Poetics of Conversion

REL-R 389 — Fall 2024

Sonia Velázquez
Days and Times
W 1:50 PM - 4:05 PM
Course Description

What is a human being? How do we define the boundaries of the self? To what extent is that “self” stable, and what is required for it to change (free will, chance, supernatural forces such as divine intervention, or extreme emotions such as love)? In this course we will examine the ways in which humans relate to the realms of the divine, the animal and the inanimate by focusing on the importance of transformational tales in works of mythology, fiction, history and autobiography, as expressed in writing and the visual arts. In so doing, we will address both matters of content (i.e., Did the Greeks believe in their myths? Is authenticity important in conversion? Can you trust a renegade? How does gender affect how a religious conversion is narrated?), and we shall pay attention to the genre and medium of expression of these attempts to imagine ourselves otherwise and the context of their reception.