Undergraduate minors: religion and media; religious studies
Graduate degrees: M.A. in religious studies; Ph.D. in religious studies
The Department of Religious Studies encourages multidisciplinary inquiry into religious ideas, experiences, philosophies, cultural expressions, and social movements. It studies a rich array of traditions and paths, including South and Southeast Asian religions, ancient Judaism and early Christianity, African diaspora religions, modern European Christianity, various Islamic sects, North American religions, including Native American traditions, and new forms of religion that many people may not yet recognize as religions.
The study of religion helps students to think critically and creatively about the many forms that religion takes and the subtle ways in which it operates. Students learn how people from around the world have responded to age-old questions about life, love, suffering, and death. They learn about religion's impact on global events, including its influences on the construction of personal and communal identities, and its roles in shaping processes of social change, both historically and in the contemporary digital era.
Undergraduate Programs of Study
Graduate Programs of Study
Religious Studies Courses
RELS:1000 First-Year Seminar1 s.h.
Small discussion class taught by a faculty member; topics chosen by instructor; may include outside activities (e.g., films, lectures, performances, readings, visits to research facilities). Requirements: first- or second-semester standing.
RELS:1001 Judaism, Christianity, and Islam3 s.h.
Introduction to sacred literature, beliefs, and rituals of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as well as historical and contemporary relationship between these three Abrahamic religions. GE: Historical Perspectives.
RELS:1010 CLAS Master Class1-3 s.h.
Exploration of a single topic in a series of lectures by faculty presenting divergent perspectives; illuminates intellectual adventure inherent in liberal arts and sciences; encourages discovery of majors and other areas of study within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Same as ARTS:1001, BIOC:1001, CLAS:1001, CS:1001, CSD:1001, ENGL:1001, HIST:1001, PHIL:1001, THTR:1001.
RELS:1015 Religions in a Global Context: The Critical Role of Religion in International Affairs3 s.h.
Essentials of world’s religions; focus on religion’s role in national and international events, fundamentalism, millenarianism, protest movements, religion and youth culture, religion and popular culture, contact between religious communities past and present.
RELS:1050 Big Ideas: Introduction to Information, Society, and Culture3 s.h.
What is information? What does it teach us about societies and cultures? How is information used to shape societies and even personal preferences? What types of information are there and how can we understand and use them? Students work with faculty from multiple disciplines to investigate these questions using inquiry-based activities to build success in critical thinking and teamwork. GE: Quantitative or Formal Reasoning. Same as POLI:1050.
RELS:1060 Journey Through World Religions3 s.h.
What makes a religion work, where do they come from, why and how religion(s) become structured in the lives of individuals and cultures, and how different cultures define and inhabit the religions that are practiced on their soil.
RELS:1070 Introduction to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament3 s.h.
History, religion, and thought of ancient Jews as recorded in their scripture. GE: Values and Culture.
RELS:1080 Introduction to the New Testament3 s.h.
History, religion, and thought of early Christians as recorded in the New Testament. GE: Values and Culture.
RELS:1113 Gateway to the Bible3 s.h.
Disagreement of Jews, Catholics, Protestants, and Eastern Orthodox Christians about the Bible, one of the most influential works in Western culture, on how it should be interpreted, what books should be included, and what versions of those books should be authoritative; introduction to issues involved in creating and interpreting the Bible; how academic study of religion seeks to provide answers.
RELS:1130 Introduction to Islamic Civilization3 s.h.
Major areas of Islamic religious tradition: Qur'an, traditions of the Prophet, development and character of Islamic law, theology. GE: International and Global Issues; Values and Culture. Same as HIST:1030.
RELS:1225 Medieval Religion and Culture3 s.h.
Religion in Europe from classical antiquity to dawn of the Reformation; the religious element in traditions such as art, architecture, literature. GE: Historical Perspectives. Same as HIST:1025.
RELS:1250 Modern Religion and Culture3 s.h.
European and American religious life from Renaissance to 21st century; focus on specific themes, such as secularism, regionalism, pluralism. GE: Historical Perspectives. Same as HIST:1050.
