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Spring 2020 Religion GU4204 section 001
Religions of the Iranian World
Religions of the Iranian

Call Number 14389
Day & Time
T 2:10pm-4:00pm
101 80 Claremont Ave
Points 4
Grading Mode Standard
Approvals Required None
Instructor Derek Mancini-Lander
Method of Instruction Classroom
Course Description This course is a seminar open to undergraduate and graduate students who wish to gain an understanding of the diverse religious traditions of the Iranian world from ancient to contemporary times. This subject has often been organized around the assumption that a continuous tradition of an Iranian national religious heritage can be identified and traced through from ancient, Zoroastrian to medieval Islamic traditions, and then ultimately to contemporary Shi’ite and minority Zoroastrian and Baha’i traditions. This perspective has presumed that such a legacy has been constitutive and determinative for Iranians’ sense of national identity and for their core religious word-view. From the outset, this course aims to problematize and ultimately overturn this approach, first of all, by historicizing the very idea of Iran and by challenging the assumption that an Iranian identity was even recognizable before the twentieth century, much less constitutive of some unbroken traditions of religious thought or practice. While there may be some persistent threads in language, mythic heritage, and religiosity that one can observe throughout the Iranian plateau and Central Asia across the centuries, it is more useful to examine these as part of a larger matrix of exchanges with adjacent cultural and religious systems. Students will examine a series of interrelated themes that are key to the studies of religion in the Iranian world. While the course does cover material that progresses roughly chronologically from the first millennium BCE to contemporary times, it is not a systematic historical survey. Each week will focus on a cluster of scholarly works and related primary sources on focused topics related to the successive religious traditions in Iran, the Mazdaen dualist traditions, Islam, and Baha’ism. The various weeks will address overarching themes such as Imperial religion, protest and messianic movements, migration, diasporic religiosity, and the relationship between cosmology and history. In the process we will address specific topics such as Zoroastrianism and Mazdaen religiosity outside the imperial cult, the Mithras mystery cult of Rome, Mazdaen cosmology and piety in Islam, Islamic astrology and millenarianism, the rise of Iranian ShiÊ¿ism, Gujarati Zoroastrians, religion, leftist ideology, and the modern Iranian state. In keeping with the transregional approach of the course, the geographical scope of the material covered extends far beyond the boundaries of the contemporary Islamic Republic of
Web Site Vergil
Department Religion
Enrollment 10 students (15 max) as of 11:04AM Thursday, July 9, 2020
Subject Religion
Number GU4204
Section 001
Division Interfaculty
Campus Morningside
Section key 20201RELI4204W001

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