Courses for Fall 2014

  • Love: The Concept and Practice

    A study of love (in classical and modern texts and in film) that provides a window into a host of religious, philosophical, and ethical issues. Topics include the potential conflict between divine and human love, between transcendent and earthly love, and the nature of friendship, romance, marriage, and love at the crossroads. Although the scope is love in the West, the Kamasutra and other texts furnish a comparative component. LILE
    RELS 0050 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Cladis
  • Believers, Agnostics, and Atheists in Contemporary Fiction (JUDS 0050A)

    Interested students must register for JUDS 0050A (CRN 15093).
  • Radical Romantics: Politics, Ecology, and Religion

    We will endeavor to create an intimate community of learning as we jointly explore political, environmental, and religious aspects of Romanticism (especially British Romanticism). It has become commonplace to think of Romanticism as nostalgic notions of the pastoral or narcissistic reports of the individual’s private gaze on the sublime. In contrast to this approach, we will focus on the radical political and environmental perspectives embedded within Romantic religious and poetic sensibilities. In the process, we will reflect on how this Romantic heritage can serve as a contemporary public resource for the cultivation of interrelated environmental and democratic beliefs and practices. FYS WRIT LILE
    RELS 0090I S01
    Primary Instructor
    Cladis
  • The Classical Chinese Philosophy of Life

    An introduction to the origins and early development of the indigenous religious thought of China from the oracle bone divination of the Shang Dynasty to the ethical philosophy of Confucianism and the cosmology and mysticism of Daoism. The course will seek to identify and elucidate the basic elements of the distinctive Chinese world view and demonstrate how they have shaped the nature of religious practice and experience and how they have been shaped by them. Works of interpretive scholarship will be used to supplement the primary texts in translation that will form the course. Optional lab section.
    RELS 0120 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Roth
    RELS 0120 C01
    Primary Instructor
    Roth
    Schedule Code
    C: Conference
  • Religions of Classical India

    After a brief look at our earliest evidence, we focus on the three most prominent Hindu goals during the last two millenia- enlightenment, righteous action, and loving, often passionate devotion-and the variety of practices undertaken to realize them. These include study, meditation, music, drama, image worship, asceticism, and nonviolence. Attention to issues of gender, caste, and untouchability. DPLL LILE
  • Islam Unveiled

    In this course, the historical origins and development of Islam will be studied in light of the sources and communities that shaped it. Themes to be explored include the central doctrines of Islam as derived from the Qur'an and traditions (sunna), the development of Islamic law (shari'ah) the Shi'i alternative, the growth of Muslim theology, philosophy, and mysticism (Sufism), and controversial issues among contemporary Muslims. WRIT DPLL LILE
    RELS 0150 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Khalek
  • Christianity and Economic Inequality

    In the face of the vast, increasing economic inequality, this sophomore seminar interrogates the role of religious institutions and individuals. Do our religious institutions sustain or challenge economic inequality, and how? We will attempt to answer this question with a focus on three types of texts: classical texts that shaped 20th Century U.S. Christian consciousness (e.g., Weber, Niebuhr, and Ayn Rand); contemporary works that analyze the effects of economic inequality on the social fabric (e.g., Stiglitz, Freeland, Wilkinson/Picket); and texts that clarify the vital roles some contemporary religious movements are playing in supporting economic inequality (e.g.,Bowler, Walton, Byrne).
    RELS 0200A S01
    Primary Instructor
    Willis
  • The Bible as Literature (JUDS 0830)

    Interested students must register for JUDS 0830 (CRN 15097).
  • New Testament and the Beginnings of Christianity

    How and why Christianity emerged in various forms in the ancient Mediterranean. Insights from religious studies, gender studies, literary studies, anthropology, and other fields. Careful critical readings of New Testament books, non-canonical gospels, early Christian letters, ancient apocalypses. Topics include: Jewish contexts; representations of Jesus; Paul and early communities; Christians and imperial Rome; gender constructions; canonization; eventual separation of Christianity and Judaism. Open to all students. LILE WRIT
    RELS 0400 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Denzey
  • The Theory and Practice of Buddhist Meditation

