Annual 2022-2023 Class Schedule
|Magic, Monsters, and the Macabre: The Bizarre Middle Ages
ENG 324-20 Magic, Monsters, and the Macabre: The Bizarre Middle Ages
People in the middle ages were fascinated by the strange, the morbid, and the otherworldly. The supernatural and the macabre were pervasive in their art and literature, from stories about werewolves, ghosts, and the walking dead; to tales of deceptive demons and paranormal creatures; to visions of the afterlife and meditations on death. Medieval people used these themes to express and explore anxieties about the unknown, the frightening, and the ‘other.’ They imagined monsters at the boundaries of their social worlds, employed demons to explain their dangerous desires, and painted dancing skeletons and graphic images of hell in public spaces. At the same time, they also used the bizarre to construct and reflect on their own identities.
This class will be broken into four units that explore magic, monsters, and the macabre in the middle ages:
Each unit will feature selections of medieval literature and art, as well works of media that interpret the middle ages (Monty Python and the Holy Grail; The Seventh Seal) or illuminate the endurance of these themes in the modern world (Michael Jackson’s Thriller music video, episodes of Stranger Things, scenes from The Matrix). Drawing on secondary readings and short lectures, we will explore this material from a range of critical and theoretical perspectives, including queer theory, disability theory, and race theory. Students will each produce a creative final project that draws on medieval sources and modern media to explore how the strange, the supernatural, and the macabre can be used to circumscribe and demonize particular groups; or how they can be used radically and subversively by marginalized communities as they work to thrive in strange, hostile worlds. Counts towards Religion, Health and Medicine (RHM) religious studies major concentration.
|First Year Seminar: Queer Religion
REL 101-6-20 First Year Seminar: Queer Religion
(Fall 2022, Dr. Ashley King)
|First Year Seminar: The American Border: Politics, Policy, Theology
REL 101-6-21 First Year Seminar: The American Border: Politics, Policy, Theology
(Winter 2023, Professor Elizabeth Shakman Hurd)
|First Year Seminar: Afterlives and Living After: Envisioning Other Worlds
REL 101-6-23 First Year Seminar: Afterlives and Living After: Envisioning Other Worlds
(Spring 2023, Dr. Lily Stewart)
|Introduction to Religion
REL 170-20 Introduction to Religion
(Winter 2023, Professor Michelle Molina)
|REL 170-26 ONLINE
|Introduction to Religion
REL 170-26 ONLINE Introduction to Religion
(Summer 2024, Professor Michelle Molina)
|Introduction to Religion, Media, & Culture
REL 172-20 Introduction to Religion, Media, & Culture
(Fall 2022, Professor Sarah Taylor)
|Introduction to Religion, Media, and Culture
REL 172-21 Introduction to Religion, Media, and Culture
(Spring 2023, Professor Sarah Taylor)
|Introduction to Hinduism
REL 200-20 Introduction to Hinduism
One of the largest and most ancient of all religions, 'Hinduism' is actually a family of related traditions. Over the last 4000 years or more, the Hindu traditions of South Asia have developed an astonishing diversity of rituals, beliefs, and spiritual practices and a pantheon of hundreds of gods and goddesses, from the elephant-headed Ganesa to the fierce goddess Kali. This course will examine the breadth of the Hindu traditions as they developed over time, highlighting the shared features that make them a family, such as ritual sacrifice, world renunciation, law, spiritual discipline, devotion, worship, and theology.
|Introduction to Buddhism
REL 210-20 Introduction to Buddhism
This course provides an introduction to key aspects of the Buddhist religious traditions of multiple Asian countries and the United States. Through careful examination of a variety of literature produced by these traditions, we will consider the ways in which Buddhists have understood human suffering, life after death, karma, merit, the nature of the world and human's place within it, and the path to enlightenment. Our emphasis will be on attempting to understand the moral values, philosophical insights, ritual practices, and social concerns that have shaped Buddhism over centuries of dynamic change in diverse cultural contexts. We will examine not only the history of Buddhism and its three-fold division into Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana, but also facets of the contemporary practice of Buddhism with a focus on the place of mindfulness in America. In addition to textbook readings, course readings privilege primary source readings in order to introduce students directly to the narrative, doctrinal, liturgical, and biographical texts that inform our knowledge of what it has meant to live a Buddhist life over time and across cultures.
