Heroes, Saints and Celebrity
Division II; Writing-Intensive;
Cross-listed as ANTH222 / REL273
This course examines the ways in which cultures select, ritually celebrate, institutionally harness, and ultimately devour people designated as ‘extraordinary’. We will begin by considering cultural archetypes and theories of the hero and how heroism has been understood in different eras and cultural contexts. Using Weber’s theory of charisma as a foundation, we will look at a number of specific case studies to evaluate the relationship between individual creativity and action and the demands of social conformity and control. Finally, we will examine how charisma is commoditized in the form of the celebrity in contemporary American culture.
The Class: Type: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, two short response papers, research paper, final exam
Enrollment Preference: Anthropology and Sociology majors
Distributions: Division II; Writing-Intensive;