Courses for Fall 2021

  • 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
    Nahme
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S12
    Primary Instructor
    Bush
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S13
    Primary Instructor
    Bashir
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S14
    Primary Instructor
    Protass
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S15
    Primary Instructor
    Han
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1990 S16
    Primary Instructor
    Barron
    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
    Nahme
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S12
    Primary Instructor
    Bush
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S13
    Primary Instructor
    Bashir
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S14
    Primary Instructor
    Protass
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S15
    Primary Instructor
    Han
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 1999 S16
    Primary Instructor
    Berman
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
  • 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
    Vaca
    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
    Nahme
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S12
    Primary Instructor
    Bush
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S13
    Primary Instructor
    Bashir
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S14
    Primary Instructor
    Protass
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    RELS 2910 S15
    Primary Instructor
    Berman
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
  • 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: Graduate Thesis Prep
  • Thesis Preparation

    For graduate students who have met the residency requirement and are continuing research on a full time basis.
    RELS 2990 S01
    Schedule Code
    E: Graduate Thesis Prep
  • Love and War in India

    Love and War in India explores two fundamental cultural tropes that have significantly shaped the religious, literary, social and political life of South Asia. Building on the ancient Tamil conceptions of aham (love/interiority) and puram (war/exteriority), and the Sanskrit ideas of kama (desire), dharma (duty) and ahimsa (non-violence) we will investigate a variety of texts on religious devotion, ethical behavior and political theory in order to contextualize the concepts of love and war within multiple arenas of Indian social and cultural life.
    RELS 0036 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Reddy
  • Buddhism and Death

    Death is universal but seldom discussed in contemporary culture. In this class we will address how the varieties of Buddhist religion represent and understand dying, death, and the afterlife. Using images, films, and texts, we will ask, How should we die? How does death influence the living? Is there an afterlife? What should be done with dead bodies? The class will move between theories and practices, and past and current events. Coming to terms with these diverse materials may reveal to us some of our own assumptions about death, dying, and the afterlife.
    RELS 0045 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Protass
  • Japan: Nature, Ritual and the Arts

    This course is an introduction to Japanese cultural and aesthetic traditions as represented in literature, the fine arts, gardening, tea practice, and selected martial arts. Readings include translations of classic Japanese works of literature and aesthetic theory, as well as modern interpretive and historical scholarship. Audiovisual materials are used to supplement the readings whenever feasible. Students who have no previous exposure to Japanese studies are welcome; there are no prerequisites. The format of the course is a combination of lecture and discussion.
    RELS 0080 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Sawada
  • 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.
    RELS 0090K S01
    Primary Instructor
    Vaca
  • Your Moment of Zen

    The popular program “The Daily Show” always ends with this video moment. But what does “Zen” really mean and how did it come into the modern cultural landscape? We explore the Zen traditions of East Asia and trace their transmission to the West through a study of their writings and practices. From the arrival of Zen master Shaku Sōen Kogaku at the Parliament of World Religions in 1893, through the writings of D.T. Suzuki, to the Beat Zen of the 1950’s and the establishment of centers of Zen practice, we will help you to appreciate your own “moments of Zen."
    RELS 0125 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Roth
    RELS 0125 L01
    Primary Instructor
    Roth
    Schedule Code
    L: Lab
  • Tai Chi, Qigong, and Traditions of Energy Cultivation in China

    In recent years Taijiquan (Tai Chi) and Qigong have become increasingly popular forms of exercise, alternative medicine and contemplative practice. This course aims to provide students with a foundation for understanding these practices through an exploration of their roots in Chinese medicine, philosophy and religion, as well as their more recent history in modern China and the rest of the world. In addition to studying historical and scholarly interpretations of these practices, students will also have the opportunity to learn basic Qigong and Taijiquan in weekly labs.
    RELS 0520 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Difiori
    RELS 0520 L01
    Primary Instructor
    Difiori
    Schedule Code
    L: Lab
  • Law and Religion

    In our arguably “post-secular” age, conflicts over the relationship between religion and law have again moved to the forefront of international debate. In a multicultural and globalized world, such conflicts often provoke contestation over the very possibility of universal definitions of either “religion” or “law,” let alone their proper relationship. Our interdisciplinary inquiries on these questions will include concrete legal disputes in domestic and international courts; theoretical debates over the construction of “religion” in fields such as anthropology, religious studies, and philosophy; and historiographical controversies about the relationship between “secularization” and sovereignty, particularly in light of the legacy of colonialism.
    RELS 0750 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Berman
  • 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.
    RELS 1000 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Bush
  • The Virgin Mary in Christian Tradition

