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004)

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