Courses for Fall 2015

  • Wealth: Religious Approaches

    This course will survey religious approaches to the acquisition and use of wealth: How do religious thinkers understand the notion of ownership and private property? Is the fact of ownership of significant possessions seen as a moral good or an impediment to the spiritual life? Are there better or worse ways to acquire wealth? To spend it? The course will focus primarily on Judaism and Christianity, although examples from Islam and perhaps eastern religions will be brought in as appropriate. Topics to be covered will include religious understandings of poverty, charity, finance, and the link between religion and capitalism. DPLL LILE WRIT
    RELS 0025 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Harvey
  • Modern Problems of Belief

    Some say it is impossible to be both a modern person and a religious person. What are the assumptions behind this claim? And what is it about the modern (or postmodern) era that, according to some, has made religion difficult to believe in? These questions will be discussed as we explore the ways religion has been understood in Western culture from the Enlightenment to the present. We will read such influential thinkers as Hume, Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Durkheim, Buber, and Woody Allen. Each figure has left a decisive mark on the way we think about religion. LILE
    RELS 0055 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Cladis
  • Death and Afterlife in the Biblical Tradition

    A close analysis of the development of ideas about death and the afterlife in the Hebrew Bible and in the literatures of Second Temple Judaism and early Christianity. Topics: life and death in Israel and ancient West Asia; the abode of the dead and its denizens; from Sheol to Heaven, Hell, and the final judgment; religious specialists, rituals, and the literature of death: necromancy; burial and mourning rites; cults of the dead ancestor. No prerequisites. Enrollment limited to 20 first year students. FYS LILE WRIT
    RELS 0090J S01
    Primary Instructor
    Olyan
  • Christmas in America

    This course explores how Christmas became a religious, consumer, and social extravaganza. Every year, many Americans devote several months to preparing for and recovering from Christmas. Most participate as Christians, but others participate despite other religious identities. Yet Christmas has not always loomed so large. Through encounters with such phenomena as sacred stories, consumer practices, and legal controversies, this course invites students to ask how and why Christmas became an important event. By the end of the course, students not only will recognize how religion and culture take shape together but also will appreciate how popular practices develop. FYS LILE WRIT
    RELS 0090K S01
    Primary Instructor
    Vaca
  • Japan: Nature, Ritual, and the Arts (EAST 0180)

    Interested students must register for EAST 0180 (CRN 14994).
  • Engaged Buddhism

    “Engaged Buddhism” is a term used to describe social activism that applies Buddhist insight and ethics. This course will examine the historical background of engaged Buddhism, explore its central concepts, analyze it theoretically, and look at practical applications. Since many engaged Buddhist movements employ meditation, we will also study, first hand, the effects of meditation on prosocial attitudes in the “Meditation Labs” that are integral to the pedagogy of the course. Pre-requisites: RELS 0500, UNIV 0540. Or permission of instructor. Preference given to students with prior coursework in Buddhism. Meditation Labs MWF at 9 AM; Weekly Seminar. LILE
    RELS 0290E S01
    Primary Instructor
    Roth
    RELS 0290E L01
    Primary Instructor
    Roth
    Schedule Code
    L: Lab
  • Great Jewish Books (JUDS 0681)

    Interested students must register for JUDS 0681 (CRN 15078).
  • God and Poetry (JUDS 0820)

    Interested students must register for JUDS 0820 (CRN 14677).
  • Jesus and the Gospels

    This course will investigate the history and development of the earliest accounts of Jesus' life and teachings. We will analyze a number of first and second century gospels, including canonical texts and non-canonical. We will examine what the early Jesus movement offered socially and ethically that other religious systems did not, which made it appealing to women, slaves, and those of lower classes. Through a close reading of the individual texts, we will be able to understand their structure, major themes, and historical-cultural backgrounds, as well as the practices, beliefs, and experiences of the communities that produced them. LILE WRIT
    RELS 0405 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Desrosiers
  • The World of Byzantium (CLAS 0660)

    Interested students must register for CLAS 0660 (CRN 15929).
  • Experiencing the Sacred: Embodiment and Aesthetics in South Asian Religions

    This course explores South Asian religions through the body, aesthetics, and the senses, with a focus on Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions. Concentrating on embodied practices like meditation, chanting, eating, sex, asceticism, ritual, possession, and performance, we will examine experiences of the sacred past and present. How have sensory and material cultures shaped lives, practices, and doctrines? What placed does the pursuit (or denial) of sensual pleasure have in South Asian religious cultures? This course will draw on texts as various as sermons of the Buddha and the Kamasutra, and integrating a range of media from ethnographic films to graphic novels. DPLL LILE
    RELS 0580 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Moore-Gerety
  • Islam in America

