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Courses - Fall 2017


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UNDERGRADUATE COURSES


FALL 2017 RELIGION COURSES

UNDERGRADUATE COURSES

HBR1102       Beginning Hebrew 1                                                                         Dr. Levenson
This course is an introduction to the basic grammar, syntax, and phonology of modern and classical Hebrew.  Meets the foreign language requirement for the BA degree.  No language laboratory required.  

HBR2222                               Intermediate Hebrew                                                 Dr. Levenson

This course focuses on translation and commentary on selected Hebrew readings. Meets the foreign language requirement for the BA degree. No language laboratory required.

Prerequisite: Two semesters of Modern or Biblical Hebrew.

IFS3069          Just Torture?                                                                                            Dr. Twiss
What are the purported goals, justifications, and limits—legal, moral, and political—of torture practices, both historical and contemporary?  How have the recent and on-going debates about the legitimacy of torture in America been shaped by moral and religious perspectives?  In this e-series course, students will learn to think critically about a range of topics that include: history of torture; torture, pain, and “unmaking” the world; social psychological accounts of conditions making torture possible; genealogy of modern torture; democracy and recent proposals to legalize torture; comparative moral and religious perspectives on torture and its critique; and prospects for the abolition of torture.  Course materials are interdisciplinary, drawing from history, social psychology, law (especially international human rights law), philosophy and religion, and the arts.

REL1300        Introduction to World Religions                                                                     Staff This course is an introduction to the academic study of the major religions of the world.  The course will cover the religious traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  In the process of comparing the religions of the world, it will be the responsibility of each student to think critically about the historical evolution, systems of belief, ritual practices, institutional developments and cultural expressions of each religious tradition.  A range of reading materials and writing assignments have been chosen to provide a framework within which to engage a variety of religious issues and to understand the significance and relevance of religion in world history.  Meets LS Cultural Practice (LS-CUL), and Diversity: Cross Cultural Studies (DIV-XCC).  This course is also offered online.

REL2121        Religion in the United States                         Dr. Kirkpatrick, Dr. Drake & Staff
This course is designed to introduce students to the major themes, figures, and directions of religion in American history, with an eye toward ways that social and cultural contexts have shaped the religious experience of Americans in different places and times.  Since it is impossible to cover all religious traditions in one semester, this course will consist of both a general survey of religion in the U.S. and a series of case studies designed to provide a closer look into some of the religious groups and ideas that have shaped this country. Meets LS History requirements as well as Diversity in Western Experience (DIV-YWE).

REL2210        Introduction to the Old Testament                                                                 Staff The word “Bible” is derived from the Greek word “biblia” which means “books”.  While revered as a single book, the Bible is a collection of many texts that were composed by different authors at different times for different reasons.  This course is an introduction to the critical study of this assorted literature and the world in which it was produced.  We will examine individual texts of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament within their historical contexts while taking into consideration other methodological approaches such as literary criticism and theology.  Meets LS Cultural Practice (LS-CUL) and Diversity in western Experience (DIV-YWE).

REL2240        Introduction to the New Testament             Dr. Kelley, Dr. Falcasantos & Staff
This course introduces students to the writings of the New Testament in the context of the historical development of early Christianity. Meets LS Cultural Practice (LS-CUL) and Diversity in western Experience (DIV-YWE).

REL2315        Religions of S. Asia                                                                        Roland Mullins
This course studies the history and culture of the religious traditions of South Asia.  A study of the manifestations of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Islam, Sikhism, and Christianity in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Meets LS Cultural Practice (LS-CUL) and Diversity in cross cultural studies (DIV-XCC).                                                                                           

REL3112        Religion and Fantasy                                                                                       Staff This course offers an overview of theological and anti-theological elements in twentieth and twenty-first century fantasy literature from authors Lewis, Tolkien, Rowling, and Pullman.  Meets LS Cultural Practice (LS-CUL).

REL 3128-1   Latin American Christianity                                                       Dr. Kirkpatrick
The election of Pope Francis to the papacy reflects the growing influence of Latin America upon world Christianity. This course will provide an historical and thematic overview of the changes in the history of Latin American Christianity.  It moves chronologically and geographically—from colonial Latin America to Hispanic immigrant communities in the United States.  Topics covered include race and colonialism, the Cuban Revolution, the Second Vatican Council, social justice and Christianity (liberation theology/evangelical misión integral), the rise of Pentecostalism, labor movements and inequality, and U.S. Hispanic political influence.

