Undergraduate Courses

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REL-R 133: INTRODUCTION TO RELIGION (9165)

arts/humanities

Instructor: Michelson, Patrick Lally
Course Duration: 8/21/17 — 12/15/17
Day & Time: TR 9:30 AM — 10:45 AM
Location: Morrison Hall 007
Credit Hours: 3.0
CASE Requirement(s): A&H

What is this thing that we call religion? And how should we study it? This course introduces students to the many different ways in which modern scholars of religion have tried to answer these questions. In examining the history of religious studies, students will discover that much of our current knowledge about religion is founded upon competing claims about the existence of God, the value of religion in shaping individual and collective psychology, the origins of religious practice and consciousness, and the role that religion plays in structuring culture and society. In other words, students will come out of this class not so much with a better understanding of their own religious tradition. Rather, they will acquire an informed, sophisticated, and ultimately meaningful way to talk about religion.

REL-R 153: RELIGIONS OF ASIA (30116)

arts/humanities global civ/cultures

Instructor: Haberman, David L.
Course Duration: 8/21/17 — 12/15/17
Day & Time: F 4:40 PM — 5:30 PM
Location: Ballantine Hall 238
Credit Hours: 3.0
CASE Requirement(s): A&H GCC

REL-R 153: RELIGIONS OF ASIA (30115)

arts/humanities global civ/cultures

Instructor: Haberman, David L.
Course Duration: 8/21/17 — 12/15/17
Day & Time: F 3:35 PM — 4:25 PM
Location: Ballantine Hall 238
Credit Hours: 3.0
CASE Requirement(s): A&H GCC

REL-R 153: RELIGIONS OF ASIA (30114)

arts/humanities global civ/cultures

Instructor: Haberman, David L.
Course Duration: 8/21/17 — 12/15/17
Day & Time: F 2:30 PM — 3:20 PM
Location: Ballantine Hall 238
Credit Hours: 3.0
CASE Requirement(s): A&H GCC

REL-R 153: RELIGIONS OF ASIA (30113)

arts/humanities global civ/cultures

Instructor: Haberman, David L.
Course Duration: 8/21/17 — 12/15/17
Day & Time: MW 11:15 AM — 12:05 PM
Location: Ballantine Hall 109
Credit Hours: 3.0
CASE Requirement(s): A&H GCC

REL-R 170: RELIGION, ETHICS & PUBLIC LIFE (12277)

arts/humanities

Instructor: Sideris, Lisa H
Course Duration: 8/21/17 — 12/15/17
Day & Time: F 2:30 PM — 3:20 PM
Location: Ballantine Hall 215
Credit Hours: 3.0
CASE Requirement(s): A&H

REL-R 170: RELIGION, ETHICS & PUBLIC LIFE (12278)

arts/humanities

Instructor: Sideris, Lisa H
Course Duration: 8/21/17 — 12/15/17
Day & Time: F 3:35 PM — 4:25 PM
Location: Ballantine Hall 215
Credit Hours: 3.0
CASE Requirement(s): A&H

REL-R 170: RELIGION, ETHICS & PUBLIC LIFE (12276)

arts/humanities

Instructor: Sideris, Lisa H
Course Duration: 8/21/17 — 12/15/17
Day & Time: F 1:25 PM — 2:15 PM
Location: Ballantine Hall 215
Credit Hours: 3.0
CASE Requirement(s): A&H

REL-R 170: RELIGION, ETHICS & PUBLIC LIFE (12274)

arts/humanities

Instructor: Sideris, Lisa H
Course Duration: 8/21/17 — 12/15/17
Day & Time: R 5:45 PM — 6:35 PM
Location: Ballantine Hall 011
Credit Hours: 3.0
CASE Requirement(s): A&H

REL-R 170: RELIGION, ETHICS & PUBLIC LIFE (12275)

arts/humanities

Instructor: Sideris, Lisa H
Course Duration: 8/21/17 — 12/15/17
Day & Time: R 6:50 PM — 7:40 PM
Location: Ballantine Hall 011
Credit Hours: 3.0
CASE Requirement(s): A&H

