Jul 16, 2024  
Catalogue 2024-2025 
    
Catalogue 2024-2025
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MEDS 288 - God Goes to Comic Con: Religion and Fantasy

Semester Offered: Spring
1 unit(s)
(Same as RELI 288 ) In this course students explore the role of religion in popular fantasy genres—novels, comics, movies, television, video games—and vice versa. How has the idea of “fantasy” participated in the life of religion historically and globally? How do today’s fantasy worlds intersect with more traditional religious cosmologies, and how do they enter popular culture? Where does mythology end and fantasy begin? How do popular fantasy texts become sacred and develop canonicity? At what point does a fandom essentially become a religious community? To answer these questions we analyze contemporary fantasy series such as Star Wars, Alice’s Adventures in WonderlandBlack PantherGame of Thrones, the Amar Chitra Katha comic books, and the films of Hayao Miyazaki. We also read early foundational works of religious literature in translation (e.g., the Rāmāyaṇa, the Hebrew Bible) through the lens of fantasy. We ask, moreover, what happens when we physically step into the world of fantasy—as happens regularly at Disney World, Comic Con, Renaissance Faires, and in LARPing and video games. Finally we explore the dystopian side of fantasy: Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower invites us to ask whether fantasy could open the door for religion to serve as a broadly constructive social force—or whether that very idea is merely a fantasy.  Nell Hawley.

Two 75-minute periods.

Course Format: CLS



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