COURSES TAUGHT BY RELIGIOUS STUDIES FACULTY
Advanced Seminar: Religion and Law RELST-UA.15, de Vries
Wednesday 11:00am-1:30pm. Class #9819. 4 pts. 726 Broadway, Rm 542
From the medieval and early modern controversies regarding “the king's two bodies” and the corpus mysticum, via the Lutheran doctrine of the “two kingdoms/governments,” up to present-day debates on “political theologies,” broadly defined, the premises and doctrines of so-called “divine economy,” whether in the guise of the Catholic doctrine of providence or the Calvinist idea of predestination, have guided the understanding not only of canonical law and of catechism, at least within the Western Church, but also of modern emerging concepts, the interpretation as well as application of constitutional law, jurisprudence, and human rights. A similar inflection or reorientation of public discourse and international relations, together with an ever widening and deepening sense of social and global justice, can be discerned in the accommodations that have either been granted or refused the growing non-Christian religious minorities within the legal framework of Western democratic states. The latter have been increasingly challenged to either rethink or reformulate their presumed neutrality and secularism (or, in the French context, their laïcité) and this all the more so since the wider world has other models on offer that seem more and more powerful and, likewise, remarkably adaptable to the ever changing conditions and opportunities in what is by now a multipolar world. Indeed, the political and, especially, legal adoptions and adaptations of Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, next to Judaism and Islam, in contemporary states need to be seen for what they are, namely alternative modern paths in a largely post-secular world in which, paradoxically, the "spirit" of laws as well as new forms of political "spirituality" seem to weigh on matters more than ever.
This seminar will focus on foundational theological, philosophical, and juridical texts, together with a comparative set of concrete and controversial European as well as US legal cases, in order to investigate the theoretical and practical challenges as well as opportunities that the seemingly perennial confrontation between -- and, indeed, imbrication of -- religion and law has made inevitable and possible, locally and globally. Readings will include Ernst Kantorowicz, Henri de Lubac, Carl Schmitt, Erik Peterson, Jakob Taubes, Michael Walzer, Sari Nusseibeh, Joseph H.H. Weiler, Jürgen Habermas, Hans Joas, Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, Nancy Rosenblum, Talal Asad, Saba Mahmood, Jocelyn Cesari, Olivier Roy, and Samuel Moyn.
Gender, Sexuality, & The Body in Early Christianity RELST-UA.86 (Same as CLASS-UA.294.002), Cady
Monday, Wednesday 3:30pm-4:45pm. Class #21471. 4 pts. Tisch, Rm. LC9
This course focuses on the construction and performance of gender, social mores, love and erotics, as well as medicine and the body in the ancient Mediterranean. This is a discussion-based class with weekly readings and a final project. Students will learn: to analyze complex, highly rhetorical texts composed in a cultural context radically different from our own; to consider how ancient Mediterranean communities promoted their own ideas about gender, sexuality, and the body; to synthesize, communicate, and expand upon information in a discussion-focused setting.
Populism, Religion, and Crisis in Europe RELST-UA.111 (Same as ANTH-UA.111), Oliphant
Tuesday, Thursday 11:00am-12:15pm. Class #20948. 4 pts. GCASL, Rm. 361
A number of powerful myths surround the idea of Europe: it is the source of “Enlightenment”; as the “Old World,” it has “history” in a way that other countries do not; it is the birthplace and true home of liberalism, democracy, and equality; and – most importantly – Europe is self-contained and self-made. Populist rhetoric, rising xenophobia, anti-migrant hysteria, Islamophobia, high unemployment, and restrictive legislation have called many of the myths that undergird Europe’s enlightened public sphere into question. In this class, in order to explore the lasting power of these myths, we will rely on anthropologists, historians, political economists, and social theorists to help us rethink the idea of Europe. Through our readings, films, and course discussions, we will look at historical and contemporary politics of religion, populism, and crisis in France, England, Spain, Turkey, Cyprus, Austria, Greece, Germany, Sweden, and Italy.
Seminar: The German Intellectual Tradition RELST-UA.991 (Same as GERM-UA.244 and COLIT-UA.244), de Vries
Thursday, 4:55pm-7:25pm. Class #21313. 4 pts. Bobst, Rm. LL146
Immanuel Kant's 1781 Kritik der reinen Vernunft coined the critical terms, next to developing influential transcendental arguments, that all serious subsequent claims of reason in modern philosophical discourse have had to contend with ever since its first publication. From the Neo-Kantian and phenomenological schools of thought, via Frankfurt School Neomarxism, up to the reception of contemporary analytic philosophy (as in so-called analytic German Idealism), Kant's theoretical and practical philosophy has remained the touchstone and central reference. This course will survey the remarkable legacy of Kant's critical vocabulary, the so-called canon of pure reason and the architectonic or art of constructing a philosophical system, as he saw it, and investigate the ways in which this modern classic has fundamentally reoriented the philosophical imagination and debate to the present day.
