Theories & Methods in the Study of Religion RELST-UA.1, Reed
Tuesday, Thursday 3:30pm-4:45pm. Class #9914. 4 Pts. GCASL Rm. 383
Exposes 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.
Bible as Literature RELST-UA.23 (Same as HBRJD-UA.0023), Feldman
Tuesday, Thursday 2:00pm-3:15pm. Class # 19842. 4 Pts. 25 W4th Rm. C-13
The Bible is a complex and fascinating anthology of ancient literature, written by many different people over the course of nearly a thousand years. The focus of this course will be on reading the Bible as literature, and not as a religious or sacred text. In this course, students will be introduced to various strategies for the literary reading and interpretation of biblical texts. The class will engage diverse literary genres from both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, and consider the biblical writers’ creative deployment of poetic forms, plot devices, and narrative styles. With the guidance of secondary literature that will introduce us to a number of diverse ways to think about the literary interpretation of these texts, we will read parts of the books of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Esther, Ruth, Jonah, and the Gospels, as well as selections from the poetic and wisdom traditions. The goals of this course are twofold: 1) to introduce students to literary forms and styles from one corner of the ancient world, and 2) to enable students to engage with these texts from a new perspective and examine the ways in which our assumptions about the origins of a text can and do shape our interpretations of it.
Topics: Spiritual Exercises: Concepts and Practices RELST-UA.244, de Vries
Monday, Wednesday 11:00am-12:15pm. Class # 19165. 4 Pts. 726 Broadway, Room 542
This course will introduce the concepts, practices, and history of "spiritual exercises," their modern transformations and ongoing relevance as nothing short of a complete philosophy and way of life. Readings include Marcus Aurelius, Philo of Alexandria, St. Ignatius of Loyola, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Stanley Cavell, Pierre Hadot, Michel Foucault, and Giorgio Agamben.
Belief and Practice in Greek Religion RELST-UA.293 (Same as CLASS-UA 293.002), Kowalzig
Wednesdays 3:30pm-6:00pm. Class # 24506. 4 Pts. Lecture. Silver 503
The religions of ancient Greece and Rome are often thought of as highly pragmatic: they focus on ‘practice’, on ritual activity, ceremony and performance; religious practice and social life were so much intertwined that the question of ‘belief’ did not matter. As a result, the affective, cognitive, and philosophical dimensions of ancient belief-systems have often been neglected by historians of religion. The course, focusing on ancient Greek religion, will tackle the dichotomy of belief and practice by studying a combination of ancient texts and modern theory. Having laid out the debate, we shall first look at ancient sources for ritual activity and at ritual theory in a social and functionalist tradition; we shall then examine ancient evidence expressing intellectual and self-reflexive attitudes to religious practice and the divine, following the academic debate from its beginnings to recent approaches to religion drawn from the cognitive sciences.The discussion of belief and practice will be based on topics such as how to study the ancient gods, sacrifice, festivals of democratic Athens, initiation rites, women’s religiosity and children’s religious experience, and then tackle the Greeks’ understanding of the divine in anthropomorphism, mythology, epiphany and oracular consultation. Ancient evidence studied ranges from tragedy and hymnic poetry to inscriptions, dedications at ancient shrines and religious iconography. All ancient texts will be read in translation. Modern readings will be drawn from social and cultural anthropology, religious sociology, philosophy and performance studies.
Intro to Ancient Indian Literature RELST-UA.335 (Same as MEIS-UA 718), Illieva
Tuesdays 4:55pm-7:35pm. Class # 22973. 4 Pts. Lecture. KEVO 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 Vedic 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.
Living the Good Life: Greek and Jewish Perspectives RELST-UA.422 (Same as HBRJD-UA.422), Gottlieb
Monday, Wednesday 11:00am-12:15pm. Class # 19843. 4 Pts. KJCC BSMT
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.
American Religion RELST-UA.480, Pickett
Monday, Wednesday 9:30am-10:45am. Class # 19164. 4 Pts. 25 W4th Rm. C-20
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. This 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, freethought, and skepticism; pluralism and religious liberalism; religion and science; immigration and nativism; and religious conservatism and politics.
Intro to Buddhism RELST-UA.832 (Same as EAST-UA.832), Fleming
Tuesday, Thursday 11:00am-12:15pm. Class # 9654. 4 Pts. 25 W4th Rm. C-13
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.
Permission Required. Class # 8984. 1-4 Pts. Staff.
Independent Study RELST-UA.997
Permission Required. Class # 8985. 1-4 Pts. Staff.
COURSES APPLICABLE TO THE MAJOR OR MINOR
Cultures & Contexts: Global Christianities CORE-UA.500, Oliphant
Monday, Wednesday 2:00pm-3:15pm. Class # 9208. 4 Pts. Silver 405
Notes: Students must register for a recitation sec: 002-005. See Albert for times.
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.
COURSES ABROAD APPLICABLE TO THE MAJOR OR MINOR
Medieval Church: Religious History of Crisis & Creativity RELST-UA 9672
Time: TBD. Class#20731. 4 Pts. Location: TBD
Wielding nearly unlimited authority over the lives - and the after-life – of millions of Europeans, the Catholic Church was by far the most important political, as well as cultural, power of the Middle Ages. The only global institution of this era, the Church was at the same time able to nourish strong local roots: its cardinals and popes came from all over the continent and dealt with international politics at the highest level, while priests and friars brought home to the people a faith tied to the neighborhood church and confraternity, and personified by a saint’s shrine and relics.Through a combination of lectures, students’ presentations, films and site visits, this course will explore selected aspects of the Medieval Church’s history: its often rocky relations with the other supreme power of the time, the Holy Roman Empire; the rise of monasticism and its different versions; the spread of heretical movements and their repression by the Inquisition; sainthood, and how “heavenly” women and men could serve to articulate very earthly ideologies on state, society, gender roles.
What is Islam? RELST-UA 9085, Wirtz
Monday 1:00pm-4:00pm. Class#: 20764. 4 Pts. Location: TBD
This course explores the origins of Islam and the development of its rituals and doctrines to the 21st century. It assumes no previous background in Islamic studies. Students will learn about topics such as the Koran and the Prophet, Islamic law, the encounter of East and West during the Crusades, and Islam in Britain. They will find out how Muslims in different regions have interpreted and lived their religion in past and present. Readings will include not only scholarly works but also material from primary sources, for example the Koran, biographies and chronicles. The course consists of a combination of lectures, seminar discussions, field trips and includes other media, such as film.
Religion, Culture, & Politics in Century Europe RELST-UA 9360, Mucha
Wednesday 1:30pm-4:20pm. Class#: 2472. 4 Pts. Location: TBD
This course explores various religious phenomena that formed political ideas and cultural values of Central Europe in different historical periods. Religion is without doubt one of the most important elements that shaped history and contemporary face of this region and mutual interaction of these phenomena is principally evident in cultural richness of Prague. In the course we examine particularly those Central European religious figures and events that remarkably influenced the world’s history and enriched human thinking. First, we study Christianization of the Central European countries and the prominent role of religion in political and cultural transformation in medieval period. Then we follow the religious reformation process and development of relationship between Judeo-Christian tradition and the secular world in early modern period. Finally, we explore the situation of religious institutions in totalitarian societies and their struggle against communist regime. The transformation of Catholicism in the 1960s is also examined together with the role of religion in the post-communist and post-modern societies.