Department of Religion
Spring 2023 Course Offerings

Spring 2023 Course Offerings – PDF

Introduction to Religion
Yair Lior                                             TR 11:00AM-12:15PM
Religion matters. It makes meaning and provides structure to life, addressing fundamental questions about body, spirit, community, and time. But what is it? How does it work in our world? This course explores religion in ritual, philosophical, experiential, and ethical dimensions. Hub Units: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Creativity/Innovation.

Religions of Asia
David Eckel                                                        MWF 10:10AM-11:00AM
Study of Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, and Shinto. Focus on the world view of each tradition and the historical development of that world view. Hub Units: Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Historical Consciousness, Teamwork/Collaboration.

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
Jonathan Klawans                                              TR 2:00PM-3:15 PM
Islam, Christianity, and Judaism in historical and cultural context, origins to the present. Examines diversity of practices, belief systems, and social structures within these religions. Also addresses debates within and between communities as well as contemporary controversies and concerns. Hub Units: Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Aesthetic Exploration, Creativity/Innovation.

Introduction to the World’s Religions
Teena Purohit                                                MWF 11:15AM-12:05PM
Explores the symbols, beliefs, stories, and practices of the world’s religions with attention to both ancient history and contemporary practices, including spiritual autobiographies and online communities. Possible traditions include:Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and African/African diaspora religions. Hub Units: Digital/Multimedia Expression, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Creativity/Innovation.

Death and Immortality
Stephen Prothero                                         TR 12:30PM-1:45PM

Laura Harrington                                     MWF 9:05AM-9:55AM
Examines death as religious traditions have attempted to accept, defeat, deny, or transcend it. Do we have souls? Do they reincarnate? What to do with a corpse? Other topics include mourning, burial, cremation, martyrdom, resurrection, near-death experiences. Hub Units: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Creativity/Innovation.

Religion and Film
Laura Harrington                                                  MWF 1:25PM-2:15PM
Religions and films are world-building engines. They create – and re-create – a visioning of society as a world of justice, of lived myth, of fantasy, of ideology: a world we may long to live in or a world we wish to avoid at all costs. This course explores such worlds by examining the ways in which religious beliefs, practices and people are portrayed in popular film from the 1960s to the present. Hub Units: Aesthetic Exploration, Social Inquiry I, Teamwork/Collaboration.

Scriptures in World Religions
Diana Lobel                                           MWF 1:25PM-2:15PM
Introduction to scriptures in world religions, investigating the ways sacred books express, interpret, and make possible religious experience and ethical reflection. Hub Units: Writing-Intensive Course, Ethical Reasoning, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy.

Religion, Health, and Medicine
Kira Ganga Kieffer                                         TR 9:30AM-10:45AM
How religious and moral narratives inform approaches to biomedicine from the nineteenth century to the present, including understandings of disease, illness, health, sexuality, and the body. Topics include medicine and prayer, alternative medicine, and boundaries between medicine and religion. Hub Units: Social Inquiry I, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.

David Eckel                                             MWF 12:20PM-1:10 PM
A historical and critical introduction to the major themes of Buddhist thought and practice in India and Southeast Asia, with special attention to the transmission of Buddhism to Tibet and the modern West. Hub Units: Historical Consciousness, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Critical Thinking.

Holy City: Jerusalem in Time, Space, and Imagination
Michael Zank                                             TR 12:30PM-1:45PM
Transformation of an ordinary ancient city into the holy city of Jews, Christians, and Muslims; and development of modern Jerusalem, as shaped by British rule, Zionism, and Palestinian nationalism. Jerusalem’s past, present, and meanings considered through analyses of religious and secular rhetoric. Hub Units: Aesthetic Exploration, The Individual in Community, Critical Thinking.

Religion and Science
Yair Lior                                                TR 2:00PM-3:15PM
Examines the complex relationship between science and religion, focusing on historical episodes (e.g., the “Galileo Affair”) and current controversies (e.g., “Intelligent Design” movement’s influence on school curricula, “Spirituality and Health” research, and “Ecology and Religion”). Pending Hub Units for Spring 2023: Digital and Multimedia Expression, Ethical Reasoning, Teamwork/Collaboration.  

Food and Religion
Deeana Klepper                                             MWF 11:15AM-12:05PM
Explores the intersection of religion and food, using food to learn about religion and religion to study the role of food in human societies. Topics include feasting; fasting; feeding God(s), spirits, ancestors; eating/not eating animals; ingesting alcohol and psychoactive plants. Hub Units: The Individual in Community, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Teamwork/Collaboration.

Islamophobia and Antisemitism
Adam Seligman                                             MWF 11:15AM-12:05PM
Explores historical and contemporary manifestations of Islamophobia and antisemitism. Students are exposed to wide range of relevant written and visual texts as well as theoretical approaches. Includes active learning component and collaborative presentations by students. Hub Units: Ethical Reasoning, The Individual in Community, Teamwork/Collaboration.

Religion and Hip Hop
Margarita Guillory                                             TR 9:30AM-10:45AM
Uses digital media studies to explore diverse religious expressions in hip hop culture. Through critical reading, community field trips, and hands-on technology usage, students consider an often overlooked element in the study of hip hop culture: religion. Hub Units: Digital/Multimedia Expression, Aesthetic Exploration, Creativity/Innovation.

Varieties of Early Christianity                                            
David Frankfurter                                             TR 12:30PM-1:45PM
Surveys the many different and often competing forms of Christianity that arose and flourished in the second to the seventh century. Topics covered include martyrs, apocalypticism, Hell, Gnostics, prophecy, magical texts, angels and demons, and the various meanings of Christ. Hub Units: Historical Consciousness, Social Inquiry I, Critical Thinking.

