English 24

Freshman Seminar: Cults in Popular Culture

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
4 Fall 2021 Saha, Poulomi
Tuesday 1-2 247 Dwinelle

Other Readings and Media






We are fascinated by cults. What is it about communities and groups that promise total belief and total enthrallment that so captures the imagination? This course will look at a range of representations of cults in popular culture--from the documentary "Wild Wild Country" to novels, journalistic exposés, and films--to consider what cults might tell us about society, politics, religion, and our sense of self.  This class hopes to invite students who are ready to be themselves fascinated, enthralled, and perhaps entranced. One of the tasks before us will be to learn how to think critically in the face of that fascination. Students will also be asked to be ready to work collaboratively with one another over the course of the semester, building their own intentional community of sorts.   This seminar is part of the Food for Thought Seminar Series. 


Poulomi Saha is Assistant Professor of English and author of "An Empire of Touch: Female Political Labor & the Fabrication of East Bengal." Affiliated faculty in the Program for Critical Theory, the Center for Race and Gender, and in the Designated Emphasis in Women and Gender Studies, she teaches courses in ethnic American literature, postcolonial studies, and gender and critical theory. Her research spans eastward and forward from the late nineteenth century decline of British colonial rule in the Indian Ocean through to the Pacific and the rise of American global power and domestic race relations in the twentieth. She is currently at work on a new book, "Fascination: America’s Hindu Cults," that looks to how Indian spirituality has long enthralled an American public imagination and fundamentally shaped its racial and spiritual self-conception. 

Faculty web site: https://www.poulomisaha.com


Other Recent Sections of This Course

Back to Semester List