REL 3128-2   Violence and New Rel Movments                                                    Dr. McVicar

REL 3128-3   Religion and Law                                                                       Charles McCrary

REL3142        Religion, Self & Society                                                                              Dr. Day
This course is structured around the methodological principle that we should abandon the habit of treating some discourses or practices as being irreducibly distinct from mundane political and economic life. That is to say, religion should not be viewed as a substantive term of analysis but as a piece of political rhetoric—a way of strategically representing some all-too-political aspects of collective life as non-political.  The Fall 2016 version of the course will thematically focus on nineteenth-century appeals to a “Providential Order” in order to justify, denounce or attack the constitutive institutions of chattel slavery in the United States. Meets LS Cultural Practice (LS-CUL).

REL 3145       Gender and Religion                                                                                        Staff
This course considers the impact of gender on religion.  Includes cross-cultural studies, theoretical works, and gender issues within religious traditions.  Meets LS Cultural Practice (LS-CUL) and Diversity in cross cultural studies (DIV-XCC).   

REL 3152       Religion, Race and Ethnicity                                                                  Dr. Drake
This course examines the relation between race, ethnicity and religious beliefs in a cross-cultural context.

REL3155        Psychology in U.S. Religious History                                             Dr. Porterfield
This course explores the psychological aspects of religious life in five different religious traditions in the United States.  It examines the cultural experiences and social structures that have shaped psychological approaches to religion in the U.S. in the 20th and 21st centuries.  Meets Liberal Studies History (LS-HIS).

REL3160        Religion and Science (Honors)                                                                   Dr. Day This course examines how and why evolutionary theory has been identified—by groups self-described as “Creationists” or “Intelligent Design Theorists”—as being uniquely hostile to biblically-based commitments.  In the first section of the course, we will explore the relevant texts from the Hebrew Bible (esp. Genesis) and the historical diversity of its interpreters.  In the second section of the class, we will read Darwin’s On the Origin of Species and highlight the ways its "one long argument" has been seen as buttressing, damaging or indifferent to theological claims about the history of life on earth.  In the final section of the course, we will challenge the notion that the continuing “evolution-creation struggle” is about epistemology, or evidence, or rationality by emphasizing the fundamentally political nature of the controversy.
Meets Liberal studies history requirement.

REL3170        Religious Ethics                                                                         Dr. Kelsay & Staff
This course discusses contemporary moral problems such as deception, sexual activities and relations, war, and the economy from the standpoints of major religious traditions.  Meets Liberal Studies: Ethics and Social Responsibility (ETH/SR) and Diversity in cross cultural studies (DIV-XCC).

REL3171        Reformers in Religion                                                                  Dr. Dupuigrenet
Meets Liberal Studies: Ethics and Social Responsibility (ETH/SR).

REL 3293-1   Women in Graeco-Roman World                                                Dr. Falcasantos    
Meets Liberal Studies: Cultural Practice (LS-CUL).
REL3340-1    The Buddhist Tradition                                                                               Dr. Yu
This course surveys the Buddhist tradition from its beginnings through the modern period.  Some attention to its contemporary forms.  Meets Liberal Studies: Cultural Practice (LS-CUL) and Diversity in cross cultural studies (DIV-XCC) requirements.

 

REL3340-2    The Buddhist Tradition (Honors)                                                        Dr. Cuevas
This course surveys the Buddhist tradition from its beginnings through the modern period.  Some attention to its contemporary forms.  Meets Liberal Studies: Cultural Practice (LS-CUL) and Diversity in cross cultural studies (DIV-XCC) requirements.

REL3340-3    The Buddhist Tradition                                                                  Cameron Foltz
This course surveys the Buddhist tradition from its beginnings through the modern period.  Some attention to its contemporary forms.  Meets Liberal Studies: Cultural Practice (LS-CUL) and Diversity in cross cultural studies (DIV-XCC) requirements.

REL3351        Japanese Religions                                                                            Dr. Buhrman
Many aspects of Japanese culture or character are credited to (or blamed on) Japanese religions.  This course investigates the influence of Japanese religious traditions on Japanese life, culture, and history; as well as the influence of history and politics on modern Japanese religiosity.  The goal of the course is to address the paradox of highly influential religious traditions among a population that claims no religion.  In so doing, students will address the definition of religion and of religiosity, and be prepared to talk about such definitions with relation to the specific example of Japan.  Meets Liberal Studies: Cultural Practice (LS-CUL) and Diversity: Cross Cultural Studies (DIV-XCC).

REL3363        Islamic Traditions                                                                                  Dr. Gaiser
This course provides a historical and topical survey of Islam as a religion and civilization, focusing on the formative and classical periods of its history.  The course is primarily concerned with the life and career of Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam; the scriptural sources of Islam (i.e., the Qur’an and the Sunna); the development of the Muslim community and its principal institutions (schools of thought, law, theology, cultural life, and mystical traditions).  Meets Liberal Studies: Cultural Practice (LS-CUL) and Diversity in Western Experience (DIV-YWE).