    Examines the theory and practice of Buddhist meditation in historical and modern contexts. Traces this practice from its origins in 6th-century B.C.E. India to its transmission to China, Korea, and Japan. Studies selected normative texts and explore how Buddhist meditation is practiced today in each of these regions, both as an individual practice and as part of a monastic regimen. Meditation lab related to weekly seminar. Prerequisite: Preference given to students who have taken one or more of the following courses: RELS 0040; UNIV 0540; RELS 0100; RELS 0911; RELS 1430; RELS 1440.
    RELS 0500 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Roth
    RELS 0500 L01
    Primary Instructor
    Roth
    Schedule Code
    L: Lab
  • Foundational Texts in African American Theology

    Central topics and foundational texts in the field of scholarship historically known as Black Theology. Major African American responses to those writings by Marxists, Womanists, process theologians, and religious humanists. DPLL LILE
    RELS 0825 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Willis
  • Religion, Reason, and Ethics from Kant to Nietzsche

    The nineteenth century witnessed revolutionary transformations in thinking about the power and limits of human reason, the relation between reason and religion, revelation, the role of humanity in creating religion, morality and religion, the significance of history, and the plurality of religions. This course examines major thinkers from this period who continue to shape our own assumptions and reflection. WRIT LILE
    RELS 0830 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Lewis
  • Religious Freedom in America

    "Religious freedom," former Secretary Hilary Rodham Clinton remarked in 2009, "provides a cornerstone for every healthy society." It is, Clinton continued, "a founding principle of our nation." As Clinton's remarks illustrate, the concept of religious freedom is central to how people perceive the history of the United States and its position in the world today. But what is religious freedom? Does it actually exist? Has it ever? This seminar invites students to ask and answer these and other questions about the contested concept, engaging such varied issues as race, secularism, law, media, money, pluralism, and foreign policy.
    RELS 0845 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Vaca
  • Methods in Religious Studies

    Intensive introduction to classical and contemporary theories of religion and the principal methods for the study of religion. Junior seminar for religious studies concentrators. Enrollment limited to 25. WRIT LILE
  • Japanese Religious Traditions

    An introduction to the history of Japanese religion in the early and medieval periods, with some attention to related modern and contemporary manifestations. Emphasis on the development of both native practices ("Shinto") and Buddhism, and on the historical interaction between them. Readings include primary texts in translation and selected modern interpretations. A previous course in Asian religion or culture is recommended but not required.
    RELS 1190 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Sawada
  • Educating Bodies in Ancient Christianity

    Education in the ancient Mediterranean world served multiple purposes. It formed citizens, moral and ethical agency, and religious identities. It took place in a variety of settings and through diverse disciplinary methods, physical, intellectual, and social. This course will examine the primary modes of instruction through which ancient Christians undertook self-formation: the family, the civic community, monasteries, and liturgical communities. Seminar. Prior coursework in early Christianity (RELS 0400 or 0410) or Classics recommended. WRIT LILE DPLL
    RELS 1325A S01
    Primary Instructor
    Harvey
  • Christian-Muslim Relations in the Middle Ages (HIST 1970N)

    Interested students must register for HIST 1970N (CRN 16026).
  • Religion and Visual Culture

    This course examines questions of representation and image through the lens of religion and secularism. Art is often imagined as the replacement for religion in a secular age, with the museum serving as a site of reverence and awe. With the rise of modern and contemporary art, however, the coherence of the social value of the “aesthetic” has, like that of religion, faltered. This course is offered in connection with a project entitled “The Art of Invisibility.” The key assignment will be the production of an online catalogue to accompany an art exhibit, which will include works by RISD students.
    RELS 1725 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Oliphant
  • Individual Study Project