|Introduction to Hebrew Bible
REL 220-20 Introduction to Hebrew Bible
There is no understating the significance of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament in Western Culture. The Bible is a text that has been repeatedly turned to for spiritual guidance, for explanations of mankind's origins and as the basis of both classical art and contemporary cinema. English idiom is peppered with phrases that originate in the Hebrew Bible and many a modern political clash can be understood as a conflict over what the Bible's messages and their implications. This course introduces students to the Hebrew Bible by reading sections of most of the Bible's books. But reading is itself a complicated enterprise. The Bible has been put to many different uses; even within the world of academic scholarship, the Bible is sometimes a source of history, sometimes a religious manual, sometimes a primitive legal code and sometimes a work of classical literature. This course will introduce students to the various challenges that present themselves within the study of the Hebrew Bible and the varied approaches scholars take when reading the Hebrew Bible. This course is a critical introduction to the Hebrew Bible.
|Introduction to New Testament
REL 221-20 Introduction to New Testament
The New Testament has influenced the lives and experiences of individuals and communities across the globe for thousands of years. It has served as a source of structure, meaning, and hope for many while also influencing ideologies and practices of bigotry and violence. But what do we really know about the world in which the New Testament was produced? What was the project of Jesus and his followers and why was it so polarizing? What authors composed the New Testament’s texts and what can we glean about their audiences and motivations? Why were some texts chosen for the canon of the New Testament and others left out?
This course will consider the New Testament from a range of vantage points. We will use historical methodologies to explore the complex networks of religious practices, cultural ideologies, and political actors that influenced its production. We will also consider how the New Testament has been read and reproduced in the past 2000 years. We will discuss a range of theological perspectives, analyze the impact of the New Testament on art and literature, and assess its role in global politics. Students will be exposed to interpretations of the New Testament from the perspectives of eco criticism, queer theory, disability theory, and liberation theology, among other critical lenses.
|Introduction to Judaism
REL 230-20 Introduction to Judaism
|REL 230-26 ONLINE
|Introduction to Judaism
REL 230-26 ONLINE Introduction to Judaism
(Summer 2024, Professor Barry Wimpfheimer)
|Introduction to Christianity
REL 240-20 Introduction to Christianity
This course approaches the Christian religion through the lens of its central act of communal worship, the Mass, specifically as contemporary bass-baritone Davóne Tines has curated and performed it. The practice of Christianity is where we situate our reflections: the liturgical intoning of words that have been chanted for centuries: kyrie eleison (Lord, have mercy), agnus dei (lamb of God), credo (Creed), sanctus (Holy, holy, holy), and benedictus (benediction). Where these words come from, how they are put together, and why they are arranged in a particular order are questions we explore in order to work out their meaning. Topics addressed will be how Christians interpret the Bible, how they make claims about God in relation to self and world, and how ideas about Christianity have changed (while remaining recognizable as a tradition) in different cultural settings. Readings are chosen from the inheritances—past and present—of western Christianity.
|REL 250-20 / MENA 290-5-20
|Introduction to Islam
REL 250-20 / MENA 290-5-20 Introduction to Islam
This course introduces Islam, one of the major religious traditions of world history, developing a framework for understanding how Muslims in varying times and places have engaged with Islamic scripture and the prophetic message of the Prophet Muhammad through diverse sources: theological, philosophical, legal, political, mystical, literary and artistic. While we aim to grasp broad currents and narrative of Islamic history, we will especially concentrate on the origins and development of the religion in its formative period (the prophetic career of the Prophet Muhammad, the Qur'an, Islamic belief and ritual, Islamic law, and popular spirituality) and debates surrounding Islam in the contemporary world (the impact of European colonialism on the Muslim world, the rise of the modern Muslim state, and discourses on gender, politics and violence).
