Religious Studies (including Religion)

  • GRS RN 727: Topics in American Religion
    Graduate Prerequisites: graduate standing.
    Topic for Fall 2015: Twentieth-Century American Religion. Exploration of twentieth-century American religion, with a focus on how liberal Protestants defined and practiced religion (as individual experience) and, in the process, fostered major shifts toward secularization, religious pluralism, and "spiritual but not religious."
  • GRS RN 730: Topics in East Asian Religion
    Graduate Prerequisites: graduate standing.
    Three topics are offered 2014/2015. Students may take one, two, or three for credit. Topic for Fall 2014: Buddhism, the State, and Politics in East Asia. Analyzes models of the ideal Buddhist ruler in China, Korea, and Japan and their behaviors both historically and in the present. Topics include state patronage and persecution of Buddhism as well as Buddhist rebellions and resistance to state control. Topics for Spring 2015. Section A1: Confucian Religious Ethics. Explores the ethical ideas that emerge from Confucianism's understanding of the human person in terms of his/her relationships rather than as an independent entity. Discussion topics include social roles, personal agency, and the cardinal virtue of ritual propriety. Section B1: Shamanism in East Asia. Approaches to shamanism in East Asia (China, Japan, Korea). Reading of original texts in translation and secondary scholarly studies. Topics include shamanism and state and local religion; myth and poetry; gender and mediumship; ancient and modern religion.
  • GRS RN 735: Women, Gender,and Islam
    Graduate Prerequisites: graduate standing.
    Investigates the way Muslim religious discourse, norms, and practices create and sustain gender and hierarchy in religious, social, and familial life. Looks at historical and contemporary challenges posed to these structures.
  • GRS RN 739: Jewish Bioethics
    Exploration of Jewish perspectives on life, death and dying, abortion, the new reproductive technologies, organ transplantation and genetic engineering. Examination of the impact of the Nazi doctors, racial hygiene, euthanasia, and genocide on contemporary bioethics.
  • GRS RN 752: Topics in Religious Thought
    Topics vary from year to year. Topic for Fall 2014: Happiness, East and West. What is happiness? How can we achieve a balanced, healthy, fulfilling life? Classical thinkers such as Aristotle, Plato, Chuang Tzu; Buddhist, Confucian, Epicurean, and Stoic paths; comparison with contemporary studies of happiness.
  • GRS RN 753: Topics in Religion and Sexuality
    Topic for Spring 2015: The Body and Sexuality in Classical Religious Texts. Treats foundational primary sources in translation on sex and the body in several world religions. Consideration of differences in sources: genre, gender, modern/classical. Traditions include Greek, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Daoist.
  • GRS RN 759: Primo Levi and Holocaust Literature
    A study of Primo Levi's writings and scientific, theological, and philosophical approaches to the Holocaust. Other theorists (Arendt, Wiesel, Müller-­Hill) and other survivors' testimonies (Delbo, Borowski, Fink) are read in conjunction with Levi's works.
  • GRS RN 760: Seminar on the Holocaust
    Seminar examining ethical and religious issues raised by the Holocaust, including anti-Semitism; treatment of Jewish women; nature of the perpetrators; actions of different countries; importance of ideology; the nature and degree of Jewish resistance; post-Holocaust theology.
  • GRS RN 766: Religion and the Problem of Tolerance
    Explores the religious roots of tolerance as an alternative to secular, more liberal foundations for pluralism. Grapples with the challenge of tolerance to the revealed religions and the ways different societies have met or failed to meet this challenge.
  • GRS RN 768: Symbol, Myth, and Rite
    Historical overview of ritual behavior, the role of symbolism in the study of culture, and the narrative quality of worldview and belief. Emphasis on verbal performance and public display events in specific cultural contexts
  • GRS RN 770: Topics in Medieval Religious Culture
    Graduate Prerequisites: graduate standing.
    Topic for Fall 2013: Christian, Muslim, and Jew: Religion, Community, and Culture in Medieval Spain. Interactions between Muslims, Christians, and Jews in medieval Europe's most religiously diverse region - from the establishment of an Islamic al-Andalus in 711 CE to the final Christian "reconquest" of the peninsula and expulsion of the Jews in 1492 CE. Also offered as GRS HI 807.
  • GRS RN 771: Topics in Ancient Christianity
    Topic for Spring 2016: Saints and Their Cults. The cult of living and dead saints was central to the development and spread of Christianity (as also Islam and Buddhism). This seminar addresses the interpretation of saints' lives, pilgrimage and ritual action at shrines, and the saint's festival.
  • GRS RN 790: Topics in the Materiality of Ancient Mediterranean Religions
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: prior coursework in archaeology or ancient religions, or consent of instructor.
    Investigates material traces and contexts of religion in the Greco-Roman world, including iconic, architectural, votive, magical, and other archaeological remains; and draws on theories of space, image, and ritual performance. Topics vary. Also offered as GRS AR 735.
  • GRS RN 795: Humanities Approaches to Religion
    Introduces major theoretical questions in the humanistic study of religion. Examines the nature and origin of religion as well as definitions and critiques of religion from comparative, historical, sociological, literary standpoints as well as postmodern and gender studies approaches.
  • GRS RN 796: Social Science Approaches to Religion
    Introduces major theoretical questions in the social scientific study of religion. Examines approaches of Marx, Durkheim, and Freud among others.
  • GRS RN 797: Philosophical and Theological Approaches to Religion
    An introduction to philosophical and theological approaches to the study of religion(s) as distinct from other humanities-based and social-scientific approaches. Provides a common vocabulary for students pursuing historical, constructive, or interdisciplinary projects related to religious thought.
  • GRS RN 798: Scientific Approaches to Religion
    A seminar examining interpretations of religious beliefs, behaviors, and experiences deriving from the biological, evolutionary, psychological, cognitive, neurological, and medical sciences.