    Directed reading and research arranged with individual faculty. Section numbers vary by instructor. Please check Banner for the correct section number and CRN to use when registering for this course.
    RELS 1990 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Willis
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S02
    Primary Instructor
    Cladis
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S03
    Primary Instructor
    Lewis
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S04
    Primary Instructor
    Khalek
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S05
    Primary Instructor
    Harvey
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S06
    Primary Instructor
    Kraemer
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S07
    Primary Instructor
    Olyan
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S08
    Primary Instructor
    Sawada
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S09
    Primary Instructor
    Roth
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S10
    Primary Instructor
    Satlow
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S11
    Primary Instructor
    Stowers
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S12
    Primary Instructor
    Bush
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S13
    Primary Instructor
    Schopen
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S14
    Primary Instructor
    Denzey
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
  • Thesis Preparation

    Required of seniors in the honors program. Open to others only by permission of the chair of the department. Section numbers vary by instructor. Please check Banner for the correct section number and CRN to use when registering for this course.
    RELS 1999 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Willis
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S02
    Primary Instructor
    Cladis
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S03
    Primary Instructor
    Lewis
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S04
    Primary Instructor
    Khalek
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S05
    Primary Instructor
    Harvey
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S06
    Primary Instructor
    Kraemer
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S07
    Primary Instructor
    Olyan
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S08
    Primary Instructor
    Sawada
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S09
    Primary Instructor
    Roth
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S10
    Primary Instructor
    Satlow
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S11
    Primary Instructor
    Stowers
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S12
    Primary Instructor
    Bush
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S13
    Primary Instructor
    Schopen
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S14
    Primary Instructor
    Denzey
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S15
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
  • Religion, Race, and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean

    An examination of the categories of race, religion, and ethnicity among Greeks, Romans, Jews, and Christians in antiquity. How did they use (or not) these different modes of identity?
    RELS 2011 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Satlow
  • Literature of the Early Second Temple Period

    A close reading of selections from surviving literary texts of the late sixth century (e.g., Isaiah 56-66, Zechariah 1-8, Haggai) and and the fifth century (Ezra-Nehemiah, Malachi). Prerequisite: An advanced knowledge of biblical Hebrew and permission of the instructor.
    RELS 2100E S01
    Primary Instructor
    Olyan
  • Akkadian Literary and Religious Texts (AWAS 2400)

    Interested students must register for AWAS 2400 (CRN 15237).
  • Lived Religion in the High Empire and Late Antiquity

    This graduate course will use the theoretical work of Robert Orsi and Michel de Certeau to recover aspects of "lived" or "quotidian" religious experience in the High Roman Empire and Late Antiquity, particularly (but not exclusively) in the city of Rome. We will use as our data set not only textual sources in the original language and translation, but also elements of material culture (amulets, pyxides, reliquaries, crepundia, textiles, sortes, etc.), funerary epigraphy, and papyri.
    RELS 2200R S01
    Primary Instructor
    Denzey
  • Preliminary Examination Preparation

    For graduate students who have met the tuition requirement and are paying the registration fee to continue active enrollment while preparing for preliminary examinations.
    RELS 2890 S01
    Schedule Code
    E: Grad Enrollment Fee/Dist Prep
  • Independent Research

    The staff is willing to offer independent reading courses in selected areas. See the Instructor for more information. Please check Banner for the correct section number and CRN to use when registering.
    RELS 2910 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Willis
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S02
    Primary Instructor
    Cladis
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S03
    Primary Instructor
    Lewis
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S04
    Primary Instructor
    Khalek
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S05
    Primary Instructor
    Harvey
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S06
    Primary Instructor
    Kraemer
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S07
    Primary Instructor
    Olyan
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S08
    Primary Instructor
    Sawada
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S09
    Primary Instructor
    Roth
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S10
    Primary Instructor
    Satlow
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S11
    Primary Instructor
    Vaca
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S12
    Primary Instructor
    Bush
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S13
    Primary Instructor
    Schopen
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S14
    Primary Instructor
    Denzey
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
  • Thesis Preparation

    For graduate students who have met the tuition requirement and are paying the registration fee to continue active enrollment while preparing a thesis.
    RELS 2990 S01
    Schedule Code
    E: Grad Enrollment Fee/Dist Prep