|REL 264-20 / HIS 200-22
|American Religious History from 1865 to the Great Depression
REL 264-20 / HIS 200-22 American Religious History from 1865 to the Great Depression
This course examines major developments, movements, controversies, and figures in American religious history from the end of the Civil War, as the nation struggled to make sense of the carnage of war and to apportion responsibility, to the 1930s, when economic crisis strained social bonds and intimate relations and challenged Americans to rethink the nature of public responsibility. Topics include urban religion; religion and changing technologies; African American religion; religion and politics; and the religious practices of immigrants and migrants.
|REL 265-20 / HIS 200-25 / AMER_ST 310-50
|American Religious History from WWII to Present (RLP)
REL 265-20 / HIS 200-25 / AMER_ST 310-50 American Religious History from WWII to Present (RLP)
This course examines major developments, movements, controversies and figures in American religious history from the 1920s, the era of excess and disillusionment, to the 1980s, which saw the revival of conservative Christianity in a nation becoming increasingly religiously diverse. Topics include the liberalism/fundamentalism controversy of the 1920s; the rise of Christian realism in the wake of the carnage of World War I; the making of the "tri-faith nation" (Protestant/Catholic/Jew); the supernatural Cold War; the Civil Rights Movement; the revolution in American Catholicism following the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the rise of Catholic political radicalism in the 1960s; religion and the post-1965 immigration act; the religious politics of abortion; and the realignment of American religion and politics in the 1970s and 1980s. Counts towards Religion, Law and Politics (RLP) major concentration.
|NEW COURSE: Introduction to Textual Languages: Sanskrit 1
REL 305-1-20 NEW COURSE: Introduction to Textual Languages: Sanskrit 1
This course is the first of a two quarter sequence that provides instruction in the Sanskrit language for beginners. No prior knowledge is required. It begins a comprehensive introduction to the Sanskrit language, while engaging students from the beginning in the practice of translation.
|NEW COURSE: Introduction to Textual Languages: Sanskrit 2
REL 305-2-20 NEW COURSE: Introduction to Textual Languages: Sanskrit 2
This course is the second of a two quarter sequence that provides instruction in the Sanskrit language for beginners. Students continue a comprehensive introduction to the Sanskrit language through the study of its forms and through translation. Prerequisite: RELIGION 305-1.
|REL 312-20 / ASIAN_LC 390-0-20
|Buddhism and Gender (RSG)
REL 312-20 / ASIAN_LC 390-0-20 Buddhism and Gender (RSG)
(Fall 2022, Professor Sarah Jacoby)
|REL 318-21 / ASIAN_LC 300-21
|Religion and Politics in the People's Republic of China (RLP)
REL 318-21 / ASIAN_LC 300-21 Religion and Politics in the People's Republic of China (RLP)
This course will examine the role of religion in post-1980’s China with an emphasis on the political implications of the practice of religion in the People’s Republic of China. Students will read various forms of literature and policy documents to assess the extent to which Marxist theory is central to the interpretation of “religion” in Communist China. Primary sources will include Chinese constitutional articles, white papers, and editorials in English translation. Secondary sources will cover a wide range of interpretations and perspectives on the position of religious institutions and religious practices in the PRC. The first part of this course will investigate the expression of religiosity under Communism in China; the rehabilitation of Confucian values; the constitutional protection of religion and religious belief in China; the relationship between ethnicity and religious policies; the Sinicization of religion; and the administration of the five officially accepted religious traditions in the People’s Republic of China (Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism, Daoism, and Islam). The second part of the course will focus on the recent cases related to the Muslim Uyghurs of Xinjiang and the Tibetan Buddhists of Western China. The class will explore some of the most controversial issues related to these two ethnic minorities including terrorism, religious violence, nationalism, assimilation, foreign influence, and soft power. The course format will consist of both lectures and discussions, during which students will be encouraged to exercise critical thinking and lead in-class presentations. Students will analyze various types of documents, critically evaluate content and concepts, and endeavor to synthesize the information and communicate it effectively and thoroughly.Counts towards Religion, Law, and Politics (RLP) major concentration.