REL-R 170: RELIGION, ETHICS & PUBLIC LIFE (12273)

arts/humanities

Instructor: Sideris, Lisa H
Course Duration: 8/21/17 — 12/15/17
Day & Time: R 4:40 PM — 5:30 PM
Location: Ballantine Hall 011
Credit Hours: 3.0
CASE Requirement(s): A&H

REL-R 170: RELIGION, ETHICS & PUBLIC LIFE (12272)

arts/humanities

Instructor: Sideris, Lisa H
Course Duration: 8/21/17 — 12/15/17
Day & Time: MW 3:35 PM — 4:25 PM
Location: Jordan Hall A100
Credit Hours: 3.0
CASE Requirement(s): A&H

REL-B 210: INTRODUCTION TO BUDDHISM (7744)

arts/humanities global civ/cultures

Instructor: Nance, Richard F.
Course Duration: 8/21/17 — 12/15/17
Day & Time: TR 1:00 PM — 2:15 PM
Location: Woodburn Hall 101
Credit Hours: 3.0
CASE Requirement(s): A&H GCC

This course is intended to serve as an introduction to Buddhism, broadly conceived. We will survey the development of Buddhist thought and practice, from its origins in India to its subsequent expansions into other parts of the world. The course has two main aims: to familiarize you with basic Buddhist ideas and practices as these have taken shape in various historical and cultural settings, and to invite you to think critically and carefully about these ideas and practices and what they imply for those who espouse and engage in them. In pursuit of these aims, we will be reading a number of primary sources in translation, together with several additional texts that will help you to contextualize this material. We will be screening several films as well. No previous knowledge of Buddhism is necessary, nor will any be presumed.

REL-A 210: INTR OLD TESTAMNT/HEBREW BIBLE (30120)

arts/humanities global civ/cultures

Instructor: Mokhtarian, Jason Sion
Course Duration: 8/21/17 — 12/15/17
Day & Time: TR 11:15 AM — 12:30 PM
Location: Lindley Hall 102
Credit Hours: 3.0
CASE Requirement(s): A&H GCC

The Hebrew Bible is a foundational text of Western civilization. The goal of this course is to familiarize you with this collection and to understand its development over time in an ancient culture that was radically different from our own. Besides the texts that make up the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, we will also consider non-biblical texts that were written and read in the same period, including writings from the Dead Sea Scrolls, placing them in a broader historical and cultural context of Jewish Antiquity. How were these writings created, interpreted, used, and collected by ancient communities in the formative period that gave birth to Judaism and Christianity? Throughout the course, we will discuss how the texts of the Hebrew Bible have been read and interpreted in very different ways by ancient religious communities and by modern biblical scholars. This approach is meant to encourage reflection on our own reading practices, and to understand how the assumptions we bring to a text, and the context in which we read it, affect the meanings that it comes to make.

REL-B 220: INTRODUCTION TO HINDUISM (30131)

arts/humanities global civ/cultures

Instructor: Manring, Rebecca
Course Duration: 8/21/17 — 12/15/17
Day & Time: TR 4:00 PM — 5:15 PM
Location: Swain East 140
Credit Hours: 3.0
CASE Requirement(s): A&H GCC

"Hinduism" is the umbrella term for the vast and multifaceted traditions of at least 80% of the people of India, and of about one out of every five human beings on earth right now. In this short semester we can only begin to wrap our minds around its richness and diversity! Our goal is to gain some understanding and appreciation of the religious culture of many of those with whom we share this planet, to expand our own ideas of what it means to be human, and to broaden our understanding of what "religion" is. Using the recurrent themes of Creation, Preservation, and Destruction we will examine a variety of Indian religious expressions and explore their meanings. Central to our exploration will be the constant tensions between various strands of Hinduism: renunciation vs. sensual desire, monism vs. monotheism vs. polytheism, social duty vs. personal freedom, and more. The challenge is to allow ourselves to accept that seemingly opposite tendencies are not necessarily mutually exclusive, and that we can hold more than one perspective at a time. Such is the extraordinary richness of religious expression in India, from time immemorial to the present day.

