HISTART 205-001

Sacred Places

180 Tappan
MW 11:30-1pm
4 credit Lecture

In most parts of the world, religious activity is linked to specific places that have ritual, mythical, or historical significance. These "sacred places" become the focus of ritual activity, pilgrimage, and symbolism, and are usually endowed with buildings and art that celebrate the sanctity of a place or person, create a sense of awe, and accommodate the activities and people who visit them. This course offers an introduction to a sampling of significant sacred sites and shrines throughout the world, stretching from the Egyptian gods to Elvis Presley. The holy places we will study are associated with ancient Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Greek, and Roman religions, as well as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and even modern pop culture. Through these sacred places, we explore why certain artworks and sites became holy to certain peoples and civilizations, how they convey a sense of transcendence, and in what ways structures are planned to accommodate assembled groups of persons and attendant festivals and rituals.

Textbooks/Other Materials: None

Course Requirements: None

Intended Audience: General student body, especially freshmen and sophomores in all fields.

Class Format: Lecture with discussion section (recently upgraded to four credits with GSI)

Estimated Cost of Materials: $0

HISTART Distribution Requirements: A. Middle East, D. Europe and the US, 1. Ancient, 2. Medieval

This course fulfils the LSA Humanities Distribution requirement