|REL 318-22 / ASIAN_LC 290-0-20
|East Asian Religious Classics
REL 318-22 / ASIAN_LC 290-0-20 East Asian Religious Classics
This course explores some of the most influential texts of the major East Asian religious and philosophical traditions including Confucianism, Daoism, Chan/Zen Buddhism, and Tibetan Buddhism still prominent in China, Japan, Tibet, and several other Asian societies today. The goal is to understand their significance in East Asian cultures, as well as consider what we can learn from these texts today. This course will probe the following questions: What are the major themes, dilemmas, and issues these texts address? How can humans achieve contentment in the world? What are the moral values these texts instill? Beyond this historical focus, this course will also reflect on ways that these literary and religious texts have been appropriated and adapted in the modern context. Each period dedicated to a specific text will be preceded by an introduction to the tradition it represents offering a historical background together with biographical and/or content outlines. Format The course format will include a combination of lecture and discussion. Students will be encouraged to exercise critical thinking and to participate in class discussions. Students will analyze primary source material in translation, critically evaluate content and concepts, and will be encouraged to synthesize the information and communicate it effectively and thoroughly.
|REL 318-22 / ASIAN_LC 390-20
|Martial Arts, Religion, and Philosophy in East Asia
REL 318-22 / ASIAN_LC 390-20 Martial Arts, Religion, and Philosophy in East Asia
This course offers the opportunity to investigate martial art culture in Japanese society in the centuries between the Tokugawa shogunate takeover in the sixteenth century until the aftermath of WWII. Students will learn how samurai military culture and the Japanese art of sword fighting (kenjutsu) evolved conceptually from a system of fighting to cut down an adversary to one aimed at personal spiritual growth and cultivation of the mind. Course readings include treatises, essays, and poetry (waka, haiku) by several expert Japanese swordsmen including feudal lords, samurai, Buddhist monks, and philosophers who highlight not just actual combat techniques, but also the inward aspects that can lead to psycho-spiritual realization. Grounded in Confucian virtues, Buddhist doctrine, and the Shinto worldview, these figures discuss martial arts not only as mere external techniques of death, but also as inner techniques of life. In this course students will read works in English translation by and about several authors including Yagyu Munenori (1571-1646), Soho Takuan (1573-1645), Miyamoto Musashi (1582-1645), Kaibara Ekiken (1630-1714), Yamamoto Tsenetomo (1659-1719), Daidoji Yuzan (1639-1730), Yamaoka Tesshu (1836-1888), Takahashi Deishu (1835-1903), Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki (1870-1966), Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969), Taisen Deshimaru (1914-1982), and Omori Sogen Roshi (1904-1994). Some of the probing questions we will address are: what instigated the separation between traditional martial systems (bujustu) and modern martial arts (budo)? Where do the spiritual and the physical intersect in martial arts? What is the relationship between Buddhist doctrine and violence in the art of the sword? What does it mean for Aikido to be promoted as an "art of peace"? What kind of values can modern martial arts instill in their practitioners?
|REL 318-23 / ASIAN_LC 390-22
|Fate, Fortune, and Karma in East Asia
REL 318-23 / ASIAN_LC 390-22 Fate, Fortune, and Karma in East Asia
Are our actions free or fated? What larger forces shape the choices we make? To what do we owe our successes, and what is to blame for our mistakes? In East Asian religions, such questions have been answered with reference to a variety of different concepts of fate, fortune, and karma. These concepts shape not only how people have viewed the world, but also how they have made their way through life. This class focuses on religious approaches to questions of destiny in premodern East Asia. We begin by studying Indian Buddhist ideas of karma and early Chinese notions of fate and fortune preceding Buddhism's arrival in China, then turn to the ways people in China and Japan negotiated these various concepts over the many centuries following the arrival of Buddhism. In the end, we discover important throughlines amid the diversity of religious responses to the problem of destiny in East Asian history.