RELS:1323 Life in the Biblical World3 s.h.
Examination of world depicted in Old and New Testaments of the Bible; archaeological evidence, ancient art, historical accounts, geography, and Bible text used to examine background of biblical text, shedding light on different aspects of daily life in antiquity from different points of view from Late Bronze Age through Roman period. Same as CLSA:1323.
RELS:1350 Introduction to African American Religions3 s.h.
GE: Values and Culture. Same as AFAM:1250.
RELS:1404 Living Religions of the East3 s.h.
RELS:1410 Introduction to Indian Religions3 s.h.
Religions with origins in the South Asian geographic region (e.g., Vedas in mid-second millennium BCE, Jainism and Buddhism from sixth to fourth centuries BCE, Sikhism in 15th century, Indian Christianity, Islam); focus on Hinduism and Buddhism; rise of varied literary forms, ritual, rise of devotional religion, Tantra, how religious practices affect indigenous medical traditions, how these traditions developed in different South Asian regions; broad changes in South Asian religion in 20th and early 21st centuries, current politicization of religion.
RELS:1430 The Bible: Frequently Asked Questions3 s.h.
Curious about what the Bible is or how it was created, the biblical character that your friends keep referencing, where ideas like Satan and the apocalypse come from, or how the Bible influences our world today? Introduction to the Bible and its influences on Western culture; course format organized by question types to allow flexibility in learning.
RELS:1502 Asian Humanities: India3 s.h.
Introduction to four thousand years of South Asian civilization, through popular stories. GE: Values and Culture. Same as SOAS:1502.
RELS:1506 Introduction to Buddhism3 s.h.
Development of Buddhism in India, its spread across Asia, and arrival in the West; exploration of diverse Buddhist philosophies, practices, and cultures; readings from India, Tibet, China, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia. GE: Values and Culture. Same as ASIA:1060, HIST:1612.
RELS:1510 Gods, Buddhas, and Ghostly Officials: The Past and Present of Chinese Religions3 s.h.
History of religious beliefs and practices in China; role in modern-day Chinese society; specific case studies that illuminate current situation of religion in China and impact on Chinese society; focus on the still widespread worship of gods and ancestors, the Confucian, Buddhist and Daoist traditions, recent upsurge of Christianity in China, and emergence of new religions (e.g., the Falun gong). Same as ASIA:1110.
RELS:1606 Civilizations of Asia: South Asia3-4 s.h.
RELS:1610 Japanese Religions3 s.h.
Religions of Japan from ancient times to the present day; elite and popular Japanese interpretations of Chinese Buddhist and Daoist traditions; the parallel development of an indigenous kami tradition; contemporary new religious movements; focus on the codification of a variety of religious (and sometimes quasi-religious) paths, including the way of tea, the way of the brush, and the way of the samurai. Same as JPNS:1115.
RELS:1620 Bhagavad Gita: Essential Teachings of Indian Religion3 s.h.
Students read the Bhagavad Gita and discuss its interpretations and use in classical and modern religious, literary, and political contexts; composed around 2000 years ago, it is the best known and most influential religious text in Indian history and concisely addresses war and peace, duty and righteousness, renunciation, devotion, and the nature of the universe; its been read, debated, and discussed by ancient philosophers, modern religious teachers, and political figures such as Mahatma Gandhi, the father of modern Independent India. Same as SOAS:1620, TRNS:1620.
RELS:1670 Korea in the World3 s.h.
Comprehensive and critical understanding of Korea's place in the world; emphasis on historical and sociocultural roots of various aspects of life on the contemporary Korean peninsula (both North and South Korea); comprehensive list of topics including cultural production (K-pop and film), religions, economy, gender relations, cuisine, politics, and prospects for reunification. Same as KORE:1670.
RELS:1702 Religion in America Today3 s.h.
How American men, women, and children practice their beliefs in today's society. GE: Values and Culture.
RELS:1725 Gender and Religions in Visual Culture: Korea3 s.h.
