Theories & Methods in the Study of Religion RELST-UA 1
Annette Yoshiko Reed
Description: 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: TBD RELST-UA 244
Hent de Vries
American Religion RELST-UA 480
Description: Religious formations from the national founding to the late twentieth century that influened Americanculture, society, national identity, and politics. Topics: disestablishment and church-state relations; revivalism and social activism; race and religion; women's religious leadership; atheism, freethought, and skepticism; pluralism and religious liberalism; religion and science; immigration and navitism; and religious conservatism and politics.
Intro to Buddhism RELST-UA 832
Description: 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.
Bible as Literature RELST-UA 23 (also HBRJD-UA 23)
Description: Approaches the Bible as a "full-fledged kindred spirit" of modernism through a broadly literary approach. While the focus is on narrative–the Pentateuch and the Former Prophets, as well as shorter narrative books–also studies Ecclesiastes and Job as ancient precursors to modern skepticism.
Living the Good Life: Greek and Jewish Perspectives RELST-UA 991 (also HBRJD-UA 422)
Description: What makes a life well-lived? Central questions to be explored will include: Does living well require acquiring knowledge and wisdom? What is the place of moral responsibility in the good life? Is the good life, a happy life or does it require sacrificing happiness? Does religion lead to living well or does it hinder it? What is friendship and how does it contribute to the good life? Study of primary texts by the following thinkers: Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, Avot, Maimonides, Spinoza, and Hermann Cohen.
Internship RELST-UA 980
Independent Study RELST-UA 997