|REL 319-20 / ASIAN_LC 390-23
REL 319-20 / ASIAN_LC 390-23 Chan/Zen Buddhism
The Chinese Chan (Japanese Zen) Buddhist tradition is one of the most famous branches of Buddhism in the world, but also one of the most widely misunderstood. This course explores the history, literature, philosophy, visual culture, and monastic practices of Chan/Zen Buddhism in East Asia. We pay special attention to the ways Chan/Zen innovated within the Buddhist tradition to establish a uniquely East Asian school of Buddhism. Along the way we consider the changing place of meditation in Chan/Zen practice, closely read Chan/Zen sermons and koans, analyze the role of women and gender in Chan and Zen, and conclude by considering the modern reception of Zen in the West.
|REL 319-21 / ASIAN_LC 390-20
|Buddhism and Violence (RLP)
REL 319-21 / ASIAN_LC 390-20 Buddhism and Violence (RLP)
(Winter 2023, Professor Antonio Terrone)
Some of the provocative questions that this course asks include: Why and how is religion involved in politics? Is Buddhism a pacifist religion? How does religion rationalize violence? How can some Buddhist leaders embrace terror as a political tool? Are the recent practices of self-immolation in Tibet acts of violence? Can non-violence be violent?
Counts toward Religion, Law, and Politics (RLP) religious studies major concentration.
|REL 319-22 / ASIAN_LC 390-21
|Buddhist Literature in Translation
REL 319-22 / ASIAN_LC 390-21 Buddhist Literature in Translation
In this course, students will read writings from Buddhist canonical and non-canonical literature on a variety of subjects to gain an introduction to the variety of literary genres used in Buddhist works, as well as to consider the central tenets of the Buddhist literary tradition these works convey. Who was the Buddha? What did he preach? Why do we suffer and how do we realize enlightenment? How should one follow the Buddhist path? What metaphors and parables have Buddhists used to convey these insights over the centuries? Students will be able to explore these and other questions through a selection of English translations of original texts in Sanskrit, Pali, Chinese, and Tibetan including the life of the Buddha, his sayings, Buddhist sutras, and Buddhist autobiographies. As this course is an introduction to Buddhist literature, there are no prerequisites, and students will gain familiarity with Buddhist teachings through engaging directly with primary sources in translation.
|From Jacob’s Tents to Katz’s Deli: American Judaism and “Sacred Space”
REL 339-20 From Jacob’s Tents to Katz’s Deli: American Judaism and “Sacred Space”
(Spring 2023, Dr. Ariel Schwartz)
|Medicine, Miracles, and Magic: Healthcare in the Middle Ages (RHM)
REL 349-20 Medicine, Miracles, and Magic: Healthcare in the Middle Ages (RHM)
Today, religion and science are often regarded as separate spheres of knowledge and practice, but was this always the case? In this class, we will explore the overlapping uses of medicine, miracles, and magic in premodern healthcare. We will ask what kinds of people were able to practice medicine (priests? physicians? nuns? magicians?), why a person’s barber was also their surgeon, how the dead supported the health of the living, and why rituals like confession could treat stomach aches and other ailments.
We will learn what a vial of urine could tell a medieval physician about a patient’s habits, consider how an individual’s astrological sign influenced their treatment plan, and discuss what an excess of garlic in a person’s diet might tell us about the moral state of their spirit. By the end of this course, students will be able to identify and analyze the complex, nuanced systems that medieval people used to theorize the body and its relationship to the soul, and will be able to articulate how physical, spiritual, and even supernatural medicines were often combined to treat both.
As we study the nuances of premodern medicine, we will also work to rethink the relationship between religion and science in our own world, and consider whether and where our modern healthcare practices align with the past as much as they depart from it.