REL-A 220: INTRO TO THE NEW TESTAMENT (30124)

arts/humanities global civ/cultures

Instructor: Schott, Jeremy M
Course Duration: 8/21/17 — 12/15/17
Day & Time: F 4:40 PM — 5:30 PM
Location: Hutton Honors College 217
Credit Hours: 3.0
CASE Requirement(s): A&H GCC

REL-A 220: INTRO TO THE NEW TESTAMENT (30121)

arts/humanities global civ/cultures

Instructor: Schott, Jeremy M
Course Duration: 8/21/17 — 12/15/17
Day & Time: TR 3:35 PM — 4:25 PM
Location: Chemistry 122
Credit Hours: 3.0
CASE Requirement(s): A&H GCC

REL-A 220: INTRO TO THE NEW TESTAMENT (30122)

arts/humanities global civ/cultures

Instructor: Schott, Jeremy M
Course Duration: 8/21/17 — 12/15/17
Day & Time: F 2:30 PM — 3:20 PM
Location: Hutton Honors College 217
Credit Hours: 3.0
CASE Requirement(s): A&H GCC

REL-A 220: INTRO TO THE NEW TESTAMENT (30123)

arts/humanities global civ/cultures

Instructor: Schott, Jeremy M
Course Duration: 8/21/17 — 12/15/17
Day & Time: F 3:35 PM — 4:25 PM
Location: Hutton Honors College 217
Credit Hours: 3.0
CASE Requirement(s): A&H GCC

REL-A 270: INTRODUCTION TO ISLAM (12256)

arts/humanities global civ/cultures

Instructor: Jaques, Robert Kevin
Course Duration: 8/21/17 — 12/15/17
Day & Time: MW 2:30 PM — 3:45 PM
Location: Optometry School 105
Credit Hours: 3.0
CASE Requirement(s): A&H GCC

This is an introductory course to the study of Islam designed for students with little or no prior knowledge of the religion. The course begins with the historical emergence of Islam at around the seventh century C.E., and concludes with the various forms that Islam has taken in the contemporary era. In-between these bookends, we will read about how Muslims have sought to put into practice the word of God and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad by configuring and transforming various aspects of social life such as personal piety, education, law, gender relations, and so on. Apart from identifying the core beliefs and cultural practices that have defined Islam, we will also look at issues that have sparked unceasing debate and disagreement between Muslims. Some of the major theoretical concepts that will recur in our discussions include authority, interpretation, tradition, and representation.

REL-A 315: PROPHECY IN ANCIENT ISRAEL (32845)

arts/humanities

Instructor: Mastnjak, Nathan Robert
Course Duration: 8/21/17 — 12/15/17
Day & Time: MW 4:00 PM — 5:15 PM
Location: Woodburn Hall 008
Credit Hours: 3.0
CASE Requirement(s): A&H

REL-A 318: RABBINIC JUD: LIT AND BELIEFS (30138)

intensive writing arts/humanities global civ/cultures

Instructor: Mokhtarian, Jason Sion
Course Duration: 8/21/17 — 12/15/17
Day & Time: TR 1:00 PM — 2:15 PM
Location: Sycamore Hall 224
Credit Hours: 3.0
CASE Requirement(s): IW A&H GCC

The Jewish sages of late antiquity known as rabbis were masters of the Bible who produced a complex corpus of laws and narratives known as rabbinic literature. What did these interpreters of the Bible believe?And how was the Bible interpreted over the course of late antiquity?In seeking answers to these questions, this course introduces students to the literature and beliefs of the rabbis who lived in Palestine and Babylonia circa the second through sixth centuries C.E. and thus witnessed the rise of Christianity in the Roman Empire and the presence of Zoroastrianism in the Persian Sasanian Empire. Themes covered throughout the semester include some major concepts such as covenant, exile, good and evil, the election of Israel, redemption, revelation, and existence of demons and angels. This course is a natural sequel to any course on the Hebrew Bible, though no background in biblical studies or ancient Judaism is necessary.

