COURSES TAUGHT BY RELIGIOUS STUDIES FACULTY
Theories & Methods in the Study of Religion RELST-UA.1, McGrath
Tuesday, Thursday 11:00am-12:15pm. Class #9385. 4 pts. GCASL, Rm 261
Fundamental theoretical and methodological issues pertaining to the academic study of religion. Theories of the origin, character, and function of religion as a human phenomenon. Understanding and interpretation of religious phenomena through psychological, sociological, anthropological, historical, and hermeneutical perspectives.
Topics: TBA RELST-UA.244.002, Staff
Tuesday, Thursday 2:00pm-3:15pm. Class #10219. 4 pts. SILV, Rm 403
American Religion RELST-UA.480, Baysa
Monday, Wednesday 9:30am-10:45am. Class #20867. 4 pts. SILV, Rm 407
What has been the role of religion in America? Examines themes relevant to the study of religion through key moments in American history: the relationship between spiritual revivals, political upheavals, and social change from the American Revolution through the culture wars of the twentieth century; the role of religio-racial categories in shaping communities' experience with concepts like the separation of church and state, freedom of religion, and religious pluralism; the ways theologies have both united and divided Americans around the issues of slavery, racial injustice, and immigration; and the influence of religious organizations on democracy, settler colonialism, and imperialism abroad. Considers the present-day stakes for thinking critically about religion as it has shaped and continues to shape American politics, society and culture.
Seminar: Buddhism and Medicine RELST-UA.991, McGrath
Wednesday 2:00pm-4:45pm. Class #20868. 4 pts. 60 5th Ave., Rm C04.
This course will begin with a history of Buddhism and medicine over the past 2,500 years, focusing on early Buddhist responses to sickness and the integration of healing instructions into Buddhist scriptures. We will then consider the transmission of Buddhist medicine throughout Southeast, East, and Central Asia, concluding with the development of modern meditation therapies. By completing this course, students will learn the basic tenets of Buddhism and Asian medical traditions, while also exploring the relationship between religion, science, and medicine from the time of the Buddha down to our own pandemic world.
Internship RELST-UA.980, Staff
Permission required. Class #8287. 4 pts.
Independent Study RELST-UA.991, Staff
Permission required. Class #8288. 4 pts.
CROSS-LISTED COURSES TAUGHT BY FACULTY IN OTHER DEPARTMENTS
The Bible as Literature RELST-UA.23 (Same as HBRJD-UA.23), Feldman
Tuesday, Thursday 3:30pm-4:45pm. Class #21860. 4 pts. KIMM 914
Over the past few decades, many readers have come to a fuller appreciation of the emotional and imaginative power of the Bible's narratives, which still speak with remarkable clarity to our own sensibilities, leading one critic to characterize the Bible as a "full-fledged kindred spirit" of modernism. The course pursues this "kindred spirit", using a broadly literary approach as its guide. While the focus is on narrative— the Pentateuch (Genesis-Deuteronomy) and the Former Prophets (Joshua-Kings), as well as shorter narrative books (Ruth, Jonah, and Esther)—it also studies Ecclesiastes and Job as ancient precursors to modern skepticism. Finally, it studies one modernist engagement with the Bible: Kafka's Amerika.
Topics: Monsters and Jewish Modernity RELST-UA.244.001 (Same as HBRJD-UA.90), Henig
Tuesday, Thursday 3:30pm-4:45pm. Class #10219. 4 pts. 25 W4th, Rm C-20.
What is a monster? How does it come into being? Why do monsters capture modern imagination and at what historical junctions do they tend to reappear? From the Golem to Frankenstein, monsters have often figured the anxieties, fantasies, and collective distress of the societies from which they hail. Jewish modernity in particular saw the rapid reproduction of monstrous figures as metaphors for the ambivalent state of European Jews vis-à-vis their surrounding societies. Whether an outcast, a dangerous force from within or a defender against external persecutions, monsters totter on the border between imagination and destruction, conveying at once a promise and a threat. This course explores monstrosity as a critical framework through which we may reflect on such issues as belonging, gender, race, abnormality and hybridity. We shall consider the monstrous as it relates to “Jewish questions”, but also as a cultural figure with a life of its own, who recurs across times, languages, and cultures, embodying different states of outsiderness and exception.
Introduction to Ancient Indian Literature RELST-UA.335 (Same as MEIS-UA.718.001), Ilieva
Wednesday 4:55pm-7:40pm. Class #9321. 4 pts. GCASL, Rm 375
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.
Topics: The Ruin of Souls: A New History of Italian Religious Life RELST-UA.650 (Same as ITAL-UA.861), DiGioacchino
Monday, Wednesday 11:00am-12:15am. Class #29498. 4 pts. Casa Italiana, Auditorium
This course explores the religious life of Italian immigrants in the United States, aiming sometimes to prove true, and other times to repudiate, the general understanding of their experience outlined in the ethnic studies of the 1960s and 1970s. The time covered spans from the first preaching of Alessandro Gavazzi in New York City in 1853 to the present day. Considerable attention will be paid to the settlement of the first communities in Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia, their religious needs and strategies, their relationship with the religious hierarchies in Italy, their devotional and ecclesial practices. The course will also attempt to explore how Italian Americans have influenced and still influence religious discourse in America. In order to answer these and other questions, the course will examine religious and political materials produced by Italian communities, trying to shed light on the historic tensions and conflicts in religious history between the religious canon (the set of laws and norms produced by hierarchies at the time), and the actual practices and beliefs of the people.
The Quran and Its Interpretation RELST-UA.781 (Same as MEIS-UA.781.001), Katz
Monday, Wednesday 3:30pm-4:45pm. Class #21883. 4 pts. BOBS, Rm LL141.
The content, themes, and style of the Qur’an. Surveys the diversity of interpretive approaches to the text (legal, mystical, sectarian, literary, and politically engaged) in the medieval and modern periods.
Topics in Asian Studies: Popular Religion in Pre-modern China and Japan RELST-UA.983.002 (Same as EAST-UA.950.002), Harkness
Monday, Wednesday 3:30pm-4:45pm. Class #19409. 4 pts. 194 Mercer, Rm 306A.
This course will survey aspects of popular religion in East Asia from a sociological perspective. We will begin by examining the roots of China's best-known native religion, Daoism, its connections with pre-existing popular beliefs, and its role in the social upheavals of the late Han Dynasty and early medieval period. Our attention will then turn to the arrival of Buddhism in China and the complex process of cross-fertilization that informed developments in both Buddhist and Daoist circles. Concrete evidence from the spectacular medieval library discovered at Dunhuang will provide material for case studies in religious practice, and theme-based approaches to ritual, magical medicine, and the art of prophecy will highlight the diversity of functions played by religion in society. With some sense of the medieval Chinese context, we will then proceed to consider the case of early Japan by looking at the role of religion in international relations and the development of popular religious movements in Japan. Time permitting, we will try to view some of the related Japanese illustrated manuscripts in the New York Public Library's Spencer Collection. All course readings will be in English.
COURSES ABROAD APPLICABLE TO THE MAJOR OR MINOR
What Is Islam? RELST-UA.9085, Staff
Time TBA. Class #22294. 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 Central Europe RELST-UA.9360, Mucha
Tuesday, 10:30am-1:20pm. Class #19124. 4 pts. PRAG KUPKA
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 Histories of Crisis & Creativity RELST-UA.9672 (Same as HIST-UA.9117 and MEDI-UA.9017), Duni
Tuesday 3:00pm-5:45pm. Class #19003. 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.