Counts toward Religion, Health, and Medicine (RHM) major concentration.
|REL 354-20 / MENA 390-5-1
REL 354-20 / MENA 390-5-1 Sufism
This course introduces Sufism, the ‘mystical’ tradition of Islam. After critically examining the concept of ‘mysticism’ within Religious Studies, we will examine the historical origins of Sufism, its emergence from and relationship to foundational discourses within Islam, its engagement with the Qur’an, and the figure of the Prophet Muhammad in Sufi devotions. We will then investigate notions of ‘sainthood’ in Islam, the roles of Sufism in popular Muslim piety, the centrality of the body and bodily disciplines in Sufi practice, and the critique and defense of Sufism in the context of colonialism. The course will offer a broad introduction to the historical and geographic range of Sufism in Islam, but will give special attention to Sufi traditions in the Indian subcontinent. We will conclude with critical reflections on the place of Sufism in contemporary Islam.
|REL 359-20 / ANTHRO 384-20 / MENA 301-3-20
|Traveling while Muslim: Islam, Mobility and Security after 9/11 (RLP)
REL 359-20 / ANTHRO 384-20 / MENA 301-3-20 Traveling while Muslim: Islam, Mobility and Security after 9/11 (RLP)
Particularly after the 9/11 attacks and during the long war on terror, Muslims on the move—ranging from international students, pilgrims, tourists and artists—have faced increasing scrutiny and surveillance in both global travel economies and national immigration regimes. These regimes gained even more importance under the rule of authoritarian leaders in power across the globe from the US to India. What often unites Modi’s India and Trump’s United States is Islamophobia—albeit in different guises—as racialization of Islam and Muslims continues to punctuate and puncture our current era. What are the stakes of traveling while Muslim in that post 9/11 era of racing Islam? How do we come to understand such mobility? What assumptions underpin the attendant constructions of religion and race in such understandings, as various state and non-state actors enlist themselves to manage the movements of Muslims, specifically and exceptionally? In probing these questions, amongst others, in this seminar we aim to examine the interlocked relationship between Islam, mobility and security. We have three aims: (1) becoming exposed to studies of Islam and Islamophobia in the US and across the globe, (2) gaining a better understanding of religion as a center tenet in a deeply uneven and racialized regime of ‘global’ mobility, and lastly, (3) critically analyzing global and local designs of security that manage those differential regimes of mobility. Counts towards Religion, Law, and Politics (RLP) major concentration.
|REL 359-23 / MENA 301-3-23
|Islam and Colonialism
REL 359-23 / MENA 301-3-23 Islam and Colonialism
This course examines the effects of colonialism on Islam and the effects of Islam on colonialism. It is designed to acquaint students with the broad history of European colonialism and imperialism from the 17th to the 20th century, and the roles of that history in shaping modern Muslim societies. It begins with the concept of “Orientalism” and how Orientalist representations of Islam fueled Europe’s “civilizing mission.” It then considers colonialism’s impact on multiple dimensions of Islam and Muslim societies, including (but not limited to) Islamic law, Muslim worship and ritual life, forms and systems of knowledge, and the status of women. It ends with the rise of anticolonial resistance and the formation of proto-Islamist movements in the early twentieth century.
|REL 360-26 ONLINE
|The Black Atlantic -- A Religious Interpretation
REL 360-26 ONLINE The Black Atlantic -- A Religious Interpretation
(Summer 2024, Marlon Millner)
Finally, the category of religion itself is at stake, as more and more Black and diasporic persons embrace labels like humanist, spiritual-but-not-religious, and not affiliated (or nones). These nontheistic and non-institutional labels open up forms of African American religiosity that embrace the practices and rituals of African American religions, but often for symbolic, cultural, or artistic reasons, do not demand adherence to these pre- scribed rituals, belief in a particular set of doctrines, or a commitment to certain communities of practice.
