COURSES TAUGHT BY RELIGIOUS STUDIES FACULTY
Religions of India RELST-UA.337 (Same as HIST-UA.117), Fleming
Tuesday, Thursday 3:30pm-4:45pm. Class #23806. 4 pts. Online
Examines Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, Jain, and Sikh traditions, as well as the ancient and modern contexts in which they are situated. Focuses on how various problems (material, intellectual, political) have served as catalysts for the formation and dissolution of communities of interpretation and practice and reexamines the multiple pasts of South Asia without projecting modern categories onto those traditions.
Gods and Profits: Religion and Capitalism RELST-UA.626 (Same as ANTH-UA.626), Oliphant
Tuesday, Thursday 2:00pm-3:15pm. Class #23809. 4 pts. Online
This course explores the "enchanted" production and reproduction of capitalism and the effects of capitalism on ever-transforming religious practices. Through a combination of classical and contemporary approaches in political economy, religious studies, and anthropology, we will address what makes capitalism a unique mode of exchange and explore examples of the spirits that haunt the market's invisible hand as well as those that resist its powerful reach. Our readings and discussions will cover important debates surrounding the history and origins of capitalism in Europe; classical anthropological writings on "pre-capitalist" economies encountered during European colonial expansion; and current writings that refuse the distinction between the supposedly separate spheres of religion and economy.
Religion and Media RELST-UA.645 (Same as ANTH-UA.220), Zito
Tuesday, Thursday 11:00am - 12:15pm. Class #25701. 4 pts. Online
Bible apps, gods on TV, apocalyptical movies, drums & incense...
As a part of social life, religion is always mediated in some form or other; "mediated" because human beings communicate only via material things. We need sounds, images, smells, touch, media to feed our senses. There are longstanding and complex connections between religious practices and various media. Yet, religion does not function simply as unchanging content, while media are ever changing forms. Instead shifts in media technique, from ritual innovations to the invention of printing, through TV, to the internet, also shape religious practice. In turn, religious concerns have famously pushed media invention, such as printing in Buddhist China and Christian Europe.
We will gather theoretical tools for understanding the form and politics of this mutual dialectic. We will analyze how human hearing, vision, and the performing body have been used historically to express and maintain religious life through music, voice, images, words, and rituals. Then we will spend time on more recent electronic media such as cassette, film, television, video, the internet and other forms of digital social media. We will consider how the mediation of religious practices constantly occurs under the powerful pressures of race, sexuality and gender, class and economic stratification. Among other things, we'll investigate: religious memory, both embodied and out-sourced in other media; religion, song and politics; the material culture of Hinduism (icons, relics, sutras); religion and commodification; film as religious experience; Christian Pentecostal media and the activist uses of social media. Be prepared to read, watch, discuss and write. We will be completely online—we will gather on Zoom, on a course website and on NYU Classes.
Seminar: St. Augustine’s City of God RELST-UA.991 (Same as CLASS-UA.291.002), Becker
Wednesday 2:00pm - 4:45pm. Class #23808. 4 pts. Online.
This seminar will focus on St. Augustine’s City of God. Brief lectures will set out the historical, literary, and intellectual context. However, a work such as this allows for questions and conversation that go well beyond its original setting. Our focus will be the text itself and the dialogue it provokes. Topics addressed include: Augustine’s critique of Roman religion, his relationship to Virgil and other Classical authors, his engagement with Greek philosophy, Christian political theology, the Christian understanding of history, the problem of suffering, demonology, the origin of evil, the creation of the human being, Original Sin, war and peace, judgment and punishment, eschatology (the end time), envisioning God, and Augustine’s doctrine of the two cities.
Texts and Ideas: God CORE-UA.420.020, de Vries
Tuesday, Thursday 9:30am-11:45am. Class #8620. 4 pts. Online.
See Albert for recitations. Syllabus
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 been 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.
Cultures and Contexts: Global Christianities CORE-UA.500, Oliphant
Monday, Wednesday 11:00am-12:15am. Class #19184. 4 pts. Online.
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. Explores the problems and possibilities Christian texts, concepts, institutions, and narratives have posed for a diversity of populations over distinct historical periods.
Permission required. Class #8483. 1-4 pts. Staff
Independent Study RELST-UA.998
Permission required. Class #8484. 1-4 pts. Staff.
CROSS-LISTED COURSES TAUGHT BY FACULTY IN OTHER DEPARTMENTS
Bible as Literature RELST-UA.23 (Same as HBRJD-UA.23), Feldman
Tuesday, Thursday 11:00am-12:15pm. Class #23322. 4 pts. Online. Syllabus
Approaches the Bible as a “full-fledged kindred spirit” of modernism through a broadly literary approach. The focus is on narrative—the Pentateuch (Genesis to Deuteronomy), the Former Prophets (Joshua to Kings), and the shorter narrative books (Ruth, Jonah, and Esther)—but also studies Ecclesiastes and Job as ancient precursors to modern skepticism. Examines one modernist engagement with the Bible: Kafka’s Amerika.