Students draw creatively on visual materials to illuminate complex experience of Korean women in various religious traditions of Korea.
RELS:1765 U.S. Latino Religions3 s.h.
Beliefs and practices of U.S. Latinos and Latinas, ways that their beliefs and practices are unique and where they overlap with mainstream U.S. society; beliefs, symbols, and practices among U.S. Latinos and Latinas on national and local level; field visits to local churches and religious sites; class visitors share insights. Same as LAS:1765, LATS:1765.
RELS:1810 Happiness in a Difficult World3 s.h.
Religious backgrounds and unique spiritualities of Maya Angelou (an African-American Christian), Black Elk (a Lakota Sioux medicine man), and the Dalai Lama (a Tibetan Buddhist monk); forms of oppression that humans can experience as obstacles to happiness, and forms of liberation that are possible (social, political, economic, mental, emotional, spiritual). GE: Values and Culture.
RELS:1903 Quest for Human Destiny3 s.h.
Quests for destiny in terms of perceived options/goals and ability to recognize, pursue, achieve them. GE: Values and Culture.
RELS:1997 Harry Potter: The Mystery and Magic of Life3 s.h.
Exploration of Harry Potter novels and films that offer millions of people an entrée into a world of wizards, witches, and muggles; this engrossing world created by J.K. Rowling invites readers and viewers to explore the power of human imagination, creates a space for asking questions of personal significance (What defines me as a person? What sort of person am I in the process of becoming? What are the most significant factors that are shaping my identity and destiny?); students read selections and view film segments while exploring these essential questions.
RELS:2041 Understanding "The Muslim World"3 s.h.
RELS:2064 Tricksters, Fools, and Creators: Mythical Agents of Change3 s.h.
Trickster figures found all around the world in many forms, including coyote, br’er rabbit, spider, raven, and gods; how they are often depicted as bungling fools or dupes, but also as creators, transformers, or culture heroes; how they get into trouble and solve human problems; how storytellers have long entertained and educated their listeners with tales of trickster exploits; trickster figures that have been recast in comic books and on movie screens (e.g., Loki); examination of historical and contemporary trickster figures to understand how they are experienced by different cultures and how they shape and inform human behavior.
RELS:2068 Jews in Popular Culture3 s.h.
Exploration of a wide variety of ways in which Jewish people represent themselves through production of cultural media.
RELS:2080 Public Life in the U.S.: Religion and Media3 s.h.
Examination of how the U.S. came into being through specific communication practices, how religion has helped and hindered that process; religious roots of the idea of the U.S., intertwined histories of print media and religion, role of religion and secularism in public discourse; U.S. pride as a nation in which diversity thrives in public discourse; communicative acts that created and sustained this country and also mark sites of discord, conflict, and confusion from the very beginnings of the U.S. to today; how religion has been a source of national identity and national division. Same as COMM:2080.
RELS:2087 Narnia and Beyond: The Writings of C.S. Lewis3 s.h.
Exploration of C.S. Lewis's use of fantasy to describe the indescribable, his efforts to empathize with human suffering while hoping in possibility of miracles, and his jargon-free narration of Christian beliefs for a war-weary country; Lewis's works that continue to attract attention, ranging from children's literature to science fiction to autobiography and nonfiction; as a professor of medieval and renaissance literature, Lewis's unique perspective on Christianity that led him to make use of imagery, metaphors, and narratives previously neglected by Christian thinkers.
RELS:2090 Issues in American Catholicism3 s.h.
Major issues that have faced Catholics in America; special attention to issues of gender, racial, and ethnic identities.
RELS:2110 Diversity in American Religious History: Experimenting with Gender and Sexuality3 s.h.
Introduction to select popular, alternative, and communal religious groups from the 19th and 20th centuries that have challenged society's norms for gender and sexuality. Same as GWSS:2110, HIST:2210.
RELS:2182 Ancient Mediterranean Religions3 s.h.