REL3367        Islam to Modern World                                                                   James Riggins
This course examines Islam and its adherents from 1300 CE to the present, concentrating on the last two centuries of Islamic history: the period of reform, renewal, and revolution in the wake of Western political and cultural domination.  This course investigates a basic question: What happened to different Muslim communities and intellectuals (specifically those in the Arab world, Iran, Turkey, and Africa) as they responded to the challenges posed by “Westernization” and “modernization?”  Moreover, it explores the relatively new phenomenon of Islam in America.

REL3370        Religion in Africa                                                                                 Jesse Miller
This course examines the variety and complexity of religious practices and beliefs on the African continent, and in particular how African discourses of religion challenge our most fundamental understandings of the term religion.  Meets Liberal Studies: Cultural Practice (LS-CUL) and Diversity: Cross Cultural Studies (DIV-XCC).

 

REL3505        Christian Tradition                                                      Dr. Dupuigrenet and Staff
This course studies the major beliefs, practices, and institutional forms of Christianity in historical perspective.  Meets Liberal Studies: Cultural Practice (LS-CUL).

REL3607        The Jewish Tradition                                                                             Dr. Kavka
This course is a survey of the Jewish tradition and its development from the Biblical period to the present.  We will critically read important texts from the fundamental periods/themes of the tradition, including Biblical texts, Talmud and Midrash, and texts from the medieval and early modern periods.  We will also explore the phenomenon of the rise of major Jewish denominations (Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox), Zionism, and modern Jewish feminism.
In addition, we will spend some time on Jewish “lived religion”: the structure of the liturgical year, the primary Jewish festival holidays, and worship services.  Meets Liberal Studies: Cultural Practice (LS-CUL) and Diversity in Western Experience (DIV-YWE).

REL3936-02  Religion and Sport                                                                         Andrew McKee
May be repeated to a maximum of nine hours.

REL3936-03  Ecstatic Religion                                                                             Cristina Carter
May be repeated to a maximum of nine hours.

REL4044        What is Religion?                                                                              Dr. Buhrman
What is “religion”? How and why do we study “religion”? Is “religion” a manifestation of some sacred, sui generis reality that human beings can only dimly apprehend? Or is “religion” a rickety ideological superstructure built on the foundation of colonial, economic, and gendered oppression?
Perhaps it’s a psychological projection, a delusion from which humanity must free itself. Or maybe “religion” is simply the creation of the scholar who studies it. This course provides a survey of classical and contemporary theories and methods that have tried to answer these questions along with many others. Through close readings of a sampling of theoretical and critical works, this course will provide students with a basic introduction to the various disciplinary frameworks that underlie the academic study of religion. We will cover a wide array of approaches for studying “religion” ranging from anthropology to psychology, from feminist theory to cognitive science. Along the way we will ask, “what is ‘religion’?” and “and how should it be studied?” We will end the course with two recent books that build on the various methods covered in the first ten weeks of the course. These works--on Scientology, a new religious movement, and popular spirituality in contemporary American culture--offer challenging reassessments of the scholarly and popular category of “religion.”  Students should expect a reading-, writing-, and speaking-intensive course that surveys a complex and evolving field of study. Students will be asked to read carefully, offer written reflections on the material covered in class, and present material to their peers. Finally, students will write a final reflective paper assessing the status of “religious studies” in the university.  Meets Upper-Division Scholarship in Practice (UD-SIP) and Oral Communication Competency (OCC).

REL4190-01  20th-Century Christian Thought                                                           Dr. Kelsay
This course focuses on problems and issues in religion and culture.  Topics vary.  Intended for advanced undergraduate students.  Permission of the instructor required.  May be repated to a maximum of nine semester hours.  May be repeated within the same term.
REL4290        Biblical Studies: Rabinnic Judaism in Antiquity                            Dr. Levenson
This course consists of advanced work in biblical studies for undergraduates.  Topics vary.  May be repeated to a maximum of nine semester hours.  May be repeated within the same semester.

REL 4359-1   SP Topics Asian Rel: Chinese Buddhism                                           Dr. Gildow
This course focuses on selected topics and themes in the academic study of Asian religions with special emphasis on issues of methodology.  Topics may include key theories in Asian studies, religion, philosophy, history, sociology, and anthropology intended to help students develop critical skills.

REL4366        Islam in North America                                                                         Dr. Gaiser
This seminar examines the historical development of the Shi’a, including but not limited to Ithna-‘Ashari (“12”) Shi’ism, Fatimid Isma’ilism, and contemporary Shi’ite issues.

