The Sacred and the Profane

REL-C 401 — Spring 2020

illustrated art of African American man crucified on a cross
J. Kameron Carter
Days and Times
T 4:40 p.m. - 6:50 p.m.
Course Description

The “profane” and the “sacred,” the unholy and the holy, dirt and cleanliness, God and gangsterism, have a special relationship to each other. They are antagonists. The profane violates sacred norms, while the sacred regulates or attempts to put a boundary around the profane. But the profane and the sacred also cooperate with and depend on each other. In other words, they need each other. This course examines this dynamic as a way to understand religion, modernity, society, and (the) America(s). We will draw from philosophy, feminist theory, queer theory, and/or critical race theory to understand the profane and the sacred, while examining case studies—like R&B, Hip-Hop, the blues, jazz, the visual arts, literature, and political debates—to illuminate how the profane and the sacred show up in lived experience.