Religion and Popular Culture

REL-R-102 — Summer 2022

Jacob Boss
Days and Times
06/20/2022 – 07/29/2022. This class meets 100% online through asynchronous instruction.
Course Description

What is happiness? How can we get it? Can we keep it? Join us this summer for an investigation of religion, popular culture, and happiness. We’ll explore what religious traditions have to say about happiness, while also checking up on the latest research in the neuroscience and psychopharmacology of happiness. Can you become permanently happy by taking enough magic mushrooms, or through direct experience of the divine? Will brain implants let us throw a happy switch from our phones? Is being happy all the time really a good thing? What messages about happiness are we getting from popular culture? What religious materials are being used by advertisers to market happiness? This class will use a mix of films, books, research articles, scriptures, and journalism, but no purchases will be required. This class takes place completely online and asynchronous. There will be optional study groups for students in Bloomington and through Zoom.