Introduction to major religious traditions of ancient Mediterranean world; Mesopotamia, the Levant (Hebrew Bible), Egypt, Greece, and Rome; central aspects of mythology, ritual, and archaeology, individually and in comparative perspective; ancient Judaism and Christianity considered in their various cultural contexts; basic concepts for understanding cultural exchange; fundamental theories in the study of religion. GE: Values and Culture. Same as CLSA:2482.
RELS:2225 Messianic and Apocalyptic Prophecy in the Bible3 s.h.
Literary, historical, and theological analysis of biblical prophecies and their impact. Same as CLSA:2425.
RELS:2260 Hard Cases in Healthcare at the Beginning of Life3 s.h.
Exploration of ethical impact that advances in biotechnology—including genetic, reproductive, and neonatal technology—are having in the medical arena and on humanity; consideration of the powerful influence that religion and spirituality have on most people's thinking about life and death. Same as GHS:2260.
RELS:2265 Hard Cases in Healthcare at the End of Life3 s.h.
Preparation for future healthcare providers to make difficult ethical decisions regarding the end of life; interactive course. Same as GHS:2265.
RELS:2272 Religion and Film3 s.h.
Religious ideas that are often explored and debated in movies; movies that retell a particular story (Noah or Kundun) or rework ancient themes (Little Buddha or The Matrix); movies that go beyond mere entertainment to try to persuade audiences to change their view of the world and how movie watchers do not realize that this process is taking place; analysis of movies that use ancient or religious material to try to shape people's minds and imaginations today. Recommendations: some background in religious studies helpful.
RELS:2289 Jerusalem: The Holy City3 s.h.
Religious, political, and cultural history of Jerusalem over three millennia as a symbolic focus of three faiths—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; integration of several digital learning technologies, including digital reconstructions and Google Earth tours of Jerusalem. Same as CLSA:2489.
RELS:2320 Jesus and the Gospels3 s.h.
How Jesus was depicted in the writings of the early church; reasons for the different portrayals. Same as CLSA:2420.
RELS:2333 Economics and Religion: Theories and Practices3 s.h.
Students survey theories and ideas from emerging fields of the study of economics of religion and religious economy; special focus on Islamic and Jewish economic institutions and principles as case studies.
RELS:2353 Love: Journey of an Idea Through Time3 s.h.
Idea of love from influential texts of the past to various aspects of contemporary culture and experience (e.g., romantic love, mystical experience, digitally mediated friendships, family relationships); idea of universal human rights; cybersex.
RELS:2361 Middle East and Mediterranean: Alexander to Suleiman3 s.h.
RELS:2420 Do Androids Dream of Being Human? Human Identity in Science Fiction3 s.h.
What does it mean to be human? What distinguishes humans from other sorts of entities, such as cyborgs and robots? What are the ethical implications of a post-human future? Students pursue these questions through exploration of science fiction in books, short stories, film, and television.
RELS:2475 Islam in America3 s.h.
Survey of Islam in America; exploration of the roots of Islam in the Atlantic world and antebellum America to the current day; urban-based African American Muslim communities; interactions between African American Muslim women and South Asian Muslim women around issues of gender; focus on Islamic political experiences and artistic expressions to explore the connections between the civil rights movement, black power movement, and African American music genres such as jazz; creative ways in which Muslim Americans have engaged with hip hop culture—including rap, poetry, and protest—in the wake of 9/11.
RELS:2486 Religious Coexistence and Conflict in the Middle East3 s.h.
Examination of coexistence and conflict in the region that includes Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen; relationship between religion and politics in the Middle East; how the region's diverse ethnic and religious communities coexisted in the past and what now seems like a remarkably tolerant environment; investigation of questions (Did Muslims, Christians, and Jews really live together in peace? If so, how and why has that changed?); history of communal relations in the Middle East; use of this background to analyze how religion and ethnicity function in contemporary politics.
RELS:2510 Fed Up with Organized Religion3 s.h.
Explores the rise of discontent with organized religion in America and the flourishing of alternative means for understanding the meaning and purpose of life and the universe.
