What is Religion?



HUM 135 RC What is Chinese Popular Religion?

Robert Culp

M . W . .

11:50 -1:10 pm

RKC 115


1 credit Pilgrimages to Mount Tai, Earth God shrines, fengshui masters orienting grave sites, and raucous festivals for the Goddess of Heaven that include parades, competitive dancing troupes, self-flagellation, and fireworksall are dimensions of Chinese popular religion. This course explores the history and dynamics of China syncretic popular religious practice, which integrates elements of Daoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism, from the late imperial period (1368-1644) to the present. We will focus on key interpretive issues such as the tension between orthodoxy and orthopraxy, state/elite control, and devotion as a process of self-making and community formation. An additional concern will be the recent popular religious revival in the Peoples Republic of China. This class will meet Mon/Wed, September 3rd 26th. Class size: 22



HUM 135 KS What is Catholicism?

Karen Sullivan

. T . Th .

4:40 -6:00 pm

OLIN 201


1 credit This short course will address the fundamentals of Catholic thought and ritual, both in terms of their historical development and in terms of their contemporary relevance. How is Catholicism different from other interpretations of Christianity, such as Protestantism and Eastern Orthodoxy? What is distinctive about its theology, its morality, its liturgy, its sacraments, and its calendar? In what ways has the Church changed over the centuries, and in what ways has it remained the same? What is the Church anyway? Topics to be addressed include the relation between Holy Scripture and Church tradition, between the authority of the magisterium and individual conscience, and between Catholic doctrine and the literature, art, music, and cinema it has inspired. This class will meet Tues/Thurs, October 2nd 25th. Class size: 20



HIST / HUM 206 Global Europe 

Gregory Moynahan / Joseph Luzzi

. T . Th .

10:10 - 11:30 am

OLIN 102

(OLIN 307)


Cross-listed: Italian Studies, French Studies, German Studies, Spanish Studies, Irish and Celtic Studies Where does Europe begin, and how do we establish its limits, conceptual and practical? Through a policy of aggressive expansion, the nation-states of Europe controlled over 85% of the habitable land in the world by 1900 and established common military, economic, political, scientific and diplomatic systems throughout much of this vast area. Yet this same expansion led to a hybridization, and contestation, of Europe polities through other cultures ranging from French North Africa, the British Commonwealth, and Latin America. How did Europe's expansion and the postcolonial reaction to it transform European culture and sensibility? How did a region defined by a millennium of continuous conflict that culminated in two world wars of unprecedented violence come to find not only relative peace but, in the European Union, a new political form and model for global human rights? Focused as much on contemporary events and developments within Europe as on its history, this seminar will feature contributions by a range of Bard faculty and incorporate film screenings, musical performances, and public readings into the curriculum. Although we will discuss global processes, the focus will be continental Europe. A basic awareness of European history at the level of at least a full-year high school course is required, while a college-level European history survey is recommended. Class size: 36



HUM 273 Hannah Arendt Center Humanities Seminar: Kreuzlingen: Creating Madness

and Modernity

Francesca Slovin /

Geoff White

. . . . F

1:30 -3:50 pm

RKC 102


This is a 5 week, 1 credit course. Cross-listed: Human Rights, Philosophy In this course, we take Kreuzlingen as the point of departure from which to analyze the complex phenomenon of dementia in major cultural activities, with focus on its relationship to modernism and modernity. Kreuzlingen is the site of the Bellevue sanatorium on Lake Constance, Switzerland, which was directed until 1956 by Ludwig Binswanger (1881-1966). The clinic had been established in 1857 by his uncle, Otto Binswanger, one of Nietzsches physicians. Ludwig Binswanger was also the founder of Existential Analysis (Daseinsanalyse), the fusion of psychoanalysis and existentialism. He adopted the term Verstiegenheit from mountain climbers to analyze the severe anxiety occurring when one ascends so farin all walks of lifethat descent is rendered impossible. Our term creating madness means, at once: (1) the way modernity creates its own form of mental and emotional disruption; (2) the way a certain madness in effect creates modernity; and (3), especially, the creative genius that has become designatedby others and/or by oneselfas mad. We will refer to the medical sciences (e.g. Georges Canguilhem), to psychoanalysis (Ludwig Binswanger, among others), to philosophy and the historical disciplines (from Friedrich Nietzsche to Michel Foucault). But our special emphasis is on the creative arts: literature, music, art, and cinema. The audio-visual medium may include Marat/Sade, One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest, The Exterminating Angel, Pi, Quills, Shock Corridor, and A Dangerous Method. The course meets for the first five weeks of the Fall Semester. Class size: 25