Pagan and Christian Mythologies in Antiquity RELST-UA.992 (Same as CLASS-UA.294.003), Cady
Monday, Wednesday 2:00pm-3:15pm. Class #21472. 4 pts. Tisch, Rm. LC9
This course focuses on the topics of Greek and Roman lore, early Christian narratives, and the reception of classical genres and themes in Late Antiquity. This is a discussion-based class with weekly readings and a final project. Students will learn: to analyze complex, highly rhetorical texts composed in a cultural context radically different from our own; to consider how the communities behind these texts promoted their own ideas about heroism and moral exemplarity, warfare (both literal and spiritual), and the like; to synthesize, communicate, and expand upon information in a discussion-focused setting.
Internship RELST-UA.981, Staff
Permission required. Class #8318. 4 pts.
Independent Study RELST-UA.998, Staff
Permission required. Class #8319. 4 pts.
CROSS-LISTED COURSES TAUGHT BY OUR AFFILIATED FACULTY
Zionism & The State of Israel RELST-UA.180 (Same as HBRJD-UA.180), Patt
Monday, Wednesday 12:30pm-1:45pm. Class #23489. 4 pts. Silver, Rm. 410
Examines the history of Zionism and as an ideology and political movement from its origins in the 19th century to the present as reflected in the modern State of Israel. Topics include ideological foundations, the role of Herzl and the rise of political Zionism, the Balfour Declaration, early Jewish settlements in Palestine, Zionism as a cultural focus for diaspora Jewry, the Arab-Zionist encounter, modern Israeli society, and contemporary critiques of Zionism.
Greek and Roman Mythology RELST-UA.404 (Same as CLASS-UA.404), Meineck
Tuesday, Thursday 2pm-3:15pm. Class #8317. 4 pts. 19 W 4th, Rm. 101
This course discusses the myths and legends of Greek mythology and the gods, demigods, heroes, nymphs, monsters, and everyday mortals who played out their parts in this mythology. This course begins with creation, as vividly described by Hesiod in the Theogony, and ends with the great Trojan War and the return of the Greek heroes, especially Odysseus. Roman myth is also treated, with emphasis on Aeneas and the foundation legends of Rome.
Religion, Sexuality, & Public Life RELST-UA.646.001 (Same as SCA-UA.812.001), Pellegrini
Monday, Wednesday 9:30am-10:45am. Class #23490. 4 pts. 19 W 4th, Rm. 102
This country was founded on the promise of religious freedom, and yet U.S. laws and policies regulating sexual life derive much of their rationale from specifically religious notions of ?good? versus bad ?sex,? what bodies are ?for,? what kinds of human relationships are valuable. How are we to understand this apparent contradiction? If sexual life is a special case, what makes it so? Finally, what are the implications of this ?exception? for both sexual and religious freedom? Course materials are designed to introduce students to critical approaches to the study of religion in society as well as to familiarize them with important work in the interdisciplinary areas of gender and sexuality studies.
Recitation Section 002
Tuesday 12:30pm-1:45pm. Class #23492. 4 pts. Tisch Hall, Rm. LC3
Recitation Section 003
Wednesday 8am-9:15am. Class #23785. 4 pts. 181 Mercer, Rm. 346
Islam in the World RELST-UA.650 (Same as MEIS-UA.703.001, ANTH-UA.321.002), Alatas
Tuesday 2pm-4:45pm. Class #23512. 4 pts. 194 Mercer, Rm. 201
This course is designed to introduce students to anthropological studies of lived Islam. It focuses on the ways in which Islamic belief and practices are taught, comprehended, debated and experienced in daily life in communities of Muslims across the modern world. We study the different forms such practices and beliefs take in the context of societies, cultures, histories and political economies of varying kinds, from the Middle East to Southeast Asia, from West Africa to South Asia. We examine wide-ranging debates among Muslims about what is orthodox and what is unorthodox, what is permitted and what not, how children and adults should be taught to "be Muslim" and what an ethical Muslim life really is in our complex and conflict-ridden world. Reading materials centers on ethnographic and theoretical studies of communities and groups across the Muslim world today. Themes of socio-cultural reproduction, rituals, religious authority, the transmission of knowledge and practice, debate and argument on religious and social issues, and movement and mobility run through the course. We also attend to the changing role of the modern states in relation to power, representation, and religion. Finally we will look at the burgeoning material on media of all kinds
American Jewish History RELST-UA.694 (Same as HBRJD-UA.172), Fox
Tuesday, Thursday 9:30am-10:45am. Class #23285. 4 pts. KJCC, Rm. B01
Students in this course will examine the major events and personalities in American Jewish history since colonial time, including the waves of Jewish immigration and development of the American Jewish community.
