REL-R 532: American Profanity

REL-R 532

tarrot cards spread across a black felt bag
Days and Times
T 5:45-7:55P
Course Description

The “profane” has a special relationship with the sacred. It is an antagonist of the sacred—the anti-sacred or its violation—that, at the same time, depends upon, cooperates with, and in the process provides evidence of the sacred as it generates power and meaning.

This course explores profanity in American culture in theory and context, matching critical takes on the topic with cultural case studies that may include the blues (and the ritual of the Saturday Night jook), artistic dimensions surrounding New York’s punk scene of the 1970s (including Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe), as well as legal and political debates from earlier centuries surrounding “foreigners,” “witches,” “bad books,” “possessions,” and much more.

*This course meets with REL-C 401.