What is the relationship between African Americans, Diaspora and Religion? The categories of religion and race emerge within the encounter between Europeans and Africans in New World conquest and enslavement. This suggests geography, conflict, and the entanglement and or emergence of cultures offer a story of religion in spatial, relational and temporal ways. This course will trace religion as a mapping of space, a motion of time and a making sense of encounter of Black movement. Black Diaspora, a religious interpretation will therefore examine key words, or themes, such as: SOUL, SPIRIT, AFRICA, FREEDOM, SONG and more in a multi-sensory exploration of sound, sight, texts, tastes, ritual, resistance and more. This course will use readings, music, visual art and videos.
|REL 369-24 / ENVR_POL 390
|Media, Earth, and Making a Difference (RLP)
REL 369-24 / ENVR_POL 390 Media, Earth, and Making a Difference (RLP)
(Spring 2023, Professor Sarah Taylor)
|REL 374-20 / AF_AM_ST 380-21
|Soul Beauty: Religion and Black Expressive Cultures
REL 374-20 / AF_AM_ST 380-21 Soul Beauty: Religion and Black Expressive Cultures
W. E. B. Du Bois in his text "The Souls of Black Folks" states, "The innate love of harmony and beauty that set the ruder souls of his people a-dancing, a-singing, and a-laughing raised but confusion and doubt in the soul of the black artist; for the beauty revealed to him was the soul-beauty of a race which his larger audience despised, and he could not articulate the message of another people." This course examines how religion becomes the source language and practices for Black artists to express what it means to be Black in the Americas. Primary text for course is "Spirit in the Dark: A Religious History of Racial Aesthetics," by Josef Sorett. Additional materials include Katherine Dunham, Barbara McTeer, Toni Morrison, Beyoncé, and Kendrick Lamar among others. Course evaluation based on Canvas discussion posts, group facilitation, a short art review, and a final webpage project.
|REL 379-20 / AF_AM 381-21 / LACS 391-20
|Religion, Culture, and Resistance in the Caribbean (RLP)
REL 379-20 / AF_AM 381-21 / LACS 391-20 Religion, Culture, and Resistance in the Caribbean (RLP)
(Fall 2022, Prof. Dennis Meade)
|REL 379-22 / HIST 395-30 / HUM 325-5 / LATIN_AM 391-22
|Refugees/Migration/ Exile: A workshop in digital visual story-telling (RLP, RSG)
REL 379-22 / HIST 395-30 / HUM 325-5 / LATIN_AM 391-22 Refugees/Migration/ Exile: A workshop in digital visual story-telling (RLP, RSG)
(Winter 2023, Professor Michelle Molina)
In this course, students will be asked to begin with a case study among the many refugee and migration crises that have dominated the news cycle in recent years. In developing individual research projects, we will foreground different methodological approaches: 1) To move beyond journalism, we will conduct primary and secondary historical research to understand the complex historical roots of the particular case study). 2) We will analyze and practice forms of ethnographic writing to help students better situate and describe the lived experience of migration and exile, both past and present. 3) We will also pay attention to various forms of media, whether print culture, sound, or visual media, to interrogate but also experiment with contemporary modes of narrating and conveying human experience in the digital age.
Students are required to petition for permission to enroll in the class. Your brief statement should include: Your name, your major(s), one short paragraph on the reason why you have an interest in honing your research skills in the direction of the digital humanities, and second short paragraph on a topic about migration and exile that motivates your desire to do further research on the topic. Attach a recent news item (article or video) about the topic that drives your interests. This will help me organize our first sessions in Winter Quarter.
Our work in class will be collaborative, thus a key prerequisite is that you are mature and self-motivated. You do not need to have prior research experience, but you need to demonstrate a desire to dig into your topic and hone your ability to write deeply informed, rigorous, and nuanced arguments and to think about creative ways to bring that rigorous detail to visual story-telling.
|REL 379-23 / GNDR_ST 361-22
|Science Fiction and Social Justice (RLP, RSG)
REL 379-23 / GNDR_ST 361-22 Science Fiction and Social Justice (RLP, RSG)
This course will examine major utopian and dystopian texts and films in relation to social justice issues in the twentieth century and beyond, while following the stories of artists, organizers, and communities that have used speculative world-building to imagine livable, sustainable futures. We will focus on how feminist, anarchist, LGBTQ, and Afrofuturist art and activism have contributed to a substantial critical discourse on the intersections of science, technology, ecology, war, race, gender, sexuality, health, and ability.