    Who was the Virgin Mary? How did she become important, when and to whom? What was inherited? What was new? How were Mary’s meanings demonstrated? A study in the developing theological and devotional traditions regarding Mary the Mother of Jesus, focused on the first thousand years of Christian history. Major theological positions; relationship to pre-existing religious practices and goddess traditions; the role of popular violence; Marian piety; Marian relics; Mary as cultural metaphor. Seminar format.
    RELS 1325C S01
    Primary Instructor
    Harvey
  • 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
    Lewis
  • Seminar in Biblical Studies: Ugaritic

    Survey of Ugaritic grammar followed by readings in mythic and epic literature (e.g. the Baal Cycle, Kirta, Aqhat) and ritual texts. Prerequisite: Knowledge of the grammar of one Semitic language. Open to graduate students only.
    RELS 2100F S01
    Primary Instructor
    Olyan
  • Contemplation and Social Action

    The spiritual path is often called an inward journey. Practices like contemplation, renunciation, meditation and seclusion are often experienced in isolation with the mind drawn towards the self. This may seem counterproductive to social action, almost selfish, but exemplary spiritual aspirants from across time and space have demonstrated how contemplation can be a powerful medium of social change. By exploring key historical movements (Indian Independence, Abolitionism, Civil Rights) and transformational figures who have embodied the ideals of engaged contemplation (Gautama Buddha, Mohandas K. Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama), this course seeks to elucidate relevant ways in which contemplative philosophies and practices can challenge, critique, and ultimately transform the world in which we live by way of peaceful, inclusive and socially engaged means.
    RELS 0560 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Reddy
  • Professionalization Seminar

    In addition to acquiring and practicing the arts of scholarship, teaching, and service, graduate students need to learn how to relate to colleagues, apply and interview for jobs, and submit proposals to conferences and publishers. The details of these processes are often mysterious, even to the initiated. The purpose of this seminar is to explore these various features of academia and graduate studies in a well informed manner. It is intended for fourth-year doctoral students in the Department of Religious Studies. Instructor permission required.
    RELS 2460 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Bush
  • Sufi Islam

    A historically oriented survey of mystical philosophies and social practices associated with Sufi Islam. We will concentrate on three areas: (1) Concepts and practices going back to the earliest men and women identifiable as Sufis; (2) Prose and poetry of two medieval masters—Ibn al-ʿArabi (d. 1240) and Jalaloddin Rumi (d. 1274)—who have had long-lasting influence on Sufi thought; and (3) Sufi social practices as seen in the history and ethnography of societies in Asia and Africa. The course will pay special attention to the way Sufis have addressed aesthetic, ethical, and existential issues faced by human beings.
    RELS 0610 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Bashir
  • Sacred Stories

    What do stories do? How do stories underlie who we are, where we are, or why our world is as it is? Ancient religious stories have been formative for western culture in all its expressions, lasting into our modern, secularized times. They underlie how we think about life, death, suffering, or joy. They sustain foundational categories of power, gender, sexuality, race and class. How do they work? This course will examine narrativity – the telling, sharing, and contesting of stories – as a means for constructing and maintaining religious identity, community, and world view. Jewish, Christian, and Muslim materials. Mini-lectures; in-class discussion.
    RELS 0015 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Harvey
  • Senior Capstone Seminar

    This course is a culminating experience for the Religious Studies concentration. While introductory gateway courses introduced concentrators to the discipline and upper-level courses examined particular topics or methodologies, this capstone seminar provides concentrators with an opportunity to synthesize what they have learned, while also delving more deeply into the themes and topics that they find most central to their own interests. Thesis writers receive support including small group interaction and supportive criticism. Non-thesis writers create a capstone portfolio over the course of the semester. Through activities and guest presentations, all concentrators will connect their studies to their future goals.
    RELS 1995 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Vaca
  • Islamic Sexualities

