Annual 2023-2024 Class Schedule
|Course #||Course Title||Fall||Winter||Spring|
|REL 101-7-20||First-Year College Seminar: Learning Spaces, Learned Bodies||Shira E. Schwartz|
REL 101-7-20 First-Year College Seminar: Learning Spaces, Learned Bodies
(Fall 2023, Professor Shira Schwartz)
|REL 101-7-21||First-Year College Seminar: Queer Religion||King|
REL 101-7-21 First-Year College Seminar: Queer Religion
(Fall 2023, Dr. Ashley King)
|REL 101-8-20||First-Year Writing Seminar: Paying Attention||Buckelew|
REL 101-8-20 First-Year Writing Seminar: Paying Attention
(Winter 2024, Professor Kevin Buckelew)
|REL 101-8-21||First-Year Writing Seminar: Fiction & Memoir as Pathways into US Religious History||Orsi|
REL 101-8-21 First-Year Writing Seminar: Fiction & Memoir as Pathways into US Religious History
(Winter 2024, Professor Robert Orsi)
|REL 101-8-22||First-Year Writing Seminar: Afterlives and Living After: Envisioning Other Worlds||Stewart|
REL 101-8-22 First-Year Writing Seminar: Afterlives and Living After: Envisioning Other Worlds
(Spring 2024, Dr. Lily Stewart)
|REL 170-20||Introduction to the Study of Religion||King|
REL 170-20 Introduction to the Study of Religion
(Winter 2024, Drt. Ashley King)
|REL 172-21||Introduction to Religion, Media, and Culture||Taylor|
REL 172-21 Introduction to Religion, Media, and Culture
(Spring 2024, Professor Sarah Taylor)
|REL 210-20||Introduction to Buddhism||Buckelew|
REL 210-20 Introduction to Buddhism
This course offers an introduction to Buddhist history, culture, philosophy, and practice. We explore the major doctrinal varieties of Buddhism, from its inception through the rise of the Mahayana and Tantric or Vajrayana traditions. At the same time, we also investigate Buddhist visual, material, and ritual cultures—which offer windows onto aspects of Buddhism as a lived religion not always visible in scriptural sources. In the process we engage themes like the meaning of suffering, the cosmology of cyclical rebirth, the social role of monasticism and its intervention in traditional family structures, the place of women and gender in Buddhism, the relationship between religious ideals and everyday life, the question of self-reliance versus divine assistance, and the power of images and icons. Our readings of primary sources offer close engagement with Buddhist ideas and practices, allowing us to understand how the religion shaped the ways people in pre-modern Asia saw and interacted with their worlds. Readings in secondary scholarship help us set these materials in historical context and connect them to the bigger picture of Buddhism’s spread across Asia.
|REL 210-21||Introduction to Buddhism||Priice-Wallace|
REL 210-21 Introduction to Buddhism
|REL 220-20||Introduction to Hebrew Bible||Hurst|
REL 220-20 Introduction to Hebrew Bible
This introductory course is an immersive journey into the world of the Hebrew Bible (also known as the "Old Testament" in Christian tradition). Throughout this class, we will explore the historical, cultural, and literary contexts of the Hebrew Bible, examining the diverse genres and themes within the biblical text and discovering how they have influenced and shaped modern views about God, humans, and society. You will have the opportunity to delve deeply into the diverse literatures of the Hebrew Bible and to examine their relevance to contemporary issues and ideas. You will also learn about the various scholarly approaches to the academic study of the Hebrew Bible and how they have contributed to our understanding of this ancient and complex text.
|REL 221-20||Introduction to New Testament||Stewart|
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.
