Sex and Religion: The Erotic and the Anti-Erotic in Comparative Perspective is an elective course designed for graduate students with Religious Studies either as their coordinating or co-discipline. Although it is restricted neither to Religious Studies students nor to graduate students, it is an advanced seminar, and as such does assume a certain measure of theoretical familiarity and background of study. The course is designed to highlight issues related to the various ways in which religions of the world have integrated, embraced, or repressed one of the most basic human experiences--sexual expression.
|Instructor:||Douglas E. Cowan
204C Haag Hall
|Office hours:||6:00 - 7:00 p.m. Thursday, or by appointment|
|Class Location:||Royall Hall 402|
|Time:||7:00 - 9:45 Thursday|
Required Reading | Class Schedule | Coursework and Evaluation | Academic Honesty | Important Note
Required ReadingThere are thirteen required texts for this class. Textbooks for the class may be purchased from the UMKC bookstore, or other outlets at the student's convenience. Required texts for the class are:
Bataille, Georges. Erotism: Death and Sexuality.
Biale, David. Eros and the Jews: From Biblical Israel to Contemporary America.
Danielou, Alain. The Hindu Temple: Deification of Eroticism.
Eliott, Dyan. Fallen Bodies: Pollution, Sexuality, and Demonology in the Middle Ages.
Faure, Bernard. The Red Thread: Buddhist Approaches to Sexuality.
Harper, Katherine. The Roots of Tantra.
Kakhar, Sudir. Intimate Relations: Exploring Indian Sexuality.
Kripal, John Jeffrey. Roads of Excess, Palaces of Wisdom: Eroticism and Reflexivity in the Study of Mysticism.
Moore, Thomas. Dark Eros: The Imagination of Sadism.
Qualls-Corbett, Nancy. The Sacred Prostitute: Eternal Aspect of the Feminine.
Ranke-Heinemann, Ute. Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven: Women, Sexuality and the Catholic Church. (N.b. This title is out of print. Many copies are available through outlets such as Amazon.com, and Prof. Cowan will be placing additional copies on reserve in the Miller Nichols Library.)
Runzo, Joseph. Love, Sex, and Gender in the World Religions.
Williams, Miriam. Heaven's Harlots: My Fifteen Years as a Sacred Prostitute in the Children of God Cult.
There will be one assigned text per week. Students will be expected to have read the entire text carefully, and to come to class well prepared to discuss issues raised by the author(s). This class will be conducted in seminar format; the readings for each week will be introduced by student presentations. Rather than simply a précis of the work, students will be expected to discuss intelligently the issues and questions raised in the work by the author(s). This includes: (a) the major issues addressed by the author(s) and conclusions reached; (b) the theory and method(s) employed in the study; (c) a critical evaluation of the strengths and limitations of the work; and (d) the significant questions or issues which are raised by the study
|August 22, 2002||Introduction to the course.|
|Note: Students should come to the first class having read "A
nun walks into a bar...: Transgression and Reversal as Analytic Categories."
This essay is available through WebCT, and access is restricted to students registered in the course. Contact Prof. Cowan for the logon and password, then log on to UMKC's WebCT homepage. Under "Course Listings," select "Religious Studies," and follow the link to the homepage for this course. You will find an icon labelled: "A nun walks into a bar..." If you have not used WebCT course materials before, you will be required to register. Simply follow the directions on the site.
|August 29, 2002||Runzo, Joseph, ed., Love,
Sex, and Gender in the World Religions.
Presenter: Dale Smith
|September 5, 2002||Bataille, Georges. Erotism:
Death and Sensuality.
Presenter: Jon Goodell
|September 12, 2002||Biale, David. Eros
and the Jews: From Biblical Israel to Contemporary America.
Presenter: Larry Spurgeon
|September 19, 2002||Kripal, John Jeffrey.
Roads of Excess, Palaces of Wisdom: Eroticism and Reflexivity in the Study of
Presenters: Glenn Young; Heather Simes
|September 26, 2002||Danielou, Alain. The
Hindu Temple: Deification of Eroticism.
Presenter: Vineet Venugopal
|October 3, 2002||Kakhar, Sudhir. Intimate
Relations: Exploring Indian Sexuality.
Presenter: Brenda Williams
|October 10, 2002||Harper, Katherine,
ed. The Roots of Tantra.
Presenter: Bobbi Van den Arend
|October 17, 2002||Faure, Bernard. The
Red Thread: Buddhist Approaches to Sexuality.
Presenter: Kevin Decker
|October 24, 2002||Qualls-Corbett,
Nancy. The Sacred Prostitute.
Presenter: Elyse Max
|October 31, 2002||Williams, Miriam. Heaven's
Harlots: My Fifteen Years as a Sacred Prostitute in the Children of God Cult.
Guest lecturer: Anita Reznicek, Senior Ph.D. student
Presenter: Robert Peterson
|November 7, 2002||Elliott, Dyan. Fallen
Bodies: Pollution, Sexuality, and Demonology in the Middle Ages.
Presenters: Lorna Condit; Victor Ammons
|November 14, 2002||Ranke-Heinemann, Ute.
Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven: Women, Sexuality, and the Catholic Church.
Presenters: L. Michael McCloud; Dana Rice
|November 21, 2002||Moore, Thomas. Dark
Eros: The Imagination of Sadism.
Presenter: Gabriella Smith
|December 5, 2002||Last day of class.|
|During this class session, each student will be expected to make a brief presentation on their research project for the semester.|
Coursework and Evaluation
Students will be evaluated on (a) class participation, (b) their presentation(s) of weekly readings, and (c) an original research essay on a topic of their choice, but within the topical purview of the course. Class attendance is mandatory, and only excused absences arranged in advance with Prof. Cowan will be permitted.
For graduate students: Essays should be written to conform to the style of a particular academic journal, to which such an essay might be submitted for consideration for publication. As part of the research project, students will be expected to identify which journal would be an appropriate venue for their paper and to employ that journal's length, documentation, research, and discourse protocols in the preparation of their papers.
For undergraduate students: Essays should be between 2500-3000 words, and include proper citation and documentation. Click for examples of possible documentation styles.
Research papers are due by 5:00 pm on Friday, December 13, 2002. I urge students to consult with me on a research topic early in the semester, and I am happy to read as many drafts of your paper as you want to submit. You may email me these drafts, or give them to me in hard copy. There is one proviso, however: the deadline for drafts is November 28. I will not accept them after that date. Final papers are to be submitted in hard copy; email submissions will be returned to the student unread.
Note well that class participation is not the same as class attendance. In seminar courses such as this, simply reading the class material accounts for only a small percentage of the learning that takes place. Rather, the majority of learning occurs in the midst of class interaction, discussion, and often disgreement---with each other, with the text under consideration, and with the instructor. At the Ph.D. level, this interaction is particularly important, and the crucial thing to remember is this: You don't have to be right all the time, but you do have to step up and at least risk being wrong.
Click here to see my grading scale, and here to see a written presentation rubric on which assessment is based.
Please note that Prof. Cowan has a zero tolerance policy for plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty. Consequences can range from course failure (for undergraduate students) to dismissal from the academic program in which a student is enrolled (for graduate students). If you are unclear about what constitutes plagiarism, click here.
Douglas E. Cowan