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RE220 Study Guide - Final Guide: Amar Chitra Katha, Deepa Mehta, Axis Mundi

Religion & Culture
Course Code
Brent Hagerman
Study Guide

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RE220 Final Exam Review - Monday, April 22, 2013 @ 8:30 AM in N1001
Danielle Scarmato 110938660
Terms and Definitions
Amar Chitra Katha: Is one of India‘s largest selling comic book series, with more than 90 million
copies sold in 20 Indian languages (English language series came out in 1967).
―Immortal Picture Stories‖
Created by Anant Pai
Stories of gods and goddesses taken right out of a scared text
Marketed to Indian Middle Class
Mobile, urban, spoke English global outlook
Formed Indian diaspora that found jobs elsewhere
Connected back to religion with the Amar Chitra Katha
Related to the comic book series for the connection to Hinduism and their culture
American super hero characteristics are found in Indian comic books
o Example: Rama (extraordinary powers, god in human form, has an enemy, strong
moral code, secret identity)
o Meaningful narrative telling a Hindu myth
o Seeks to immortalize Hindu heroes
Apotheosis: is the glorification of a subject to divine level. The term has meanings in theology,
where it refers to a belief, and in art, where it refers to a genre.
In theology, the term apotheosis refers to the idea that an individual has been raised to godlike
― The taking from a culture that is not one‘s own of intellectual property, cultural
expressions or artifacts, history and ways of knowledge
Example: yoga- Hinduism context, secularized this in the West, no more religious
meaning, sports teams- use religious symbols
American Jesus: is fundamentalist, "badass", military, not feminine, not peace loving, and
Axis mundi
The connection between heaven and earth (could even be a hole in the wall)
o Centre of a community
o The center point
o Example: a church on the top of a hill would be an axis mundi
Imago Mundi: the idealize version of the world
o An image centered around the Axis mundi
o Symbolically wants to put the world in order
o Less important than the Axis Mundi
Beat Poets
Influenced by theosophists and Zen
The beats were disillusioned with the west and turned to eastern religions, most notably
Alan Ginsberg and Jack Keruoac

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Post war hipsters / Paved the way for hippies by embracing drugs, free love, etc.
Prototype for the counterculture
On a spiritual quest for a new consciousness
Think the western cultures and ideas are waste
Bhagavad Gita
Takes place on the battle field
Moral dilemma against cousins army
Duty to his family, feels that he has a duty to go to war against his cousin
This scripture contains a conversation b/w Pandava prince Arjuna and his guide Lord Krishna
o The same story of Bagger Vance who turns for council on the golf course
Bob Marley
Nine Miles
- Bob Marley‘s grave site in Jamaica
- More than a commemorative shrine for the family
- Set aside sacred space in time
- Site includes: house he grew up in, his mausoleum (housing the tomb), gift shop, restaurant
- Each threshold takes you further from the real world
Controversy over Mausoleum
- Wants to take his body to Ethiopia
- It was Bob Marley‘s wish to be in Ethiopia
- January 2005: Rita Marley announced hat she intended to move her late husband‘s remains from
his mausoleum in Jamaica to Ethiopia for his sixtieth birthday
- Wanted to be in Zion, his sacred space in Africa
Burning Man
Happens in the black rock desert in Nevada
Last Monday of August to the first Monday of September
Centers around a giant figure of a male made of wood
Lets of religious iconography
A giant nun confessional
A mirror with ―be your own messiah‖ written out on it
Sacred space is actively created at burning man
There is an element of pilgrimage
10 principles:
1) Radical Inclusion (strangers are allowed)
2) Gifting (give and don‘t expect to receive)
3) Decommodification
4) Radical Self-Reliance
5) Radical Sex-expression
6) Communal effort
7) Civic responsibility
8) Leaving no trace
9) Participation
10) Immediacy

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Christotainment: Promoting Christianity via entertainment pop culture mediums. Eg.. Holyland
Experience, Jesus in Pop Culture (king of kings, Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus Christ super star...etc)
Civil religion:
Robert Bellah well known for theorizing civil religion
―The set of religious or quasi-religious beliefs, myths, symbols, and ceremonies that
unite a political community and that mobilizes its members in the pursuit of common
Is a mixing of religious piety with nationalism and patriotism
Not connected to constitutional religion
Can be considered as the political religion
1) Use of popular culture marketplace to market religion
2) Religion as a commodity in the ―religious marketplace‖
3) Disneyfication
- Making an item into a commodity (commodity=a marketable item)
- Example: the Virgin Mary‘s image has been tattooed on arms and sold on t-shirts
Counterculture: a way of life and set of attitudes opposed to or at variance with the prevailing
social norm
Wants to deviate from mainstream society
Deepa Mehta
- Indian-born Canadian film director and screenwriter
- Elements Trilogy: fire, earth, water
- Attempts to depict reality in film
- Themes: domestic and religious violence, political upheaval, religious fundamentalism
- Mehta‘s critique of pop culture representations of India: conceptions that prevail in the west
about India
- 1. Spiritual India- go and find nirvana
- 2. Conception that India is entirely poverty stricken with a permanent kind of begging bowl
- India brings specifically fixed images in many western minds
- When u stat de-eroticizing that, you have to deal with Indians as real people, there is pressure
not to do that
- Slum dog millionaire: poverty stricken, slum of India, massive ghetto, garbage, puts us in the
mind set that India is bad off
- Quick image to set up the plot
- Little Buddha: spiritual wonderland, mystical place
Dharma ―to hold things together‖
Your religious duty
o Your responsibilities (example: Your Dharma to your family would be taking
care of your parents when they grow old, just as they took care of you
One true path in life
o Hinduism believes that everyone has one true path in life and you have to find it
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