REL-C 325: RACE, REL & ETHNIC IN AMERICAS (30118)

Instructor: Selka, Stephen
Course Duration: 8/21/17 — 10/13/17
Day & Time: MW 5:45 PM — 8:15 PM
Location: Ballantine Hall 215
Credit Hours: 3.0
CASE Requirement(s): S&H DUS

This course examines the various intersections of religion, race, and ethnicity in the Americas. It introduces students to approaches and concepts from religious studies and from the interdisciplinary study of race and ethnicity. Our starting point in the course is the idea that religion, race, and ethnicity are not given or stable categories, but concepts that change over time, vary across contexts, and are often constructed in relation to one another. We will explore these ideas through the analysis of: the intersections of race and ethnicity in Christian, Jewish, and Muslim communities; the emergence of Buddhism in the Americas; and the construction of indigenous and African diaspora religions as religious categories. Our scope will not be limited to those examples, but they will provide our primary focus.

REL-C 335: NEW RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS (30119)

arts/humanities

Instructor: Selka, Stephen
Course Duration: 8/21/17 — 10/13/17
Day & Time: TR 5:45 PM — 8:15 PM
Location: Sycamore Hall 001
Credit Hours: 3.0
CASE Requirement(s): A&H

This course analyzes the emergence, reception, and history of religious movements understood as "new" in some sense. These include religious movements inspired by Asian, indigenous and African religious traditions; the eclectic religious movements that became to the object of moral panic over cults in the 1970s and 1980s; New Age and Pagan religions that proliferated in the 1980s and 1990s, and religions founded on the basis of popular films in the 2000s. As we explore these examples through the lens of theories drawn from religious studies and other disciplines, we will consider what draws people to new religions, why they rise and fall in popularity, what they reflect about the American societies and cultures in which they emerge, and how they are viewed and, at times, repressed by the broader society.

REL-D 350: RELIGION, ETHICS & ENVIRONMENT (13647)

arts/humanities

Instructor: Sideris, Lisa H
Course Duration: 8/21/17 — 12/15/17
Day & Time: MW 11:15 AM — 12:30 PM
Location: Ballantine Hall 011
Credit Hours: 3.0
CASE Requirement(s): A&H

This course is built upon an examination of the relationship of humans to the rest of the natural world and its inhabitants. The course surveys various religious and secular/philosophical schools of thought in environmental ethics (e.g. ecotheology and nature religions, ecofeminism, 'land ethics,' animals rights and liberation, science-based approaches, etc). Topics concerning ethics and the environment may include: instrumental and intrinsic value in nature and animals; anthropocentrism; individualistic versus holistic ethics; ecological and evolutionary science; obligations to future generations; population; climate change and energy depletion; diminishing species; environmental justice, economics and sustainability. This class will explore dilemmas associated with these issues, and will provide a forum for students to understand, articulate, and defend their own personal environmental worldviews.

REL-A 351: CHRISTIANITY AND MODERNITY (30158)

arts/humanities

Instructor: Michelson, Patrick Lally
Course Duration: 8/21/17 — 12/15/17
Day & Time: TR 1:00 PM — 2:15 PM
Location: Ballantine Hall 222
Credit Hours: 3.0
CASE Requirement(s): A&H

In response to an array of challenges to the traditional tenets of Christianity, European thinkers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries reconfigured an array of Christian narratives, symbols, and figures to give Christianity new meaning in a post-Christian world. This course examines several of these reconfigurations through a close reading of some of the most important texts in modern Christian and anti-Christian thought. Using those texts, we will explore how concepts like apocalypse, salvation, trinity, the kingdom of God, heresy, and Jesus himself were recast in modern narratives about progress, history, and ideology.