|REL 230-20||Introduction to Judaism||Shira E. Schwartz|
REL 230-20 Introduction to Judaism
|REL 240-20||Introduction to Christianity||Stewart|
REL 240-20 Introduction to Christianity
|REL 250-20||Introduction to Islam||Ingram|
REL 250-20 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 262-20||NEW: Intro to Black Religions||Dennis Meade|
REL 262-20 NEW: Intro to Black Religions
(Spring 2024, Professor KB Dennis Meade)
|REL 272-20 / GERMAN 272-20||Luther and the West||Helmer|
REL 272-20 / GERMAN 272-20 Luther and the West
(Winter 2024, Prof. Christine Helmer)
|REL 309-20||Hindu Law and Statecraft (RLP)||McClish|
REL 309-20 Hindu Law and Statecraft (RLP)
Although not often recognized, law has played as important a role in the development of Hinduism as it has in Judaism or Islam. One scholar has recently argued that we can understand “Hinduism” best if we see it as a legal tradition. This course will be a survey of the tradition of Hindu law (dharmaśāstra) in India from the 6th c. BCE to its demise in the modern period. We will explore the beginnings of the scholarly legal tradition, its relationship with Hindu statecraft (arthaśāstra), its interaction with other legal systems of South Asia, its role in colonial administration, and its ultimate replacement by modern Indian law. Our investigation will focus on the formal features of Hindu law while placing it in a broader historical and cultural perspective. To this end, we will explore the relationship between the scholarly tradition and law in practice, the relationship between Brahmanism, law, and politics, and the role of caste and gender in the formation of Hindu law. This seminar will also provide us with the opportunity to think about Hindu law in the context of comparative law and legal anthropology. *Counts toward Religion, Law, and Politics (RLP) religious studies major concentration.
|REL 316-20||Religion and the Body in China (RSG, RHM)||Buckelew|
REL 316-20 Religion and the Body in China (RSG, RHM)
(Fall 2023, Professor Kevin Buckelew)
|REL 318-21||Religion and Politics in the People's Republic of China (RLP)||Terrone|
REL 318-21 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 318-23||Fate, Fortune, and Karma in East Asia||Buckelew|
REL 318-23 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||Topics in Buddhism||Priice-Wallace|
REL 319-20 Topics in Buddhism
|REL 345-20||Sainthood and the Body (RHM, RSG)||Stewart|
REL 345-20 Sainthood and the Body (RHM, RSG)
What kinds of bodies can be saintly? How do saintly people interact with their bodies? What do modern celebrities like Beyonce and Tupac Shakur have in common with the saints? Why is there a patron saint of stomachaches?
This course explores the complex relationship between saints and their bodies in Christian history. Saints have long represented the extremes of Christian excellence, in large part because their lives and bodies interrogate the boundaries between heaven and earth, spirit and flesh, masculine and feminine, holy and transgressive, life and death. Saints facilitate incredible miracles, perform painful and sometimes disgusting acts of asceticism, and experience mystically erotic relationships with the divine. Even as saints live to deny their bodies, their bodies are nevertheless foundational to their sanctity, both before and after death. In this class, we will explore how and why certain exceptional individuals came to be regarded as saints; the ways in which the body was central to living a saintly life and maintaining a connection to the world after death; how religious communities developed around saints and the body; how saints used their bodies to serve their broader communities; and how ideas about sainthood, sanctity, and the body developed in relation to changing cultural movements, social interests, and local ideals. Our class will explore case studies from the ancient to the modern world, with a special focus on the middle ages. *Counts toward Religion, Health and Medicine (RHM) and Religion, Sexuality and Gender (RSG) religious studies major concentrations.
|REL 349-20||Medicine, Miracles, and Magic: Healthcare in the Middle Ages (RHM)||Stewart|
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 349-21||Theology and Philosophy of Christianity||Helmer|
REL 349-21 Theology and Philosophy of Christianity
|REL 349-22||Topics in Christianity||Stewart|
REL 349-22 Topics in Christianity
|REL 360-20||The Study of Black Religion & the Digital Humanities (RLP)||Dennis Meade|
REL 360-20 The Study of Black Religion & the Digital Humanities (RLP)
Black and Caribbean Studies are vibrant fields in the digital humanities. The study of religion in the digital humanities, however, remains an emergent field. This course is an ambitious attempt at interdisciplinarity, or more aptly what Tracy Hucks and Dianne Stewart refer to as transdisciplinarity--inquiry driven research that transcends disciplinary silos. This course centers religion as the primary lens to excavate and recover representations of Afro-Caribbean religions and their North American cognates using archival sources, fiction, film, and art. Religion will serve as the framework to interrogate what counts as data, the sources in which we can locate this data, its deployment and (re)presentation. Our aim is to gain a landscape view of Caribbean
religious history through key moments and themes from the period of enslavement and what Rinaldo Walcott refers to as the long emancipation. The course will provide students the opportunity to explore current digital projects and learn digital tools to generate their own inquiries. Counts toward Religion, Law, and Politics (RLP) religious studies major concentration.
