COURSES TAUGHT BY RELIGIOUS STUDIES FACULTY
Theories and Methods in the Study of Religion RELST-UA.1, McGrath
Monday, Wednesday, 11am-12:15pm. Class #8927. 4 pts. GCASL Rm. 269
Focuses on fundamental theoretical and methodological issues pertaining to the academic study of religion. Exposes students to, and familiarizes them with, some of the more important theories of the origin, character, and function of religion as a human phenomenon. 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.
Religions of India RELST-UA.337, Ahmed
Monday, Wednesday 3:30pm-4:45pm. Class #23005. 4 pts. 194 Mercer, Rm 307
Investigates religious developments in India within their historical context. Familiarizes students with the religions of the subcontinent—including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Islam, Sikhism, Christianity, and Judaism—through secondary source readings and English translations of primary source materials. Rather than survey religious traditions as closed systems divorced from time or place, students grapple with the central theories and historiographical challenges pertaining to religion in India, especially those that impact our ability to understand everyday religious experience, both past and present.
American Religion RELST-UA.480, Stell
Monday, Wednesday 2pm-3:15pm. Class #19703. 4 pts. 60 5th Ave. Rm. 110
Religious diversity has long been a defining feature of the American landscape. It has also long been perceived as a threat by the nation’s most powerful religious actors. This course will examine the history of religious diversity, religious freedom, and religious oppression in the United States. Along the way, we will explore the deep entanglements of religion, race, and politics in the nation’s past and present. Special attention will be given to the role of religion in conflicts over colonization, immigration, slavery, and sexuality.
Monsters and Their Humans RELST-UA.649 (Same as ANTH-UA.649), Zito
Tuesday, Thursday 11am-12:15pm. Class #19706. 4 pts. 7 East 12th Rm. LL23
Humanity has long imagined monstrous transformations of ourselves. What do these creatures mean to us, historically and today? What do we think we are becoming? Investigates the supernatural in popular culture through vampires and zombies. Places them in the context of our imagination of the divine through history and ethnography, and also alongside our intimate problems of managing sex, gender, race, and class. The archives of religions, psychologies, philosophy, film, TV, and novels provide rich source material, Requires a short midterm essay and a longer final project, while posting to a forum most weeks.
Engaging Early Christian Theology RELST-UA.840 (Same as CLASS-UA.856), Becker
Monday, Wednesday 9:30am-10:45pm. Class #19704. 4 pts. 7 East 12th Rm. 121
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 developed an intellectually rigorous field of knowledge, one that has had a significant intellectual historical as well as socio-political impact in the history of the Church and beyond. This is not a theological course but rather an introduction to some of the key texts in a historically significant mode of theological inquiry.
Seminar: Buddhist Meditation RELST-UA.991 (Same as FYSEM-900 section 117), McGrath
Thursday 2pm-4:45pm. Class #9837. 4 pts. Tisch Hall, Rm. LC4
This course traces the theories and practices of Buddhist meditation across different traditions and cultures, from the time of the Buddha down to the mindfulness meditations of the present day. We will begin with concentration and insight meditations that were common in early Buddhist communities, followed by the wisdom and compassion meditations of the Greater Vehicle (Mahāyāna) and the subtle body and open awareness meditations of Tantric Buddhism (Vajrayāna). Throughout the course we
will also consider the relationship between meditation and Buddhist ethics, philosophy, ritual, and narrative, as well as the scientific study and secularization of meditation in the modern world.
Internship (Permission Required) RELST-UA.981, Staff
Class #7959. 1-4 pt(s).
Independent Study (Permission Required) RELST-UA.998, Staff
Class #7960. 1-4 pt(s).