REL-B 374: CLASSICAL CHINESE THOUGHT (13062)

arts/humanities global civ/cultures

Instructor: Stalnaker, Aaron Dean
Course Duration: 8/21/17 — 12/15/17
Day & Time: TR 2:30 PM — 3:45 PM
Location: Student Building Frances Morg 220
Credit Hours: 3.0
CASE Requirement(s): A&H GCC

This course provides an introduction to the early development of Chinese thought, from the oracle bone divination of the Shang Dynasty to the religious, ethical, and political theories of classical Confucianism, Mohism, and Daoism, through the unification of China in 221 BCE. We will concentrate on early debates over human nature and the best practices of self-cultivation, the general nature of the cosmos and the human role in it, and the proper ordering of society. The different positions articulated by these early Chinese figures greatly influenced later Chinese intellectual and social history, including the development of Buddhism, and influenced developments in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam as well. Thus, understanding these early debates is an important stepping-stone for understanding East Asian thought and culture generally. No knowledge of classical Chinese is required. Readings are in English translation.

REL-A 380: KNOWNG WILL OF GOD ISLAM I:LAW (30153)

arts/humanities global civ/cultures

Instructor: Jaques, Robert Kevin
Course Duration: 8/21/17 — 12/15/17
Day & Time: MW 9:30 AM — 10:45 AM
Location: Global International Studies 1134
Credit Hours: 3.0
CASE Requirement(s): A&H GCC

The purpose of the class is for students to gain understandings of central issues in Muslim legal thought as they were developed by various groups and individuals over the last 1300 years. The course will focus on examining Muslim strategies for interpreting the texts of revelation and how these developed since the death of Muhammad in 632 through the establishment of the four Sunni schools of law in the 9th-10th centuries. It will primarily examine how these ideas were developed by traditional Muslim jurists (the fuqaha) since the early 9th century and how they have been reinterpreted by modernists, revivalists, and revivalist extremists in the last century. Attendance is required as is active participation in class discussions. There will in various class assignments, a mid-term exam, and a term paper.

REL-C 402: RELIGION, ILLNESS, AND HEALING (10693)

intensive writing arts/humanities

Instructor: Brown, Candy Gunther
Course Duration: 8/21/17 — 12/15/17
Day & Time: MW 1:00 PM — 2:15 PM
Location: Ballantine Hall 118
Credit Hours: 3.0
CASE Requirement(s): IW A&H DUS

REL-D 485: RELIGION AND MEDIA (30159)

Instructor: Ibrahim, Nur Amali
Course Duration: 8/21/17 — 12/15/17
Day & Time: TR 11:15 AM — 12:30 PM
Location: Woodburn Hall 008
Credit Hours: 3.0
CASE Requirement(s): S&H

This course examines two types of interconnections between religion and media in the modern world. Our first vector of analysis traces how religious beliefs and practices are formed, transmitted, and fought over in the media. We will consider different types of media from various cross-cultural contexts and their impact on religion, from the theater of spirit possession among indigenous communities, to the evangelical Christian radio and television preachers in the U.S., Oprah Winfrey's self-help theology, the cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad in Charlie Hebdo, Hindu nationalist television programs in India, and the online recruitment strategies employed by white nationalist and Islamist radicals. Secondly, we will analyze how religion itself is a type of media in the sense that it mediates communication among human beings and between human and non-human beings. We will be consistently eclectic in our case studies and explore how Chinese burn paper money to communicate with their ancestors, how rituals enable Amazonians to tap into how forests and animals think, and how Siberian Buddhists use the bodies of dead monks to understand their relationship with the Russian state, among other examples. Key concepts to be discussed in the class include: media and mediation, religion and secularism, publics and counterpublics, and the state.

