Theories & Methods in the Study of Religion RELST-UA 1, Reed
Tuesday, Thursday 3:30-4:45pm. Class # 9805. 4 Pts. GCASL Rm. 383
This course will expose students to fundamental theoretical and methodological issues in the academic study of religion. We will read a number of classic works and authors (Durkheim, Weber, Freud, Marx, James, etc.) while also examining their legacy and continuing influence upon the field of religious studies. In addition to familiarizing students with a variety of approaches to understanding religion (as a social phenomenon, an "experience", and a body of lived practices), the course gives attention to the construction of the category of "religion", ethical issues involved in the study of religion, and issues and topics (gender, secularism, pluralism, postcolonialism, etc.) profoundly affecting our changing understanding of religion today. Students are given an opportunity to encounter and test an assortment of the main scholarly approaches to understanding and interpreting religious phenomena, including psychological, sociological, anthropological, and hermeneutical perspectives.
Topics: Islam and Politics RELST-UA.244 (Same as MEIS-UA 674), Alatas
Monday 4:55-7:45. Class # 22522. 4 Pts. KEVO LL1
Popular Western perceptions of Islam has often identified the religion with threatening images of theocracy and terrorism. The Iranian revolution of 1979, the rise of Islamic radicalism from West Africa to Southeast Asia, as well as the emergence of the short-lived ISIS "caliphate" have contributed to this impression. While the study of Islam has devoted considerable attention to radical interpretations of the religion, in historical terms, Islam has consisted of varied interpretations, from those that can be described as theocratic to those that voice concerns parallel to Western liberalism. Among the concerns of these voices were issues related to political modernity and the nation-state from theocracy, democracy, guarantees of the rights of women and non-Muslims in Islamic countries, freedom of thought, and belief in the potential for human progress.
This course introduces students to the thoughts of late Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries Muslim intellectuals, leaders, and activists representing diverse intellectual and ideological spectrums, and their engagement with Islam and political modernity in the Muslim World. We will be reading and discussing the works of these authors. Readings include, but not limited to, the works of al-Tahtawi, Abduh, Afghani, Rashid Ridha, Ali Abd al-Raziq, Mahmud Taleqani, Mohamad Natsir, Khomeini, Muhammad Iqbal, Rachid Ghannouchi, Hasan Turabi, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Ali Shari’ati, Abdullahi Ahmed al-Na’im, Nurcholis Madjid, Fazlur Rahman, Sayyid Qutb, Amina Wadud. By the end of the course, students will be familiar with modern intellectual history of Islam and the thoughts of the most influential makers of modern Islam.
Seminar: Religion, Art and the City: New York RELST-UA 270 (Same as ANTH-UA 321.03), Oliphant
Monday 2:00-4:30pm. Class # 19565. 4 Pts. 726 BW Rm. 542
This course offers students a new vantage point on the remarkable city in which we are lucky to live. We will explore the city through lenses that may be unfamiliar to you, but that have long been essential to its rich diversity and historical complexity: its religion, its art, and those moments when the two have intersected. The course will begin with a study of early expressions of religion in the city, prior to and through its early colonial expressions, and on to its nineteenth century zenith as the site of a series of migrations. We will then move to a study of the city's major museums and address the sources and effects of the wealth used to found these institutions. The majority of our class, however, will be devoted to an exploration of how this history, these tensions, and the inequalities that background this wealth have been expressed in the spaces, images, and objects that continue to shape this city and its inhabitants. A number of fieldtrips will help us to explore how art and religion have diverged and converged in the making of this unique urban space. We will use the city as a unique site through which to explore both the "art of religion" and the "religion of art".
Introduction to Ancient Indian Literature RELST-UA 335 (Same as MEIS-UA 718), Ilieva
Tuesday 4:55-7:35pm. Class # 19808. 4 Pts. Kevo Rm. LL2
An introductory course designed to acquaint students with the great works of the ancient Indian literary tradition, a major part of which was written in Sanskrit. The earliest form of that language, called Vedic Sanskrit, is the language of the Vedit hymns, especially those of the Rig Veda. Sanskrit has had an unbroken literary tradition for over 3,000 years. This rich and vast literary, religious, and philosophical heritage is introduced in this course. In addition, students work with excerpts from the Jain and Buddhist canons written in Prakrits and examples of Tamil poetry. Selections from the Vedic literature, classical drama, epics, story literature, and lyric poetry are studied in English translation.