|REL 369-20||Religion in the Digital Age (RSG)||Uca|
REL 369-20 Religion in the Digital Age (RSG)
What happens when religion goes digital? In this course we examine how religions are adapting to an increasingly digital world and how digital environments are shaping old and new religious practices. Through a series of case studies, we will consider how religious practitioners and the “spiritual but not religious” are using digital media to challenge established religious authority, create community, innovate devotional practices, and theorize their experiences. We will examine, for example, collage and hip hop, virtual pujas, mindfulness apps, user-generated gods, emoji spells, tulpamancy, transhumanism, and Slender Man. Through these case studies we will explore how digital natives and adopters are reimagining religious presence, mediation, community, ethics, and ontology. This class centers BIPOC, queer, and feminist voices, digital arts, memetics, lived religion, and social justice. Students will practice skills for digital humanities research, engage in ethical reflection, and apply course learning to creating their own digital artifacts. Counts towards Religion, Sexuality, and Gender (RSG) religious studies major concentration.
|REL 369-21||Asian American Religion||Uca|
REL 369-21 Asian American Religion
|REL 373-20||Religion and Bioethics||King|
REL 373-20 Religion and Bioethics
|REL 374-20||Religion and Literature||Sufrin|
REL 374-20 Religion and Literature
Whether they are called "scripture," "myth," "history," "parable" or something else, ancient stories play an important role in Judaism and Christianity. In turn, these religions play an important role in some novels and poems. Literature and religion, in short, have a long history of interaction and influence. In this class, we will study biblical stories and the meaning they have taken on for Jews and Christians; literary portrayals and critiques of what it's like to live a religious life; and reflections on theological themes woven into contemporary novels and poetry.
|REL 377-20||Global Black Pentecostalism||Dennis Meade|
REL 377-20 Global Black Pentecostalism
(Spring 2024, Professor KB Dennis Meade)
|REL 379-20 / BLK_ST_315-20||Religion and Culture in the Caribbean (RLP)||Dennis Meade|
REL 379-20 / BLK_ST_315-20 Religion and Culture in the Caribbean (RLP)
(Fall 2023, Prof. Dennis Meade)
|REL 379-21||Topics in Comparative Religion: Pilgrimage||Richard Kieckhefer|
REL 379-21 Topics in Comparative Religion: Pilgrimage
|REL 395-20||Theories of Religion||Orsi|
REL 395-20 Theories of Religion
|REL 468-20 / ANTHRO 490-28||Graduate Seminar: Textual Ethnography||Shira E. Schwartz|
REL 468-20 / ANTHRO 490-28 Graduate Seminar: Textual Ethnography
(Winter 2024, Professor Shira E. Schwartz)
|REL 471-20||Graduate Seminar: Sin, Salvation & Racialization||Molina|
REL 471-20 Graduate Seminar: Sin, Salvation & Racialization
(Fall 2023, Professor Michelle Molina)
|REL 471-22||Graduate Seminar: The Study of Religion as Vocation||Orsi|
REL 471-22 Graduate Seminar: The Study of Religion as Vocation
(Spring 2024, Professor Robert Orsi)
|REL 471-23||Religion & Politics: Global Perspectives (RLP)||Hurd|
REL 471-23 Religion & Politics: Global Perspectives (RLP)
|REL 481-2-20||Graduate Seminar: Classical Theories of Religion||Ingram|
REL 481-2-20 Graduate Seminar: Classical Theories of Religion
(Winter 2024, Brannon Ingram)
|REL 482-20||Graduate Seminar: Philology and Textual Criticism||McClish|
REL 482-20 Graduate Seminar: Philology and Textual Criticism