    In this course we examine gender and sexuality in Muslim cultures, as well the ways in which Islam is imagined in relationship to gender and sexuality. We will think about how particular constructions of gender and sexuality affect the representation of Islam and Muslims in the US and abroad, especially in films and documentaries, which form a critical component of this course. Students will learn to engage with and complicate key terms and themes including "masculinity," "cultural difference," "women's and LGBT rights," and "modernity/civilization" that are widely, and often uncritically, deployed in current representations of Islamic culture.
    RELS 0290D S01
    Primary Instructor
    Khalek
  • The History of Emotions and the Study of Islam

    In this course we will read seminal works and theories on the history of emotions, with special focus on emotions and religion. Once we have worked through this material, both theoretical and historical, we will turn to the relatively smaller body of scholarship on the history of emotion and the Islamic world. It is in the latter portion of the semester that students will engage in the study of primary sources, which may be chosen in accordance with the language skills and research interests of the members of the seminar.
    RELS 1530G S01
    Primary Instructor
    Khalek
  • Great Authors and Works of Italian Renaissance (ITAL 1320)

  • Religion, Race, Gender and Ecology: Ecowomanism 101

    Ecowomanism is an approach to environmental ethics that centers the perspectives, theo-ethical analysis, and life experiences of women of color - specifically women of African descent. It centers discourse in religion and ecology and builds upon theoretical frameworks and faith inspired activist oriented practices that help us face climate change. As a learning community we will engage interdisciplinary methods and womanist approaches that feature intersectional race-class-gender and anti-oppression forms of analysis as we examine links between oppressions suffered by women across the globe and oppressions suffered by the earth.
    RELS 2600H S01
    Primary Instructor
    Harris
  • 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.
    RELS 0825 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Willis
  • David Hume and Religion

    This course will consider and challenge traditional scholarly views of philosopher David Hume as a critic of Christianity, by examining a wide range of his writings (letters, historical writings, moral enquiries, philosophical and religious writings). How might his corpus inform work in philosophy of religion? Previous coursework in philosophy or philosophy of religion strongly advised. Enrollment limited to 20.
    RELS 1370C S01
    Primary Instructor
    Willis
  • Experiencing Powerlessness, Power, and Religion in the Ancient World

    We often speak of power and powerlessness but how are these things experienced? By what means can we say someone experiences power? What are the nuances of that experience? Is powerlessness merely a lack of something or does the experience of powerlessness have a more complex interaction with its subjects? In this class we will be investigating the effects of experiencing power and powerlessness in the context of religion in the ancient world. We will be analyzing the means by which people acted upon others and the ways in which those actions affected both themselves and their subjects.
    RELS 0052 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Walker
  • Food, Religion and Politics in South Asia

    Why study food? What can food tell us about religion, politics, and culture? Food in South Asia often shapes identity, social status, ritual purity, religious belonging, and political activism—the notion that you are what you eat has wide currency. Whatever form it takes, food embodies histories of migration, trade, empire, colonialism, and ethics. Through reading primary texts and ethnographic articles, watching films, and (of course) eating delicious food, we will explore the rich foodways of South Asia and their social, religious, and political ramifications.
    RELS 0140 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Moore-Gerety
  • Dharma: A History of Classical Indian Civilization

    Dharma—a Sanskrit word encompassing duty, ethics, law, and religion—is a common thread running through the cultures of premodern India. This course offers a history of Indian civilization from its origins up through the end of the classical period. Drawing on a rich array of textual, material, and expressive cultures, we trace the arc of human history on the subcontinent, paying special attention to the intersections of religion and politics. The sources at hand reveal the dynamic interplay between tradition and innovation, and attest to human efforts to redefine what it means to live a life according to dharma.
    RELS 0034 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Moore-Gerety
  • Prophets and Priests in Exile: Biblical Literature of the 6th Century BCE (JUDS 1690)

  • Ecological and Religious Thought in the West

    We live in an age of immense and intersecting environmental problems. Has Western philosophical and religious thought contributed to them? If so, how? What theoretical and practical tools – of these traditions or others – can be used to resolve these problems? This course will address these broad questions by exploring classical and contemporary representations of nature and the place of human beings within it. Special emphasis will be given to the relation between nature and culture; the relation between nature and technology; the relation between nature and gender; our ethical duties to the natural environment; and the normativity of nature.
    RELS 0085C S01
    Primary Instructor
    DiBona
  • Great Jewish Books (JUDS 0681)

  • Gospel Music from the Church to the Streets (MUSC 1927)