RELS:2540 The Walls Between Us: Historic Uses of the Bible Defining the Other3 s.h.
Major events in Western history in which people disagreed about who deserves to be treated as human; students examine how the Bible was used to expand and restrict the circle of humanity, ranging from the Crusades and the Reformation to slavery and women's suffrage. Recommendations: some background in religion and religious studies is helpful.
RELS:2552 Atheism, Agnosticism, and Religion3 s.h.
History and analysis of religious skepticism in Western culture from the classical period through modern times. Same as CLSA:2552.
RELS:2570 Introduction to Islamic Psychology3 s.h.
Psychology in Islamic civilization; the nature of the human being; pathology, illness, healing, and therapies in the Islamic tradition; Islamic models compared with Euro-American frameworks. Recommendations: basic knowledge of psychology and Islam. Same as GHS:2570, IS:2570.
RELS:2620 Politics, Sex, and the Bible3 s.h.
Examination and analysis of the role of the Bible in contemporary culture; how different groups can read the exact same passages, yet reach different conclusions about how they and others should live. Recommendations: basic familiarity with the Bible or religion.
RELS:2674 You Are What You Eat: Food, Belief, and Identity3 s.h.
Introduction to study of food and identity in a global context.
RELS:2771 Sexual Ethics3 s.h.
Introduction to religion and ethics; diverse secular, Jewish, and Christian perspectives on human sexuality and sexual activity; religious views underlying divergent attitudes toward same-gender sexuality and abortion. Same as GWSS:2771.
RELS:2775 The Bible and the Holocaust3 s.h.
Religious and philosophic implications of the Holocaust viewed through survivors' writings.
RELS:2791 Religion and Social Life3 s.h.
Religion as a dimension of experience that can find diverse forms of expression, especially in social life and production of culture, not simply a social institution that is defined by a set of beliefs and practices.
RELS:2834 Philosophy of Religion3 s.h.
Historical to contemporary treatments of central issues; nature of faith, existence and nature of God, science and religion, ethics and religion, miracles, religious experience, interpretation of religious texts. Requirements: sophomore or higher standing. Same as PHIL:2534.
RELS:2852 Women in Islam and the Middle East3 s.h.
Women in the Islamic community and in non-Muslim Middle Eastern cultures; early rise of Islam to modern times; references to women in the Qur'an and Sunnah, stories from Islamic history; women and gender issues. GE: International and Global Issues; Values and Culture. Same as GWSS:2052.
RELS:2855 Human Rights, Law, Religion, and Culture3 s.h.
Application of historical and analytical approaches to explore social norms, political principles, religious teachings, cultural practices, and legal doctrines that have shaped the debate on human rights in the global context and within Islamic societies; analysis of historical accounts, legal documents, and past and current events to introduce students to human rights beyond its international law framework.
RELS:2877 Sport and Religion in America3 s.h.
Sport as a religion; religiosity in sports; examination of religion and sport as connected in important ways in American society. Same as SPST:2077.
RELS:2912 The Bible in Film: Hollywood and Moses3 s.h.
How Hollywood has interpreted the Biblical stories of Adam and Eve, Moses, and David the King.
RELS:2930 Digital Media and Religion3 s.h.
Influences of digital media on religion and spirituality today. Same as COMM:2079.
RELS:2947 Quest II: Sex, Love, and Death3 s.h.
Readings from the Hebrew Bible, Sophocles' Antigone, Melville's Billy Budd, Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, Salinger's A Perfect Day for Banana Fish, the film From Here to Eternity.
RELS:2980 Religion and Contemporary Popular Culture3 s.h.
Representation and appropriation of world religions in contemporary popular culture (film, television, music, new media); new religious movements arising within popular culture; religion in the digital age; commodification and globalization; focusing on cultural production in North America and Asia.
RELS:2986 Religion and Women3 s.h.
Sexism and its disavowal in biblical narrative, law, wisdom texts, Gospels, epistles; contemporary impact. GE: Values and Culture.