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Other courses of interest

COLL-C103 Original Sin: Religion and Psychology

Instructor: Furey, C.
Course Duration: 8/21/16 - 12/15/16
Day & Time: MW 12:20p-1:10p
Credit Hours: 3

Are we born bad? Selfish and greedy? Do we have a difficult time understanding why we do what we do? Of acting on behalf of others rather than ourselves? Are humans rational creatures? Or are we driven by emotions and desires that we often only dimly understand? These are questions you might encounter in a psychology class. They are some of the questions that neuroscientists and other empirical sciences seek to answer. But they are also the questions addressed by the religious doctrine of original sin, in some of the most formative and influential texts ever written. In this class we’ll demonstrate the enduring relevance of religious texts to contemporary questions of human psychology.

Sources examined include the creation account in the Book of Genesis (including a feminist reinterpretation); Augustine of Hippo’s classic work, Confessions (sometimes described as the first autobiography ever written); selections from John Milton’s Paradise Lost; Reformation debates about free will and predestination; and Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor; works of liberation theology; and an analysis of race as America’s “original sin.” Assignments include weekly postings; a midterm and final; and a short paper and presentation on a topic selected by the student, in consultation with instructors.

COLL-C103 Conceptions of the Self, East and West

Instructor: Stalnaker, A.
Course Duration: 8/21/16 - 12/15/16
Day & Time: TR 4:40p-5:30p
Credit Hours: 3

It is a truism that different cultures propound different visions of human life. But what are we as contemporary residents of an increasingly heterogeneous nation to make of this diversity? Do we have any rational basis for evaluating the alternative possibilities for life presented by different religious and philosophical traditions? This course examines important, indeed classic, statements on the nature of human existence from the ancient and modern West, and from East Asia, and endeavors to sensitively compare these diverse visions of human life without capitulating to nihilism, relativism, or self-satisfied cultural chauvinism. We examine influential representatives of several traditions, including Confucianism, Daoism, Christianity, Marxism, and contemporary democratic political theory. Recurring issues include the character and relation of reason and emotion; the nature and source of saving dispositions; understandings of the relation of our more animal and more human sides; problems in life that deform the self; the need, if any, for transcendent influences to actualize the self; the form of and rationale for various practices of self-cultivation; and the relation of individual and communal flourishing. All readings are in English or English translation.

COLL-C103 Studies in Religion: Death

Instructor: Ing, M.
Course Duration: 8/21/16 - 12/15/16
Day & Time: MW 1:25p-2:15p
Credit Hours: 3

This course will explore several issues under the broad topic of ‘death.’ In particular we will study various cultural responses to personal death (i.e., one’s own death) and the death of others, as well as various cultural responses to grief associated with the loss of significant things. We will spend much of the semester thinking about questions such as, how have people thought about death? How do people cope with personal death anxiety? How have various cultures dealt with the grief associated with losing someone significant?

In thinking through these questions we will read the work of contemporary philosophers, anthropologists, and scholars of religious studies. This will involve learning about early China, ancient Greece, and contemporary Europe and the United States. Students who take this class will be able to understand the role of mourning across cultures, analyze various approaches to coping with anxieties associated with death, and think through the ways in which death might influence how people live their lives.

JSTU-J 251 Jewish History: the Bible to Spanish Expulsion

Instructor: Ifft Decker, S
Course Duration: 8/21/16 - 12/16/16
Day & Time: TR 1:00-2:15p
Credit Hours: 3

This course introduces students to various aspects of Judaism from the Biblical Era to the Middle Ages. Key historical events to be studied include the origins of the ancient Israelites; the composition of the Hebrew Bible; the destruction of the Second Temple; the Jewish encounter with Hellenism; the rise of the Rabbis and Rabbinic Literature; symbiosis and conflict between Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Medieval Europe; and the Spanish Expulsion. As we work our way through these major stages of Jewish history, we also pay close attention to the formation of religious ideas and practices that characterize Jewish life in each period, such as monotheism, covenant, Torah, temple, liturgy, mysticism, and diaspora. Course readings incorporate a large selection of primary texts in translation alongside secondary literature from various introductory-level books. Assignments include exams and short research papers.

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