Object Lessons: Materiality and Aesthetic Formation in the American Sunday School

REL750
Spring 2017
TTH 3:30pm - 4:50pm
Professor: 
Permission Not Required
Limited Enrollment
Course Description: 

Through a focus on the material culture of Christian education, this course explores the history of the American Sunday school. Tracing the development of the pious pedagogical method known as the “object lesson,” this course examines the relationship between seemingly spiritual performances such as prayer, memorization and the sensation of sacred presence, and material things such as picture cards, finger games and optical devices. The overarching theme of this course will be aesthetic formation, or the particular ways in which pedagogical techniques attune the senses to particular experiences of divine presence and sacred immediacy.  The course is designed to introduce students to basic concepts and methods in the study of material culture, the human sensorium, and religious education.

Background Expected: 

No pre-requisites required for this course

Course Requirements: 

Close engagement with the required reading, coupled with regular attendance and class participation

One midterm exam

In-class presentation (15min)

One final term paper (15-20 pages in length)

Basis of Evaluation: 

Participation 25%; Midterm 25%; Presentation 15%; Paper 35%