RELS:3003 Classical and Hellenistic Periods I3 s.h.
RELS:3020 Religion and Politics3 s.h.
Major trends in Islamic religious thought since the colonial period, focusing on encounters between Islamic and the modern world; Ibn Khaldun; renewal movements; varieties of religious reform and accommodation; nationalism, socialism, and so forth. Recommendations: prior course work in content topic.
RELS:3055 Death, Dying, and Beyond in Asian Religions3 s.h.
Survey of cultural and religious approaches to the dying process, post-death rituals, and conceptions about the afterlife in different religions in Asia. Same as ASIA:3055.
RELS:3103 Biblical Archaeology1,3 s.h.
Contributions of Syro-Palestinian archaeological research to understanding historical, cultural backgrounds of biblical period.
RELS:3105 The World of the Old Testament3 s.h.
Historical, intellectual background; focus on patterns of thought, religion in Near East, relation to Israelite religion.
RELS:3129 Native American Prophets and Prophecy3 s.h.
Religious movements, effects of prophecies on followers of religious movements, and resulting tensions with Americans; powerful visions described as messages from a spirit being experienced by several 19th-century Native Americans after waking from coma-like states—wonderful prophecies of the restoration of Native American world to what it once was before American colonization, prophecies leading to religious movements that called for return to traditional practices, rejection of many elements of white American culture, and warnings of an impending destruction of the world.
RELS:3243 Pagans and Christians: The Church from Jesus to Muhammad3 s.h.
Introduction to history of early Christianity, from time of Jesus to rise of Islam; focus on major movements, intellectuals, institutions in this period; growth of Christianity in different geographical areas including the Middle East, Greece, Western Europe, Africa; Christian relations with Jews, pagans, Muslims; conversion; orthodoxy, heresy, making of biblical canon; martyrdom; women and gender roles; asceticism, monasticism, sexuality; church and state; theological controversy and schisms; cult of saints; the Holy Land and pilgrimage. Same as CLSA:3443.
RELS:3245 Mythology of Otherworldly Journeys3 s.h.
Examination of mythology of otherworldly journeys from earliest religions to Hellenistic period; historical context; comparison for common themes in their evolution over time; directed readings of mythological texts dealing with otherworldly journeys; ways in which past cultures confronted larger mysteries of life and death. Same as CLSA:3445.
RELS:3247 Banned from the Bible: Pseudepigrapha and Apocrypha3 s.h.
Introduction to biblical Pseudepigrapha and Apocrapha; writings dating from third century B.C.E. to third century C.E. fictionally attributed to characters in the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, or written as though they originated in the First or Second Temple periods, not included in Jewish or major Christian canons of scripture; English translations of documents from this period; key themes and interpretative techniques common throughout biblical texts that provide tremendous insight into the worlds that produced the Hebrew Bible and New Testament. Same as CLSA:3247.
RELS:3333 Economics and Islam3 s.h.
Origins, functions, and impact of Islamic and related religions' ideas and practices in the realms of economic development, financial services and products, business models, and matters of social justice. Same as IS:3333.
RELS:3340 Recovering Eden: The Afterlife in Early Judaism and Christianity3 s.h.
Development of afterlife ideology in Jewish and Christian traditions; ideas that influenced this development, particularly as related to problem of suffering. Same as CLSA:3440.
RELS:3360 Religion Beyond Reason: Emotion and Communication3 s.h.
How we communicate emotion by using and defying language; a collaborative effort to think about religion beyond the boundaries of rationality where it extends into emotion, passion, and social energy. Requirements: communication studies majors must complete: (4 of the following are required: (COMM:1112 or COMM:1170), (COMM:1117 or COMM:1130), (COMM:1168 or COMM:1174), COMM:1305, COMM:1306) and (2 of the following are required: COMM:1809, COMM:1814, COMM:1816, COMM:1818, COMM:1819, COMM:1830, COMM:1840, COMM:1845, COMM:1898, COMM:2010, COMM:2011, COMM:2040, COMM:2041, COMM:2042, COMM:2044, COMM:2045, COMM:2048, COMM:2051, COMM:2052, COMM:2053, COMM:2054, COMM:2057, COMM:2060, COMM:2064, COMM:2065, COMM:2069, COMM:2070, COMM:2075, COMM:2076, COMM:2077, COMM:2079, COMM:2080, COMM:2085, COMM:2086, COMM:2087, COMM:2088, COMM:2089, COMM:2090, COMM:2091, COMM:2248) prior to enrolling in this course. Same as COMM:3360.