This course will further examine how artists and activists have understood religion as both impediment and partner to social justice work, while alternatively embracing, subverting, and defying religious authority. We will attend to how religious myths and imagery are sampled and remixed by science fiction authors to plot an alternative course for history. *Counts towards Religion, Law and Politics (RLP) and Religion, Sexuality and Gender (RSG) major concentrations.
|Religion and Magic (RHM)
REL 379-24 Religion and Magic (RHM)
Contrary to what many assume, magic and religion are not binary opposites. Rather, magic often draws upon the belief systems, the rituals, even the structures of authority provided by religion. Frequently it meets disapproval from others in the religious tradition, but not always. If magic in many of its forms is integrally linked to religion, however, we still have to examine how the two are connected, how a particular form of magic relates to a specific religious tradition, how it challenges what people believe, how it can both subvert and be coopted by authority, and how it serves people's perceived needs differently from other religious practices. Counts toward Religion, Health, and Medicine (RHM) major concentration.
|Theories of Religion
REL 395-20 Theories of Religion
What is "theory"? What does it mean to have a theory about something? How are theories helpful? What do theories do? What is "religion"? How do things get excluded or included in this category? What counts as "religious" and why? Who gets to decide? This course is an introduction to foundational theories of religion and to the history of the construction of the category of "religion" over time. Throughout the term, you will be working on formulating your own theory of religion, which you will articulate and defend in your final seminar paper. In this course, you will gain (as ritual theorist Catherine Bell says) "the skills and tools to make sure that very complicated situations and ideas can be put into words, thereby making it possible to have discussions about issues that can only be discussed if there is language for reflexivity, nuance, counter-evidence, and doubt." In the process, you will be asked to make theory translatable to your peers by actively engaging theoretical concepts in creative ways.
|Graduate Seminar: Topics in Christianity: Medieval Women Writers
REL 460-20 Graduate Seminar: Topics in Christianity: Medieval Women Writers
Requirements: regular attendance and participation; one oral presentation (10 min.) based on a short paper; term paper of 12-15 pp., with a bibliography of at least 10 items.
|REL 468-20 / GERMAN 408-1
|Graduate Seminar: Critical Theory and Religion
|Orsi / Helmer
REL 468-20 / GERMAN 408-1 Graduate Seminar: Critical Theory and Religion
(Winter 2023, Professor Robert Orsi and Professor Christine Helmer)
|REL 473-20 / ASIAN_LG 492-20
|Graduate Level: Tibetan language religious & literary texts
REL 473-20 / ASIAN_LG 492-20 Graduate Level: Tibetan language religious & literary texts
Studies in Buddhism: Tibetan language religious & literary texts.
|Graduate Seminar: Classical Theories of Religion
REL 481-1-20 Graduate Seminar: Classical Theories of Religion
(Winter 2023, Brannon Ingram)
|REL 482-20 / ANTHRO 490-27
|Graduate Seminar: Anthropology of Religion: Colonial Contexts
REL 482-20 / ANTHRO 490-27 Graduate Seminar: Anthropology of Religion: Colonial Contexts
Sovereignty and Space in Colonial and Migratory Contexts:
In this seminar, our readings will first delve into “religion” as key to colonial place-making, referring simultaneously to top-down imposition and quotidian habituation. This historical-ethnographic frame becomes crucial to how we will approach readings about competing modes of sovereignty in colonial contexts. In the second part of the course, attention to sovereignty, space, place, and temporality shifts when we “unroot” and follow migrants and refugees. How, then, are we to think about time, temporary place-making, and the relatively unstudied way that “religion” is itself stabilizing and destabilizing for migrants/refugees?”
|REL 482-21 / GENDER_ST 490-23
|Graduate Level: Feminist Theory and the Study of Religion
REL 482-21 / GENDER_ST 490-23 Graduate Level: Feminist Theory and the Study of Religion
(Winter 2023, Prof. Sarah Jacoby)