See the CAS online bulletin for all the courses offered by the Religion Department.
Introduction to Religion
Yair Lior MWF 10:10AM-11:00AM
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. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.
Hub Units: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Creativity/Innovation.
Michael Zank MWF 12:20pm-1:10pm
Introduction to the great canonical anthologies of Jews and Christians. Students will learn to read for historical context and genre conventions; study classical and modern strategies of interpretation; and create a collaborative commentary or piece of “fan-fiction.” Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.
Hub Units: Aesthetic Exploration, Historical Consciousness, Creativity/Innovation
Religions of Asia
April Hughes T/THR 11:00AM-12:15pm
Study of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Shinto. Focus on the world view of each tradition and the historical development of that world view. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.
Hub Units: Historical Consciousness, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Teamwork/Collaboration.
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
Jonathan Klawans MWF 11:15AM-12:05PM
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. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.
Hub Units: Historical Consciousness, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy.
Death and Immortality
Laura Harrington T/THR 9:30AM-10:45AM
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 Unit: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Creativity/Innovation.
Theoretical Approaches to the Study of Religion
Teena Purohit T/THR 9:30AM-10:45AM
Origins and history of the academic study of religion. Different constructions of religion as an object of study and the methods that arise from them. The role of the humanities and social sciences in understanding religion’s place in history and contemporary experience.
Hub Units: Historical Consciousness, Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Critical Thinking.
Teena Purohit T/THR 12:30PM-1:45PM
The rise and spread of Islam from the seventh century to the present; introduction to its central beliefs, institutions, and practices, and its impact on the religious and cultural history of Asia and Africa. Continuity and change in the modern period.
Hub Units: Historical Consciousness, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Critical Thinking.
Religion and Science
Yair Lior MWF 12:20pm-1:10pm
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.”)
Magic, Science, Religion
Deeana Klepper T/THR 11:00am-12:15pm
Boundaries and relationships between magic, science, and religion in Europe from antiquity through the Enlightenment. Explores global cultural exchange, distinctions across social, educational, gender, and religious lines, the rise of modern science, and changing assumptions about God, Nature, and humanity. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.
Hub Units: Historical Consciousness, Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Critical Thinking.
Shamans and Shamanism
Frank Korom MWF 11:15am-12:05pm
Shamans in global and theoretical perspectives. The origins and construction of the category of shamanism. Modern theories and debates about the category and the appropriateness of applying it cross-culturally. Also offered as CAS AN 243.
Hub Units: Historical Consciousness, Social Inquiry I.
Religious Thought: The Quest for God and the Good
Diana Lobel MWF 1:25PM-2:15PM
An interactive seminar, investigating the meaning and purpose of human life, the significance of God or an Absolute, the role of contemplation and action in the spiritual quest, relationships between philosophy and religious thought, East and West.
Hub Units: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy.
Introduction to the Sociology of Religion
Staff MWF 10:10am-11:00am
Explores the role of religion in the organization of meaning within human societies and its contribution to the construction, maintenance, and transformation of the social order. Ways in which religion provides specific sets of solutions to the problems of social order are also explored.
Religion & Hip Hop
Margarita Guillory MWF 10:10AM-11:00AM
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.
African American Religious History
Margarita Guillory MWF 12:20PM-1:10PM
A historical survey of religions practiced by people of African descent living in North America. Students explore the diverse terrain of African American religiosity, which includes Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Spiritualism, and African-derived religions.
CAS RN328/JS255/GRS RN628/STH TX828
Steven Katz T/THR 12:30PM-1:45PM
Encounters between Judaism and modernity from the Renaissance and Reformation; the Spanish expulsion and creation of Jewish centers in the New World; emancipation and its consequences; assimilation, Reform Judaism, Zionism, the American Jewish community, non-European communities, Jewish global migration, and modern antisemitism.
Hub Units: Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Historical Consciousness, Critical Thinking.
CAS RN337/JS377/HI205/WS377/GRS RN637
Gender, Sexuality, Judaism
Deeana Klepper THR 3:30PM-6:15PM
Explores the role of gender and sexuality in Judaism and Jewish experience, historically and in the present. Subjects include constructions of masculinity and femininity, attitudes toward (and uses of) the body and sexuality, gendered nature of religious practice and authority. Prereq: First Year Writing Seminar (e.g., WR 100 or WR 120).
Hub Units: Writing-Intensive Course, Historical Consciousness, Research and Information Literacy.
CAS RN338/PH408/JS348/GRS RN638/STH TT811
Philosophy and Mysticism: Jewish and Islamic Perspectives
Diana Lobel T/THR 2:00PM-3:15PM A thematic introduction to mysticism and philosophy, with a focus on the dynamics of religious experience. Readings will be drawn from medieval Jewish and Islamic philosophy; Sufi mysticism and philosophy; Kabbalah, Sufi poetry, Hebrew poetry from the Golden Age of Muslim Spain.
CAS RN364/GRS RN664/STH TX878
Laura Harrington T/THR 12:30pm-1:45pm
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.
Science and Religion: Dialogue and Debate
Jon Roberts MWF 2:30PM-3:20PM
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. Hub Units: Historical Consciousness, Social Inquiry I.
CAS RN375/AN375/GSR RN675/AN775/STH TX875
Culture, Society, and Religion in South Asia
Frank Korom MWF 1:25pm-2:15pm
Ethnographic and historical introduction to the Indian subcontinent with a focus on the impact of religion on cultural practices and social institutions.
CAS RN384/JS260/GSR RN638/STH TX884
Steven Katz T/THR 3:30PM-4:45PM
Rise of German (and European) antisemitism; rise of Nazism; 1935 Nuremberg Laws; the initial Jewish reaction; racial theory; organizing mass murder including ghettos, concentration camps, killing squads, and gas chambers; bystanders and collaborators (countries, organizations, and individuals); Jewish resistance; post-Holocaust religious responses; moral and ethical issues. Hub Units: Ethical Reasoning, Historical Consciousness, Critical Thinking.
CAS RN435/GRS RN735/STH TX836
Women, Gender, and Islam
Kecia Ali M 3:30PM-6:15PM
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: CAS RN 104 or CAS RN 214; or equivalent. Hub Units: Research and Information Literacy, The Individual in Community, Writing-Intensive Course
CAS RN450/GSR RN750/STH
Topics in Religion, Science, and Medicine; Religion, Health, and the Body
Petro/Hughes 3:30PM-6:15PM T 3:30PM-6:20PM
Topic for Fall 2021: Religion, Health, and the Body. This seminar offers a comparative introduction to studies of religion, health, and the body—paying attention to how notions of embodiment and health surface in debates over gender, sexual, and racial difference in various traditions including Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam.
Hub Units: Historical Consciousness, Oral/Signed Communication, Critical Thinking.
CAS RN490/AR435/GSR RN790/AR735/STH TX820
Topics in the Materiality of Ancient Mediterranean Religions
David Frankfurter M 3:30PM-6:15PM
Investigates material traces and contexts of religion in the Graeco-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 CAS AR 435.Prereq: Prior Coursework in Archaeology or Ancient Religions, or consent of instructor. Hub Units: Aesthetic Exploration, Historical Consciousness, Research and Information Literacy.
Approaches to Religion I: Classical Approaches
Jonathan Klawans M 1:25pm-3:05pm, W 1:25pm-2:15pm
Surveys in roughly chronological order classic theoretical and methodological works in religious studies. Covers the history of the field, and critically analyzes the ways religion is studied and taught in modern universities. Prereq: Admission to the GDRS PhD program, or permission of the instructor.