RELS:3375 Birth of the Holy Land: Art and Architecture in the Ancient Middle East3 s.h.
Major developments in architecture, sculpture, ceramics, and mosaics in Israel, Palestine, Syria, and Arabia from death of Alexander the Great to rise of Islam (4 B.C.E. to 8 C.E.); Greek and Roman influences versus local traditions; Roman Empire; growth of churches, synagogues, and mosques; identity and religion. Same as ARTH:3375.
RELS:3431 Gender and Sexuality in Asia3 s.h.
Conceptions of sex, gender, and sexuality in the religions of China, Korea, and Japan; asceticism and celibacy; sexual alchemy; the difference between male and female bodies and souls; intersexed persons; female saints and immortals; transgressive sexuality; gender and sexuality in colonial Asia; East Asian religions and postcolonial feminism. Same as GWSS:3131.
RELS:3448 The Allure of Krishna: Sacred Sexuality in Indian Culture3 s.h.
For thousands of years, Krishna, the dark-skinned flute-player, has been central to the religious experience of many Hindus; his diverse roles as mischievous divine child, sensual teenage cowherd, and adult statesman, warrior, and philosopher celebrated in poetry and prose, painting and sculpture, music, dance, drama, film, and television; exploration of multiple facets of Krishna's character through literary and visual sources, performances; focus on Indian interpretations of erotic content prominent in his story and to the figure of Radha, Krishna's mistress and beloved. Same as SOAS:3448.
RELS:3520 Dying for the Promised Land: Martyrdom and Warfare in the Western World3 s.h.
How martyrdom evokes images of innocents who are killed for their faith and terrorists who commit suicide bombings; how these groups may appear distinct, but share a heritage that relates absolute obedience to God and (often human) sacrifice to conquest and possession of a Promised Land; development of martyrdom ideology and its uses in religious and political conflict in Western history; examination of the Crusades, Reformation, and modern religious and political conflicts beginning with works from the Bible, Greco-Roman culture, and early Jewish and Christian literature. Same as CLSA:3520.
RELS:3524 The Devil in Judaism and Christianity3 s.h.
While known by many names, the Devil as a central figure in Western religious tradition; surprisingly, how he is not found in earliest texts in the Old Testament; the Devil as embodiment of evil that has his genesis in early Jewish and Christian sectarian conflicts; how he is used as a terrifying dragon or seductive stranger to demonize those perceived as threats to a group's existence; how the Devil is used to explain righteous suffering and create cultural boundaries throughout Western culture, from ancient texts and medieval witch trials to modern cinema and politics. Recommendations: some background in Judeo-Christian tradition. Same as CLSA:3524.
RELS:3550 Social Justice, Religion, and Spirituality: Faith and Belief Ignited3 s.h.
Examination of some distinctively American traditions of religion, spirituality, and social justice, including women and men who have channeled their religio-spiritual beliefs into social justice in their communities; historical and anthropological focus; examination of U.S. movements (e.g., the Catholic Worker movement, the United Farm Workers movement, the civil rights movement, iterations of the feminist movement); direct involvement with the communities. Same as GWSS:3550, SJUS:3550.
RELS:3572 Comparative Ritual3 s.h.
Practice and theory; rituals from religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Indian religions; theories of interpretation. Same as ASIA:3890.
RELS:3575 East Meets West: The Western Reception of Eastern Religion3 s.h.
Introduction of religious ideas and forms from India, China, and Japan into Europe and America to late 20th century, from Greeks to New Age. Same as ASIA:3775.