Ancient Egyptian Mythology and Religion RELST-UA.719 (Same as HBRJD-UA.150.001X), Roth
Monday, Wednesday 11am-12:15pm. Class #23518. 4 pts. Silver, Rm. 410
This course examines the religious beliefs of the ancient Egyptians, including the nature of the gods, syncretism, private religion, theories of divine kingship, the judgment of the dead, cultic practices, the life of priests, the relationship between this world and the afterlife, wisdom literature as moral thought, festivals, funerary practices, creation myths, and foreign gods and influences – all illustrated by Egyptian religious texts or scenes from temples and tombs.
Islamic Law & Society RELST-UA.785 (Same as MEIS-UA.780), Katz
Monday, Wednesday 3:30pm-4:45pm. Class #21468. 4 pts. KEVO, Rm. LL2
Introduces students to Islamic law through a reading of its various genres and a study of a selection of secondary sources covering a number of substantive topics (for example, ritual, criminal, and public law). Also focuses on the ways Islamic law has interacted with Islamic societies in historical practice and the way it has adapted, or not adapted, to the challenges of modernity.
Intro to the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) RELST-UA.809 (Same as HBRJD-UA.125), Fleming
Monday, Wednesday 2pm-3:15pm. Class #23542. 4 pts. 7 E 12th, Rm. 325
Introduces students to the modern study of the Bible from historical, literary, and archeological points of view. Reading and analysis of texts in translation.
Slave, Saint, and Symbol: Saint Patrick's Life RELST-UA.983 (Same as IRISH-UA.801, ENGL-UA.761.003, MEDI-UA.950), Waidler
Tuesday, Thursday 11am-12:15pm. Class #23384. 4 pts. Ireland House, Rm. 101
This course will focus on the figure of Saint Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, whose feast day is celebrated around the world on March 17th, and the lands and societies that shaped his story. Through the exploration of the legacy of one figure this class will journey through the history of Ireland, called in the Middle Ages ‘the Land of Saints and Scholars’, and explore issues of sanctity, the intersection between secular and ecclesiastical writings and how the story of a man taken as a slave to Ireland became the international figure celebrated throughout the world today. Students will explore how Patrick portrayed himself in his own writings, how he came to be seen as the chief saint of Ireland and the seventh-century political machinations behind the promotion of his cult, how medieval writers depicted him as saving epic heroes from hell and recording the stories of centuries-old legendary warriors and how he eventually became an enduring symbol of Ireland itself. In so doing, this course will explore the worlds that Patrick and his legend inhabited and the impact that changing societies and cultures, from Late Antique Britain to the Vikings and Anglo-Normans and ending with the United States and Nigeria, have had on the interpretation of this saint. This class will give students a grounding in critical thinking and how to approach historical and literary texts of a variety of genres and will also explore what defined a saint at different periods and how the role of one man from the early Middle Ages could be remolded again and again according to changing religious, political and literary needs for over a millennium and a half.
COURSES APPLICABLE TO THE MAJOR OR MINOR IN RELIGIOUS STUDIES
Texts and Ideas: God CORE-UA.400, de Vries
Tuesday, Thursday 12:30pm-1:45pm. Class #8114. 4 pts. 19 Univ Pl., Rm. 102
What or who is- or was- “God”? And what or who might “He” still - or yet again- become, for us, whether we consider ourselves true believers or not? Do admittedly insufficient philosophical proofs for His existence that, throughout the ages have been attempted, add up, in the end? And, if so, in what sense or to what extent, precisely? Or, if God's existence and essential predicates can neither be verified nor even sharply defined, can they instead be falsified, as has also ben claimed? Are God's concept and names - and there are, across past and prsent traditions and cultures quite a few in circulation - as many instances of "nonsense," at least in rigourous logical, conceptual and argumentative, terms? Is to speak of and reason about “God” proliferate mere noise, an inchoate feeling of cosmic and existential dependence, nothing more?
This course is devoted to historical and contemporary efforts to nonetheless understand and justify this at once most familiar and strangest of invocations or references: the Being called highest, by many, but also eternal, all-knowing, perfectly good, itself enough, and much else besides.
COURSES ABROAD APPLICABLE TO THE MAJOR OR MINOR IN RELIGIOUS STUDIES
What is Islam? RELST-UA.9085 (Same as MEIS-US.9085), Parsa, Amir
Tuesday, Thursday 9:30am-10:15am. Class #19160. 4 pts. OFFC
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.l.
Magic, Religion & Inquisition RELST-UA.9671 (Same as MEDI-UA.9995.F01), Matteo
Tuesday 3:00pm-5:45pm. Class #10213. 4 pts. Location TBA
This course is made up of four sections. The first opens with an analysis of the intellectual foundations of the witch-hunt from late Antiquity to the early Renaissance. The second section concentrates on the most infamous handbook for witch-hunters, Malleus Maleficarum (“The Hammer of the Witches”) and on the roots of medieval misogyny. The third section looks at the mass witch-hunts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries on the backdrop of the break between Protestant and Catholic Europe, and examines the connections linking witch-hunting to the momentous social, political and religious changes of the times. In the fourth part, the course will shift focus to the grassroots level, shedding light on the economic and social mechanisms which lead a community to “make a witch”.