Graduate Level Courses in the Department of Religion


See the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Bulletin for all courses offered by the Program.

Fall 2019 Graduate Courses

Spiritual Autobiography
Abigail Gillman     W 2:30PM-5:15PM
Spiritual autobiographies, classical through modern. Focus on diverse paths of religious seekers; the crises, epiphanies, turning points, and the challenge of representing the inner life. Authors include Augustine, Teresa of Avila, Defoe, Tolstoy, Booker T. Washington, Elie Wiesel, Elaine Pagels.

The Kabbalah: Mysticism, Ecstasy, and Theosophy
Yair Lior     MWF 10:10AM-11:00AM
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 RN628/STH  TX828
Judaism in the Modern Period
Steven Katz               TR 12:30PM-1:45PM
Exploration of complex encounters between Judaism and modernity from the Renaissance and Reformation to expulsion from Spain and creation of Jewish centers in the New World; emancipation and its consequences; assimilation, conversion, Reform Judaism, Zionism, the American Jewish community, modern anti-Semitism.

Mysticism and Philosophy: Jewish and Islamic Perspectives
Diana Lobel              TR 2:00PM-3:15PM
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.

The Quran
Kecia Ali         MWF 11:15AM-12:05PM
The emergence of the Quran as a major religious text, its structure and literary features, and its principal themes and places within the religious and intellectual life of the Muslim community.

Buddhist Literature
Laura Harrington      TR 11:00AM-12:15PM
Focuses on Buddhist sutras and other literature to explore key issues of doctrine, philosophy, and praxis in the Theravada and Mahayana traditions of Buddhism. Topics include the Buddha’s life, practicing the path, emptiness, and interdependence.

GRS RN669/HI704
Science and Religion: Dialogue and Debate

Jon Roberts    MWF 11:15AM-12:05PM
Challenges conventional wisdom that science and religion have always been at war in Europe and North America. Explores their interactions, mutual existence, and conflict from Copernicus’ claim that the earth revolved around the sun to contemporary debates about evolution.

GRS RN675/AN775/STH TX875
Culture, Society, and Religion in South Asia
Frank Korom             MWF 1:25-2:15PM
Ethnographic and historical introduction to the Indian subcontinent with a focus on the impact of religion on cultural practices and social institutions.

The Holocaust
Steven Katz                TR 3:30PM-4:45PM
Background of German (and European) anti-Semitism. Rise of Nazism and early oppression, initial Jewish reaction, mechanics of destruction, ghettos, camps, world response and nonresponse, literature of the Holocaust, and religious implications.

Representations of the Holocaust in Literature and Film
Nancy Harrowitz       TR 2:00PM-3:15PM
Questions of representation in literature and film about the Holocaust, including testimonial and fictive works by Wiesel and Levi, Ozick, and others; films include documentaries and feature films. Discussions of the Holocaust as historical reality, metaphor, and generative force in literature.

GRS RN697/PH656/STH TT821
Wisdom and Transformation (Topics in Philosophy and Religion)
David Eckel                W 5:45PM-8:30PM
A study of the relationship between wisdom and moral transformation in several different philosophies and religions from ancient Greece to the modern day, including an encounter with the classical traditions of India and China. This course is designed to run side by side with the Institute for Philosophy and Religion’s fall lecture series.

Women, Gender, and Islam
Kecia Ali                     M 2:30PM-5:15PM
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.
Prereq:(CASRN104 OR CASRN214) or equivalent.

The First Practice: Wandering in the World’s Religions (Topics in Religious Thought)
Stephen Prothero            T 3:30PM-6:15PM
Exploration of the wandering of key religious founders and how the movements they established incorporated into both practice and memory the ideals of wandering and settling, escape and return. Possible examples include Buddha, Laozi, Confucius, Jesus, Muhammad, Guru Nanak.

Sexuality and Religion in the U.S.

Anthony Petro                       T 3:30PM-6:15PM
Religion and sexuality in the U.S., including theoretical and historical approaches to religious and sexual desire, identity, ritual, and regulation. Possible topics include religious and sexual freedom, plural marriage, the Sexual Revolution, reproductive justice, sex and secularism, and LGBTQ rights.

CAS RN561/PO589/IR561
Religion and International Relations
Timothy Longman     M 2:30PM-5:15PM
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.



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