History of Judaism
Steven Katz                                             TR 12:30PM-1:45PM
This class surveys Jewish history from the classical period to modern times. It covers: the destruction of the 1stTemple; the encounter with Hellenism; the Roman period; the destruction of the 2nd Temple; the rise and influence of rabbinic Judaism; the medieval era under Muslim and Christian rule; medieval antisemitism; Jewish mysticism (Kabbalah); and philosophy (Maimonides). For the modern era we will discuss: the Renaissance; the Reformation; the complex issue of Emancipation; coming to America; the growth of American Judaism; religious reform; modern antisemitism; and Zionism. Hub Units: Historical Consciousness, Critical Thinking.

Comparative Religious Ethics
Catherine Klancer                      TR 2:00PM-3:15PM
This course invites students to consider what organized religion has to offer those seeking to live a good life by looking at the ethical teachings of two Western (Judaism and Christianity) and two Eastern (Confucianism and Buddhism) traditions. Hub Units: Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Ethical Reasoning, Writing-Intensive Course.

Religion in the Digital Age                                            
Margarita Guillory                                  TR 12:30PM-1:45PM
How has technology impacted religion? This hands-on course explores how digital technologies like the Internet, social media, gaming, and artificial intelligence have changed the way that people think about religion. Hub Units: Digital/Multimedia Expression, Writing-Intensive Course, Creativity/Innovation.

Culture, Society, and Religion in South Asia                                            
Frank Korom                             TR 2:00PM-3:15PM
Ethnographic and historical introduction to the Indian subcontinent with a focus on the impact of religion on cultural practices and social institutions. Hub Units: Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Aesthetic Exploration.

Anthropology of Religion
Frank Korom                 TR 11:00AM-12:15PM
Myth, ritual, and religious experience across cultures. Special attention to the problem of religious symbolism and meaning, religious conversion and revitalization, contrasts between traditional and world religions, and the relation of religious knowledge to science, magic, and ideology. Hub Units: Historical Consciousness, Social Inquiry I.

Philosophy of Religion                                            
Michael Zank                             W 6:30PM-9:15PM
Critical investigation of the limits of human knowledge and the theoretical and practical demands for meaning attached to notions of God, providence, immortality, and other metaphysical conditions of human thriving, from Plato to modern philosophies of religion. Hub Units: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Social Inquiry I, Critical Thinking.

Religion, Community, and Culture in Medieval Spain                                            
Deeanna Klepper                                   M 2:30PM-5:15PM
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. To enrich exploration of interrelated themes and learning outcomes, student registrants of RN/HI 410/RN710 will meet with student registrants of LS410 during scheduled class time on 2/21, 3/13, 3/27, 4/24, and 5/1 during the term. Hub Units: Writing-Intensive Course, Historical Consciousness, Research and Information Literacy.

Topics in American Religion                                            
Stephen Prothero                                   R 3:30PM-6:15PM
Special topic: Spiritual Autobiography. An exploration of the art of inventing the self in light of the divine throughout U.S. history and (especially) in contemporary American life. Possible authors include: Malcolm X, Dorothy Day, Swami Yogananda, Henry David Thoreau, Ann Lamott, Richard Rodriguez, Jarena Lee, Barack Obama. Hub Units: The Individual in Community, Writing-Intensive Course, Research and Information Literacy.

Topics in Religion, Science, and Medicine                                            
Anthony Petro                           T 3:30PM-6:15PM
May be repeated for credit as topics vary. Topic for Spring 2023: HIV/AIDS, Art, and Religion in America. Examines the history of the AIDS crisis in the U.S., including religious, racial, and moral constructions amid the infamous “culture wars”. Special attention to feminist/queer activists and artists who fostered alternative moral and political visions of disease, sexuality, and health. *This course can be repeated for credit as long as the topic is different. Hub Units: Historical Consciousness, Oral and/or Signed Communication, Critical Thinking.

CAS RN452/CAS PH 485/CAS PH496/GRS RN752/STH TT838
Topics in Religious Thought
Diana Lobel                               TR 2:00PM-3:15PM
What is happiness? How can we achieve a balanced, healthy, fulfilling life? Classical thinkers such as Aristotle, Plato, Chuang Tzu; Stoic, Epicurean, Confucian, Buddhist paths; comparison with contemporary studies on happiness and mindfulness. Hub Units: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Writing-Intensive.

Topics in Religion and Sexuality
Najwa Mayer                              M 2:30PM-5:15PM
Exploration of key topics and themes in the study of religion and sexuality, especially as they intersect with gender, race, and politics. Topic for Spring 2023: Race, Religion, Sexuality, and the US State. Examines the entwined relationships between race, religion, and sexuality in the histories, laws, and cultures of the US state through the lens of feminist and queer studies. Topics include settler colonialism, imperialism, civil rights, secularism, borders, labor, and reproduction. Hub Units: Ethical Reasoning, Historical Consciousness, Creativity/Innovation.

Seminar on the Holocaust
Steven Katz                               TR 9:30AM-10:45AM
This course will examine historical, ethical, and religious issues arising from the Holocaust. We will discuss antisemitism and ideology; what communities were considered “other”; human motivation regarding collaborators, perpetrators, and bystanders; the role of individuals, organizations, and governments; the treatment of women; the ethics of resistance; the behavior of the Jewish Councils; and attitudes to the existence of God during and after the Holocaust. We will also compare the Holocaust to contemporary crises now occurring around the world. Hub Units: Oral and/or Signed Communication, Ethical Reasoning, Historical Consciousness.