Bodies, Genders, and Sexualities in the Early Christian World
Division II; Difference, Power, and Equity;
Cross-listed as REL264 / WGSS264
What does it mean to be a woman or a man? To have body? A gender? A sexuality? In this course we will explore the ways in which bodies, genders, and sexualities were experienced and described in Mediterranean antiquity. Ancient experiences of and ideas about bodies, genders, and sexualities were often very different than those of the contemporary world. Nevertheless, because Greek and Roman antiquity and Christian beginnings often function as the imagined origins of “Western” (or European and American) “civilization,” these ancient ideas about bodies, genders, and sexuality, maintain an out-sized presence in current debates about the “normal” body, gender practices, and the contour of sexuality. With a focus on early Christianity, the course seeks, on the one hand, to introduce students to the early history of Christianity through an inspection of its pluriform discourses on the meaning and regulation of bodies, genders, and sexuality, even as it keeps an eye toward the modern legacy of these ideas. On the other hand, the course gives students the opportunity to be introduced to key questions and theories in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies through the study of early Christianity and its environs.
The Class: Type: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: weekly response papers, 5- to 6-page paper, 8- to 10-page paper
Enrollment Preference: majors, student seniority by class
Distributions: Division II; Difference, Power, and Equity;
Distribution Notes: DPE: The course's focus on the production and use of difference in terms of bodies, genders, and sexualities, and how those putative differences were used to authorize the social distribution of power, qualify this course as meeting the DPE distribution requirement.
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- REL 264 - 01 (F) SEM Body & Gender in Early Xianity