    Lupe Fiasco, the Al-Jazeera News Network, and Mos Def: from films to fiction, poetry and music, contemporary Islam is having an impact on modern culture in unprecedented ways. Islam is often said to be the fastest growing religion in America, and in this class we will study the contemporary life, culture and thought of Muslims in the US. We will begin with exploring Muslims in the US from its beginnings, as a result of the Atlantic slave trade, through the civil rights movement and the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X and mainstream Sunnis, and conclude with the multicultural present. DPLL LILE WRIT
    RELS 0600B S01
    Primary Instructor
    Khalek
  • 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. DPLL LILE WRIT
    RELS 0845 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Vaca
  • Difficult Relations? Judaism and Christianity from the Middle Ages until the Present (JUDS 0050M)

    Interested students must register for JUDS 0050M (CRN 15077).
  • Epics of India (CLAS 0820)

    Interested students must register for CLAS 0820 (CRN 15925).
  • 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
  • Ancient Christianity and the Sensing Body

    Bodily experience and sensory engagement became increasingly important for Christians during their first six centuries. This seminar examines how and why the body and its senses gained worth for ancient Christians as instruments for gaining knowledge of God. Prerequisites: RELS 0110, 0400 or 0410. WRIT
    RELS 1300 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Harvey
  • Themes in Japanese Buddhism

    An exploration of critical themes and debates in the study of Japanese Buddhism. Participants become conversant with the key features of medieval Japanese thought as well as the strengths and weaknesses of established conceptual models in Japanese Buddhist studies. Readings include primary texts in English translation and modern secondary interpretations. Recommended: a course in Buddhism or East Asian religions. DPLL LILE
    RELS 1440 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Sawada
  • Islamic Sectarianism

    Sunni and Shi'i conflict and sectarian division have been an enduring issue in the Islamic world. From Iraq to Syria, Iran to Egypt, inter-Muslim conflict and conflicting ideologies seem to be central issues. But how accurate and historical is this impression? In this course, we examine the origins and evolution of Islamic sectarianism, with an emphasis on the politics of religious authority in the Islamic world, old and new. This is an upper level seminar, and juniors and seniors will be given preference for enrollment. Shoppers must attend the first day of class if they wish to enroll. DPLL LILE
    RELS 1530D S01
    Primary Instructor
    Khalek
  • Prophets and Priests in Exile: Biblical Literature of the 6th Century BCE (JUDS 1690)

    Interested students must register for JUDS 1690 (CRN 15654).
  • Pragmatism, Religion, and Politics

    Pragmatism is a distinctive American school of thought that sees the goal of philosophy not as the apprehension of timeless truths but as a practical project of bettering individual lives and society. Pragmatists such as William James and John Dewey were devoted to deepening America's commitment to democracy. Both saw an important place for an unconventional sort of religion in democratic life. This course explores the pragmatist thought of James, Dewey, and others, looking especially at their views on religion and politics. We also will explore the influence of pragmatism on Barack Obama. Enrollment limited to 20 juniors and seniors.
    RELS 1830A S01
    Primary Instructor
    Bush
  • 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
    Vaca
    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
    Oliphant
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S12
    Primary Instructor
    Bush
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S13
    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
    Vaca
    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
    Oliphant
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S12
    Primary Instructor
    Bush
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S13
    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
  • Theory of Religion

    Critical examination of major approaches to the study of religion, especially those of the anthropology and the history of religions, with attention to issues in current debate.
    RELS 2000 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Bush
  • Targumic Aramaic

    Introduction to Targumic Aramaic grammar with readings from Targum Ongelos. Assumes knowledge of Hebrew.
    RELS 2150 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Allgood
  • Chinese Bibliography and Reference Resources

    This graduate seminar provides an introduction to major resources and research methods in traditional and modern Chinese scholarship. Each session contains lecture and workshop on topics to explore. Students will learn how to use various bibliographies and reference tools to locate information and materials they need. They will also learn how to navigate library catalogs, special collections, databases and the Internet on Chinese scholarly resources. The final project is to let each student compile a bibliography on her/his own research topic. This course will be especially helpful for graduate students who are engaged in writing theses on Chinese studies.
    RELS 2300C S01
    Primary Instructor
    Wang
  • Gender and Relation in Religious Thought

    Gender has often been posed as the fundamental distinction of the human condition, creating the original opportunity for relation across that distinction. In some strands of religious thought, this distinction comes second to the creation of the world distinct from the divine. Religious and secular thinkers have turned to ordinary experiences of interpersonal relations for insight into these purportedly more fundamental relations and the connection between them. This seminar examines the role of interpersonal relationships in recent religious, ethical, and political thought, with particular attention to the way they bring gender and sexual desire more centrally into view.
  • 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
    Oliphant
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S12
    Primary Instructor
    Bush
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S13
    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