HC231H - Saints and Society

Professor: Lisa Wolverton

4.00 credits

CRN 32931: Tuesday & Thursday, 8:30-9:50am @ CHA 202

Saints have served the Christian community—as heroes, teachers, role models, conduits for supernatural power, and thus healing, solace, and protection—since ancient times.  In this class we concentrate on the first millennium and a half of Christian history, on Mediterranean and western European societies, and most especially on the social processes through which saints were made and imbued with meaning in everyday life.  Our approach will be neither theological nor biographical; instead, we concentrate on understanding changing ideals and practices in evolving social contexts.  This is a history class, so we’ll also consider the historical interpretation of textual and other artifacts, and we’ll read the most innovative theoretical scholarship.  The premise is simple:  a central means of understanding any culture (past or present, our own or others’) is understanding the individuals and qualities it valorizes, and how those are both integrated and contested within the community.