Spring 2024 | Asia, Africa, and Europe Exploration

PHIL 270 Issues in the Study of Religion [CRN 22354]

Overview of Course

Survey of several major world religions in terms of the roles and understandings of women. In particular, we will focus on the major religions found in Southeast Asia, Africa, and Europe, including Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, traditional African religions, and Catholicism. We will examine feminine images of the divine, mythological presentations, as well as roles and practices of women in each tradition. Utilizing primary and secondary sources, personal reflections from field study, art and documentaries, we will explore how both men and women in society have used oral and written sacred narratives to include and exclude women from power. We will learn to recognize the patterns in women's religious lives and how they respond to exclusion from power in their traditions, or from gender-based assignments in those traditions. These patterns and responses will show how women have subverted traditional patriarchal roles in religion, and created new ways of understandings within established religious systems. We will use case studies from the areas we visit to understand how the changing religious roles of women influence our wider global cultures.