Saint Patrick: From Slave to Patron Saint RELST-UA.181 (Same as IRISH-UA 991), Waidler
Monday, Wednesday 2:00pm-3:15pm. Class #22993. 4 pts. Online. Syllabus
This course will focus on the figure of Saint Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, whose feastday is celebrated around the world on March 17th. Starting with his own writings from the early Middle Ages in which he tells how he was captured and brought to Ireland as a slave at the age of sixteen and defends himself against an unknown wrong, we will explore what can be known of the man behind the saint and trace the many interpretations of his legend across medieval and early modern history, ending with an examination of how he is seen in the modern period and throughout the world today. Students will explore how Patrick came to be seen as the chief saint of Ireland and the seventh-century political machinations behind the promotion of his cult, how he came to be associated with Jewish roots and viewed as a Moses of the Irish, 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. 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.
Classical Mythology RELST-UA.404 (Same as CLASS-UA.404), Meineck
Tuesday, Thursday 11:00am-12:15pm. Class #8482. 4 pts. Online
Discusses the myths and legends of Greek and Roman mythology and the gods, demigods, heroes, nymphs, monsters, and everyday mortals who played out their parts in this mythology. 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.
Creating a Good Society: Christian and Jewish Perspectives RELST-UA.428 (Same as HBRJD-UA.428), Gottlieb.
Wednesday, 11:00am-1:00pm. Class #23330. 4 pts. Online
Central questions: What is the best form of government? What economic system is ideal? Should government actively promote a vision of the good life or leave it to individuals to decide the good for themselves? Should government prioritize the freedom, equality, or happiness of its inhabitants? What role should religion and nationhood play in society? What models of education should government promote? Careful analysis of primary texts by Plato, Maimonides, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft, Mendelssohn, Marx, and Hess. Recommended prerequisite: Living a Good Life: Greek and Jewish Perspectives HBRJD-UA 422.
Islamic Law & Society RELST-UA.785 (Same as MEIS-UA.780), Katz
Monday, Wednesday 3:30pm-4:45pm. Class #23977. 4 pts. Online
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.
Gender and Violence SCA-UA.493.001, Pelligrini
Monday, Wednesday 2:00pm-3:15pm. Class #23819. 4 pts. Online.
See Albert for recitations.
This class explores the relationship between gender and violence from a range of disciplinary vantage-points and through a diverse archive of materials (including performance and film, literature, law, and photography). As a way to focus our investigations, units in the course will be organized around a series of case studies, among them: campus sexual assault, Abu Ghraib, civil disobedience and political protest, anti-trans violence, and trigger warnings. Throughout the semester, we will pay especial attention to how gender-based violence is shaped by other social variables, such as class, race, and religion. How do these terms get put to work in public debates, policy decisions, and scholarship – and with what effects, positive and negative? What do we mean when we say “violence” and according to whose perspective is something “violent”? Rather than assuming we know in advance what any of the course’s keywords means (gender, violence, religion, and race), over the course of the semester we will together seek to refine and rethink these terms individually and in relation.
Religion, Politics & State in Comparative Perspective, RELST-UA.9613, Staff
Monday, Wednesday 3pm-4:15pm. Class #9719. 4 pts. NYU Tel Aviv. Blended
Ever since the French Revolution, if not before, some of the best minds in the social sciences have been sure that the primacy of religion in modern society was entering its twilight. This view has only accentuated with the end of the Cold War, the "Third Wave of Democratization," and increasing globalization. In fact, we are still waiting for this twilight to appear; religion continues to shape individual values, social organization, state institutions, and international relations – perhaps more than ever before. As a result, the academic literature has been experiencing a revival of religious studies, but not only as its own field of study within the humanities, rather within the lens of the social sciences as well, whether in comparative politics, international relations, sociology, or even economics. The central aim of this course is to examine different theoretical approaches, analytical concepts, and empirical manifestations in the interaction between religion, state, and politics. The course is comparative in three ways, and thusly divided: In the first part of the course, we seek to understand how different social science disciplines study religion. The second part of the course presents different interactions between religion and politics, such as the secularization debate, the compatibility between religion and different types of government, and the role of religion in shaping identity and different types of political organization. The third part of the course will apply these different approaches and concepts to the study of "real world" empirical developments, both historical and contemporary, particularly within the Middle East.