CROSS-LISTED COURSES TAUGHT BY FACULTY IN OTHER DEPARTMENTS
Topics: Eros and Sexuality in Modern Jewish Literature RELST-UA.244, Henig
Tuesday, Thursday 3:30pm-4:45pm. Class #23006. 4 pts. 7 East 12th, Rm. LL25
What’s love got to do with it? This is a question that has been debated by Jewish writers since the inception of modern Jewish literature. For decades, Jewish authors, artists, and intellectuals have negotiated the status of romantic and sexual love within Judaism, often as a troubling, at times alien, subject matter in the context of Jewishness and the Jewish tradition. With the rise of modern Yiddish and Hebrew literatures in particular, writers articulated new modes of conceiving desire, love, sex, and gender, especially as they related to Jewish society and politics, and these issues continue to be debated within the different avenues of Jewish culture today. This course is devoted to exploring the transforming status of eros and sexuality in Jewish culture by focusing on a diverse selection of literary works, alongside drama, film, and academic essays. Building on feminist and queer theory, our discussion will revolve around issues such as sexual politics and nationalism, love and religion, border-crossing, constructions of femininity and masculinity, and queer love. All materials are available in English translation.
Ancient Religion CLASS-UA 409, Kowalzig
Thursday 2:00Pm-4:45pm. Class #20020. 4 pts. SILV 503
The period from the beginnings of Greek religion until the spread of Christianity spans over 2,000 years and many approaches to religious and moral issues. Traces developments such as Olympian gods of Homer and Hesiod; hero worship; public and private religion; views of death, the soul, and afterlife; Dionysus; Epicureanism; and Stoicism. Deals with changes in Greek religion during the Roman republic and early empire and the success of Christians in converting pagans in spite of official persecution.
Living a Good Life: Greek and Jewish Perspectives RELST-UA.422 (Same as HBRJD-UA.422), Gottlieb
Monday, Wednesday 11am-12:15pm. Class #20451. 4 pts. GCASL Rm. 279
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.
Myths and Cultures of the Ancient Celts RELST-UA.983 (Same as IRISH-UA.307), Waidler
Tuesday, Thursday 11am-12:15pm. Class #9588. 4 pts. Ireland House Rm. 102
From Roman claims of human sacrifice to tales of shape-shifting goddesses and from heroes that live for hundreds of years to journeys to Otherworlds and magical creatures, the world of Celtic myth and its interpretation presents us with a rich panorama. This class explores what we know about non-Christian religions in the Celtic regions, drawing on archaeological evidence and examining literary sources for medieval perceptions of paganism. In the first part of the class we will define what we can really know about the ‘religious’ beliefs of the wider Celtic world before and during the Roman conquests before turning to the literary tales that survive from the Middle Ages that are set in the non-Christian past of Ireland and Wales. We will question what can be defined as ‘myth’ and how stories of pagan gods and heroes are treated in a medieval Christian world. This course will take a critical approach to the material and continue to question how much we can know about these early belief systems and what our surviving literary texts meant to their various audiences.
Topics: The History, Politics, and Poetics of Bible Translation RELST-UA.983 002 (Same as HBRJD-UA 949), Feldman
Tuesday, Thursday 9:30am-10:45pm. Class #22899. 4 pts. 7 East 12th, Rm. 125
This course engages the reality that the Bible pervades public media and discourse even where it is not named or acknowledged. The ultimate interest of the course is the Bible itself, how it is read (or not read, but still used) today in relation to the purposes and contexts of its writing in ancient times.
COURSES ABROAD APPLICABLE TO THE MAJOR OR MINOR
What is Islam RELST-UA.9085 L01, TBA
Time: TBA. Class #18018. 4 pts. Location: TBA
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 Cent Europe RELST-UA.9360 P01, Mucha
Tuesday 4:30pm - 7:20pm. Class #18085. 4 pts. Prague Dvorak
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.
Medieval Church: Religious History of Crisis & Creativity RELST-UA.9672 F01 (SAME AS HIST-UA 9117 AND MEDI-UA 9017), TBA
Time: TBA. Class #17915. 4 pts. OFFC
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.