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Gender and Liturgy
The basic questions pursued in this course are: How have gender differences shaped liturgical practices, and how does gender continue to inflect Christian worship? The category “gender” will be understood to attend to all gendered identities and sexualities, and thus go beyond binary femininity and masculinity to include all gendered particularities (e.g., eunuchs in Byzantium, or people with intersex conditions in North America today, as well as men and women). This course, then, investigates how liturgical history was profoundly shaped by, and itself shaped and continues to shape gendered lives and symbolic meanings associated with gender identities. Given the breadth of the subject matter, the course will attend to a spectrum of themes related to gender and liturgy, yet will have to do so quite selectively. Overall, the course seeks to create space for a nuanced reflection on gender-specific themes in the liturgical past, as both backdrop and resource for contemporary gender-based concerns in the worship life of Christian communities.
“Foundations of Christian Worship” is highly desirable
Since much of the work in this course will center on the close reading and interpretation of texts, the weight of evaluation will fall on a student’s sustained engagement with these tasks, as evidenced in class presentations, discussions, and written reflections. Each student will submit a written review and critique of one of the assigned weekly readings during the semester. This paper (2-4pp., double-spaced) will be the basis for the student’s presentation in the class discussion. A final paper (12-15pp., double spaced) is due at the end of the course.
Final grades for the course will be determined according to the following formula: class participation: 30%; class presentation: 30%; final paper: 40%.