Religious Studies (including Religion)

  • CAS RN 504: Topics in Religion and the Visual Arts
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior standing or consent of instructor.
    In-depth discussion of special issues in the study of religion and art. May be repeated for credit as topics change. Topic for Fall 2015: Religious Architecture in Islam: Mosques, Shrines, and Tombs. Examines a select group of buildings from the Islamic world in terms of architecture and religious practice. Topics include monuments such as the Ka'ba, the Dome of the Rock, or the Taj Mahal. Also offered as CAS AH 504.
  • CAS RN 524: Topics in Religion and Literature
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior standing and one course in literature or religion, or consent of instructor.
    Three topics are offered 2014/2015. Students may register for one, two, or three for credit. Topic for Fall 2014: Apocalypse and Literature. Literary responses to the biblical book of Revelation, from ancient to modern times. Systematic analysis of the biblical text. Readings from Dante, Langland, Rabelais, Blake, Hölderlin, Dostoevsky, García Lorca, Samuel Beckett, and Flannery O'Connor. Reference to artistic and musical representations of apocalypse. Also offered as CAS XL 560 A1. Topics for Spring 2015. Section A1: Russian Literature and Spirituality. Explores literary experimentation with religious ideas (e.g., spirit, soul, heaven, hell, crucifixion, gnosis, resurrection, sin, immortality) in the increasingly anti-religious environment of late imperial and Soviet Russia. Authors include Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Bely, Akhmatova, Mandelstam, Platonov, Tarkovsky. Supplemental readings from philosophy/theory. Also offered as CAS XL 560 A1. Section B1: The Unique Individual in Literature (narrative fiction) and in Religious Thought. Readings from the fiction of Goethe, Melville, Dostoevsky, Faulkner, Cormac McCarthy, poetry and short stories of Poe. Comparison between the discursive (religious thought) and non-discursive forms (literature) for apprehending and expressing the mystery, paradox, and fragility of human life. Also offered as CAS XL 560 B1.
  • CAS RN 526: Topics in Religion and Literature in East Asia
    Topic for Fall 2015: The Story of the Stone. A masterpiece of world literature, depicts the interworkings of love, tragedy, honor, and drama within a Buddho-Daoist cosmos set in the everyday life of Chinese Confucianism. This course emphasizes the religious traditions of Chinese culture. Also offered as CAS LC 470 B1 and CAS XL 470 B1.
  • CAS RN 555: Dante's Hell
    A close reading of one text, Dante Aligheri's Inferno, with attention to its medieval contexts: philosophical, theological, and historical. Analysis of the poetic means by which Dante represents both human evil and human hope. Bi-lingual text. Lectures and discussion in English. Also offered as CAS LI 555 and CAS XL 383.
  • CAS RN 556: Dante: The Divine Comedy II: Purgatorio and Paradiso
    Focus on the literary, philosophical, and theological ideas Dante uses to represent his experience of himself and of human nature. Bi-lingual texts. Lectures and discussions in English. Also offered as CAS LI 556 and CAS XL 385.
  • CAS RN 561: Religion and International Relations
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior standing and consent of instructor.
    (Meets with CAS IR 561 and CAS PO 589.) Explores the role of religion in contemporary international relations in the context of questions about the common core of modernity. Reviews scholarly and policy literature, and case studies, in order to elucidate religion's intellectual and operational diversity in international relations.
  • CAS RN 563: Muslim Societies: An Interdisciplinary History
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior standing or consent of instructor.
    Examines the states, empires, faiths, and ideologies of the Muslim world over a 1500-year period, including states from North and West Africa, through the Middle East, to Turkey, Iran, and then to Central and Southeast Asia. Also offered as CAS AH 539, AN 548, HI 596, and IR 515.
  • GRS RN 602: Early Christian Women
    An examination of the lives, concerns, and roles of women during the first four Christian centuries. Engages texts that present women as disciples, missionaries, ascetics, and church leaders, with attention to ancient gender constructions.
  • GRS RN 607: Medieval Christian Spirituality
    Explores Christian beliefs and practices in medieval Europe within and outside formal church structures. Topics include accommodation of pagan culture, constructing identity, clerical and lay piety, heterodox practice and institutional response, and encounter with non-Christian traditions.
  • GRS RN 612: Buddhism in America
    The transplantation and transformation of Buddhism in the United States. Time period ranges from the 18th century to the present, but the emphasis is on contemporary developments, including the new Asian immigration, Jewish Buddhism, feminization, and engaged Buddhism.
  • GRS RN 616: Modern Islam
    Graduate Prerequisites: graduate standing.
    Focuses on formations of Islam in colonial and postcolonial periods. How modernist and Islamist thinkers have negotiated the encounter between tradition and modernity.
  • GRS RN 622: History of Judaism
    Major trends in postbiblical Judaism; academy and synagogue; Mishna and Talmud; Babylonian diaspora; medieval poetry, philosophy, and mysticism; codes of law; organization of the Jewish community "in exile"; land of Israel; Judaism and Islamic and Christian civilization.
  • GRS RN 624: Introduction to Rabbinic Literature
    Chronological exploration of rabbinic Judaism's major documents, using a modern scholarly anthology. The Mishnah; legal and legendary selections from the midrashim and both the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds. Themes: monotheism, sin and atonement, heaven and hell, conceptions of gender, the impact of rabbinic texts on medieval and modern Judaism.
  • GRS RN 625: Seminar: Early Jewish Mysticism
    Analysis of the development of Jewish mysticism from the biblical to the early medieval era. Emphasis on the forms of mysticism--and the texts in which they are embedded-- from the rabbinic era. No knowledge of Hebrew is required.
  • GRS RN 626: The Kabbalah
    Introduction to a major trend in Jewish mysticism that combined cosmic speculation and ecstatic practice, influenced Jewish prayer and Christian Renaissance thought, and remains popular today. Discusses Kabbalah's cultural roots, mystical techniques, major texts (including "Zohar"), and contemporary revival.
  • GRS RN 630: American Jewish Experiences
    Traces the achievements and reputations of Jews, shaped by stereotypes of wealth, power, intellect and sexuality. Students examine film, literature, art, popular music, attitudes towards Israel, religious practices, and intermarriage rates for evidence of changing trends.
  • GRS RN 638: Mysticism and Philosophy: Jewish and Islamic Perspectives
    Thematic introduction to mysticism and philosophy, with a focus on dynamics of religious experience. Readings from medieval Jewish and Islamic philosophy; Sufi mysticism and philosophy; Kabbalah, Biblical interpretation, Sufi poetry, Hebrew poetry from the Golden Age of Muslim Spain.
  • GRS RN 640: The Quran
    The emergence of the Quran as a major religious text, its structure and literary features, its principle themes and places within the religious and intellectual life of the Muslim community.
  • GRS RN 641: Islamic Mysticism: Sufism
    Rise and development of the mystical movement in early Islam; analysis of the thought of leading Sufi brotherhoods, their organization, liturgy, and religious life; the impact of Sufism on classical and postclassical Islam.
  • GRS RN 644: Islam and the West
    Considers centuries of cooperation and conflict between Islam and the West, including the "Golden Age" of Islamic Spain, the Crusades, medieval European views of Islam, enslaved Muslims in the New World, colonialism and its legacies, and Western Muslim communities today.