American Religion RELST-UA 480 (Same as HIST-UA 117), TBA
Monday, Wednesday 9:30-10:45am. Class # 19552. 4 Pts. GCASL Rm. 369
This course surveys the role of religious figures and movements in the historical development of the United States, from the national founding to the late twentieth century. The course explores the various ways in which religion and national identity have been continually constructed and contested in relation to one another. Not a comprehensive enumeration of all religious expressions, the course selectively treats particular religious formations that came to influence U.S. American culture, society, and politics. Topics will include: disestablishment and church-state relations; revivalism and social activism; race and religion; women's religious leadership; atheism, freethough, and skepticism; pluralism and religious liberalism; religion and science; immigration and nativism; and religious conservatism and politics.
Topics in Religious Studies: Jewish Europe After the Holocaust RELST-UA 650.001 (Same as HBRJD-UA 689), Estraikh
Monday, Wednesday 9:30-10:45am. Class # 21237. 4 Pts. KJCC Bsmt
The social, political, and cultural forces that shaped Jewish life in post-1945 Europe. Topics include reconstruction of Jewish communities, repression and anti-Semitic campaigns in the Soviet Union and Poland, the impact of Israel, emigration and migration, Jewish-Christian relations, assimilation and acculturation, and reactions to the Holocaust.
Apocalypse and the End of Days RELST-UA 690 (Same as HBRJD-UA 139), Jassen
Tuesday, Thursday 9:30-10:45am. Class # 19325. 4 Pts. 25 W 4th Rm. C-20
This course examines ancient Jewish and Christian apocalyptic texts and the ongoing influence of apocalyptic ideas in modern religious movements and contemporary culture. Jewish and Christian apocalypses express their authors' most profound thoughts, anxieties, and hopes about the mysteries of the creation of the world, the relationship between God and humanity, the nature of evil, and, most prominently, expectations about the impending end of the world. This course explores the social and historical setting of these texts and provides students with the tools to decode the symbolic vocabulary of apocalypses. The modern fascination with apocalypse is discussed alongside modern religious movements and contemporary films that are heavily steeped in the vocabulary and theology of apocalypse.
Intro to Buddhism RELST-UA 832 (Same as EAST-UA 832), Lee
Tuesday, Thursday 11:00-12:15pm. Class # 9384. 4 Pts. Tisch Rm. LC9
An introduction to this complex religion, emphasizing its history, teachings, and practices. Discusses its doctrinal development in India, then emphasizes certain local practices: Buddhism and the family in China; Buddhism, language, and hierarchy in Japan; the politics of Buddhist Tibet; and Buddhist art. Finally, the course touches on Buddhism in the United States.
Engaging Early Christian Theology RELST-UA 840 (Same as CLASS-UA 646), Becker
Tuesday, Thursday 9:30-10:45am. Class # 21388. 4 Pts. GCASL Rm. 383
What does it mean to say that Jesus Christ was both human and divine? How can the Christian divinity be one yet three? How are the sacraments such as baptism effective? Do we have freewill? These were some of the pressing questions the Church Fathers addressed in the early centuries of Christian history and their answers contributed to the Christian theological tradition for centuries to come. In this course we will examine some of the classic works of early Christian theology. Despite the often highly rhetorical and polemical character of their writings the Church Fathers nevertheless developed an intellectually rigorous field of knowledge, one that has had a significant intellectural historical as well as socio-political impact in the history of the Church. This is not a theological course but rather an introduction to some of the key texts in a historically significant mode of theological inquiry.
Internship RELST-UA 980, TBA
Class # 8581. 1-4 Pts.
Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. 1-4 points.
Independent Study RELST-UA 997, TBA
Class # 8582. 1-4 Pts.
Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. 1-4 points.
COURSES APPLICABLE TO THE MAJOR OR MINOR IN RELIGIOUS STUDIES
Cultures & Contexts: Global Christianities CORE-UA.500, Oliphant
Tuesday, Thursday 2:00 - 3:15pm. Class # 8896. 4 Pts. 19 UP Rm. 102
This course examines the ongoing global formation and reformation of Christianity, from its origins in a pluralistic ancient Mediterranean world and spread throughout Europe and the Middle East, to its historical and ever-transforming role in Africa, Asia, and the New World. Rather than attempting to identify an essential core of this complex religious and cultural formation, we will explore the problems and possibilities Christian texts, concepts, institutions, and narratives have posed for a diversity of populations over distinct historical periods. We will gain an appreciation both for how various populations have responded to Christianity and the ways in which these encounters have subsequently disrupted and transformed Christian narratives. Exploring this global multi-sided conversation will allow us to consider how Christians have not only justified and reproduced, but also critiqued and questioned the power of empires and nations, elites and tyrants, and reformers and critics.