I have mentioned this on my blog before, but here at Brooks, we offer specialized electives called Winter (or January) Term. My academic interest looks at religion and race, and how they impact the historical narrative. Thus, I have designed my course on looking at Jesus by way of popular culture. Winter Term course catalogs were released today.
The notion of Jesus Christ has been a transformative one over the course of history. This course looks to explore Americans sense of Jesus Christ as promulgated through the lens of American traditionalism, popular culture, music, and academic focus. TV shows such as Family Guy, South Park, and other documentaries aim to encapsulate various views of what Jesus looks like, and who he is to many people. The course will not only explore such TV shows as noted in the aforementioned, but it will also delve into the complexity of race, gender, and sexuality. Moreover, students will examine Americans fascinations with hip-hop artist, such as the late rapper Tupac Shukar who too identified his rhythmic sounds and lyrics to that of Jesus. Artist, such as Tupac, inculcated a sense of lyrical spirit as a representation of black urban suffering.
Furthermore, this course will delve into the literature of American religious historians Edward Blum and Paul Harvey whose work, The Color Christ asks the question: How can the Son of God be both a representative of white supremacy and that of racial reconciliation by the 1960s? Students will have the opportunity to read this work as well as Steven Prothero’s American Jesus. Time will also be spent discussing the religious pursuits of popular figures such as Kenye West, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Billy Graham, as well as Presidents such as George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, and Barack Obama’s sense of American politics and religiosity. Students will enjoy the viewing and analysis of documentaries that question the reality of Jesus Christ.