Jennifer Ortegren

Assistant Professor of Religion

 
 work(802) 443-5638
 Spring Term: Mondays and Wednesdays 2-3:30
 Munroe Hall 103

Professor Ortegren joined the Religion Department in the fall of 2016 as an Assistant Professor of South Asian Religions after receiving her Ph.D. from the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University. Her current research focuses on the relationship between religious and class identities among upwardly mobile Hindu and Muslim women in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India. Her research and teaching interests include women in religion, ethnographic and anthropological approaches to the study of religion, ritual and narrative practices, urbanization in South Asia, and the role of religion in emerging global middle class communities.  

 

Courses

Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

FYSE 1539 - Religion and Food      

Religion and Food
In this course we will examine religion and the construction of religious identity, morality, and community through food and cooking practices. We will consider how “rules” about what, when, and with whom one can or cannot eat shape religious traditions, values, and communities, and how these rules inform our very sense of what “counts” as religious. We will engage with practices from Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and students will conduct independent research about specific practices of their own choosing, which may fall outside of these traditions. 3 hrs. sem. CMP CW PHL

Spring 2019

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RELI 0140 - Hindu Traditions of India      

Hindu Traditions of India
In this course we will identify and examine key themes and issues in the study of Hindu religious traditions in India, beginning with the defining of the terms Hinduism, religions, and religious. We will primarily focus on the ways Hindu religious traditions—texts, narratives, and practices—are performed, received, and experienced in India. Essential aspects of Hindu religious traditions will be examined, including: key concepts (darsan, dharma, karma and caste), key texts (the Bhagavad Gita and the Ramayana), and major religious deities (Shiva, Devi and Vishnu). The course will also cover contemporary Hindu-Muslim encounters, and the emerging shape of Hinduism in the American diaspora. 3 hrs. lect./disc. AAL PHL SOA

Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019

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RELI 0243 - Hindu Ethics      

Hindu Ethics AT, ET
What constitutes the good life? How is morality established? Who are the arbiters of virtuous conduct? Such questions will guide us as we probe the complexities of ethics in Hindu religious life. We will identify how such notions as dharma, caste, karma, moks?a, purity, and nonviolence have shaped the development of Hindu moral consciousness. We will do so through readings of orthodox Hindu ethical texts (dharma sastra), ethnographic explorations of moral identity, considerations of holistic medicine (Ayurveda), theological visions of protecting the environment, and modern reform movements headed by Gandhi and Ambedkar. With increased sensitivity we will more deeply understand Hindu moral identities while considering our own ethical determinations. 3 hrs. lect./disc. AAL PHL SOA

Spring 2017, Spring 2018

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RELI 0248 - Religion & Class in South Asia      

Religion and Class in South Asia
In this course we will examine the shifting religious landscapes of South Asia in relationship to “new middle classes” in Nepal, India, and Pakistan. We will begin by defining class in contemporary South Asia and then consider ethnographic examples of how class is reshaping religious communities, identities, values, and practices among Hindus and Muslims. Special attention will be given to shifts in practices related to gender and caste, media (television, film, and comic books), fashion, food, and leisure in order to expand our definitions of what “counts” as religion in the modern world. 3 hrs. lect. AAL CW PHL SOA SOC

Spring 2018

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RELI 0254 - Islam in South Asia      

Islam and Hinduism in South Asia
Islam has played a significant role in shaping the culture and politics of South Asia, from the seventh century to the present. In this course we will consider the historical, socio-cultural, religious, and political impact of Islam in South Asia. We will begin with the introduction of Islam into the South Asian landscape, covering a range of historical moments, including the Delhi Sultanate, the rise of Mughal rule, colonial interactions, and the development of new nation states. We will then examine Islam as it is lived, practiced, and experienced in contemporary South Asia, focusing on themes such as mysticism and sainthood; issues of gender; and Hindu-Muslim encounters. 3 hrs. lect./disc. AAL HIS PHL

Spring 2017

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RELI 0384 / GSFS 0384 / SOAN 0384 - Women, Religion, & Ethnograpy      

Women, Religion, and Ethnography
In this course we will focus on ethnographic scholarship regarding women in various religious traditions. We will begin with questions of feminist ethnography as proposed by Lila Abu-Lughod and then read a range of ethnographies focusing on women in different contexts, including a female Muslim healer in South India, Kalasha women in Pakistan, Bedouin Muslim women in Egypt, and Catholic nuns in Mexico. We will focus on how gendered and religious identities are constructed and intertwined, and what ethnography contributes to the study of both religion and gender. A prior course in Religion, Anthropology, or Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies is recommended. 3 hrs. sem. (National/Transnational Feminisms) AAL CMP PHL

Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Spring 2019, Fall 2019

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RELI 0400 - Seminar: Study of Religion      

Understanding Religion: Foundational Theories and Methods
In this seminar we will examine the genesis of the academic study of religion in the modern world by reading seminal texts of such founding thinkers as: Durkheim, Weber, James, Freud, Jung, and Eliade. We will analyze these and more recent theories and methods in the sociological, psychological, and comparative study of religion, discerning their assumptions and implications, strengths and weaknesses, and utilizing them in focused written assignments. We end with the study of text-critical methods, interpreting the Garden of Eden story from multiple perspectives. Open to juniors and seniors who have had two religion courses or by waiver. 3 hrs. sem.

Fall 2018

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RELI 0500 - Independent Research      

Independent Research
(Approval Required)

Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020

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RELI 0700 - Senior Project in Religion      

Senior Project
(Approval Required)

Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020

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RELI 0701 - Senior Thesis in Religion      

Senior Research for Honors Candidates
Approval required

Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020

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RELI 1076 - Religion and Food      

Religion and Food
This course will examine religion and the construction of religious identity, morality, and community through food and cooking practices. We will consider how “rules” about what, where, when, and with whom one can or cannot eat not only shape the values of particular religious traditions, but also how they inform our very sense of what “counts” as religious. We will engage with practices from a variety of the world’s religious traditions and students will conduct independent research about specific practices of their own choosing in any tradition. CMP PHL WTR

Winter 2019

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Program in International and Global Studies

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