REL4491        Ethics of Hospitality                                                                             Dr. Kalbian
Topics vary.  Intended for advanced undergraduate students.  May be repeated to a maximum of nine semester hours.

REL4510        Christianity after the New Testament                                                   Dr. Kelley
This course covers major developments in the history and theology of Christianity in the first three centuries of the Common Era.

REL4905        Directed Individual Study
This course consists of supervised reading and research on selected topics.

REL4932        Honors Work Religion
In this course, students completing this program are awarded their diploma “With Honors in Religion.”  Interested students should consult with the advisor of the program.

 

GRADUATE COURSES

RLG5035       Introduction Study Religion                                                   Dr. McVicar
This course is a graduate introduction to the history, present status, principal issues, and methodologies in the academic study of religion.

RLG5195       20th-Century Christian Thought                                                            Dr. Kelsay

RLG5204-01  Classical Hebrew Texts: Beginning Hebrew I                                Dr. Levenson
Intensive work on specific religious texts in classical Hebrew (ancient or medieval).  Choice of texts will vary by semester.

RLG5204-02  Classical Hebrew Texts: Intermediate Hebrew                              Dr. Levenson
Intensive work on specific religious texts in classical Hebrew (ancient or medieval).  Choice of texts will vary by semester.

RLG5297       SEM: Biblical Studies:  Rabinnic Judaism in Antiquity                 Dr. Levenson
 
RLG5305-2    SEM: History of Rel: Tibet History & Historiography                      Dr. Cuevas

RLG5346       Chinese Buddhism                                                                                Dr. Gildow
This course looks at Chinese Buddhism by way of social and cultural practice; examining the institutional, ritual, and doctrinal components for the construction of Buddhist values, roles and identities within the larger field of Chinese religious life.  Special consideration is given to the symbolics of religious alterity, especially as they apply to the negotiation between Buddhist and non-Buddhist traditions.

RLG5356       Readings in Tibetan                                                                              Dr. Cuevas
This course is a seminar that covers selected primary-source readings in Tibetan language about the religious history of Tibet.  Readings are drawn from a variety of historical periods and genres, including history, biography, Buddhist canonical texts, philosophical treatises, ritual manuals, poetry, and epic narrative.  The course also introduces students to various tools and methods for the study of classical and modern Tibetan literature.

RLG5367       Islam in North America                                                                         Dr. Gaiser
This seminar focuses on the manifold expressions of Shi’ism from its origins to the present day.  It examines the political divisions within the early Islamic community that led to the development of the shi’a.  The seminar also examines the earliest Shi’a sects and the major juridical and theological developments within Ithna-‘Ashari (“12er”) Shi’ism, such as the doctrine of the Imamate and the occultation and return of the 12th Imam.  The seminar also studies the establishment and elaboration of Fatimid Isma’ilism.  The latter part of the seminar is devoted to contemporary issues among the Shi’ites, including contemporary treatments of the martyrdom of Hussayn and the role of Hizbullah in the politics of the Middle East.

RLG5497       SEM: Religious Thought: Ethics of Hospitality                               Dr. Kalbian

RLG5516       Christianity after the New Testament                                                  Dr. Kelley
This course covers major developments in the history and theology of Christianity in the first three centuries of the common era.

RLG5906       Directed Individual Study

RLG5915       Sanskrit Texts                                                                                        
This course studies readings in Sanskrit of selected religious texts.  Topics vary by semester.
 
RLG5937-1    Special Topics: ARH Colloquium                                                  Dr. Porterfield
This course consists of special topics in religious studies.

RLG5937-2    Special Topics: REP Colloquium                                                           Dr. Twiss
This course consists of special topics in religious studies.

 

RLG5940       Supervised Teaching
A maximum of three hours may apply to the master’s degree.

RLG5971       Master’s Thesis
A maximum of six semester hours is required.

RLG6298       SEM: Scriptures                                                                                            Dr. Yu
This course is a seminar in scriptures and interpretation that encourages research in selected aspects of the interpretation of sacred texts in a particular tradition or traditions.

RLG6498       SEM Religious Thought: Rel & American Business                   Dr. Porterfield
This course is a seminar in religious thought designed to encourage research in the area of religious thought through inquiry into specific themes, persons, or movements.

RLG6904       Readings for Exams                                                                                   Multiple
This course is designed for graduate students who have completed all of their required coursework and are preparing for their examinations.

RLG6980       Dissertation                                                                                                 Multiple

RLG8964       Doctoral Exams                                                                                          Multiple

 

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