RELS:3580 Religion and Healing3 s.h.
RELS:3582 Enlightenment: Cross-Cultural Experiments in Religious Realization3 s.h.
Enlightenment as one of the most important ideas that feeds contemporary religious and spiritual imagination; exploration of this concept in contemporary religious and spiritual discourse. Same as SOAS:3920.
RELS:3644 Gandhi and His Legacy3 s.h.
In-depth introduction to the life, ideas, and ongoing impact of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948); from his conservative upbringing to his early career as a lawyer, his transformative experiences, and self-transformation into a charismatic mahatma ("great soul"), the pursuit of political and social liberation through non-violent civil disobedience, the assertion of human rights, and the quest for sustainable lifestyles that uphold the common good and protect the natural environment; evolution of Gandhi's thought and activism and his legacy. Same as HIST:3644, SOAS:3644.
RELS:3645 Buddhist Philosophy3 s.h.
Theories and arguments concerning the Buddhist path to enlightenment. Same as PHIL:3845.
RELS:3666 The History of a Religious and Spiritual Practice: Yoga in Asia and Beyond3 s.h.
Historical, textual, and anthropological readings; visual material, yoga demonstrations, discussions of yoga practices; theory underlies readings, including ritual theory and practice theory; psychology and inquiries into the nature of religious adaptation and syncretism.
RELS:3700 Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness I3 s.h.
Operational and financial aspects of nonprofit management; mission and governance of organization; strategic planning for effective management, including finance, budget, income generation, fund-raising. Same as ENTR:3595, MGMT:3500, MUSM:3500, NURS:3595, SSW:3500.
RELS:3701 Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness II3 s.h.
Qualities for leadership of nonprofit organizations, including relationships with staff and volunteers; relationship of nonprofit and outside world; marketing, public relations, advocacy strategies for nonprofits. Same as MGMT:3600, NURS:3600, SSW:3600.
RELS:3704 Egyptian Art3 s.h.
Sculpture, painting, architecture, and luxury arts from Pyramid Age to Death of Cleopatra. Same as ARTH:3320.
RELS:3714 Anthropology of Religion3 s.h.
Approaches; religious roles; shamanism, witchcraft, curing; mythology; place of religion in social and cultural change. Same as ANTH:3114.
RELS:3716 Greek Religion and Society3 s.h.
From Bronze Age to the Hellenistic period, in context of Mediterranean culture; evidence such as choral hymn, inscribed prayers, magical curses inscribed on lead, architecture, sculpted offerings to the gods. Same as CLSA:3416.
RELS:3745 Twentieth-Century African American Religion: Civil Rights to Hip-Hop3 s.h.
Twentieth-century African American religious history; major political and cultural movements, such as civil rights, black power, black feminism/womanism, hip-hop. Same as AFAM:3245.
RELS:3808 Malcolm X, King, and Human Rights3 s.h.
Religion and politics of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. in the context of U.S. civil rights and international human rights in West Africa and the Muslim world; emphasis on civil rights connections to Gandhi, the Nobel Peace prize, and other international experiences that have impacted Pan Africanists, such as Stokely Carmichael, who worked on human rights. Recommendations: international studies major or undergraduate standing. Same as AFAM:3500.
RELS:3834 Arab Spring in Context: Media, Religion, and Geopolitics3 s.h.
Protest movements that started in Tunisia in 2011 and swept across North Africa and the Middle East transforming Arab and Islamic societies in radically different ways; function of social media, satellite television, communication technology; influence of religious leaders and groups on some protest outcomes; impact of wealth and geopolitics on social fabric of Islamic societies within and outside Arab countries. Same as IS:3834, JMC:3146, WLLC:3834.
RELS:3845 Islam in Africa4 s.h.
African Islamic history beginning with earliest Muslim migrants from Arabia to Ethiopia in early 7th century C.E. to dawn of 21st century; focus on historical development of Islam on African continent, specific regions, and particular themes; part of Islamic Studies Virtual Curriculum and Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) CourseShare Program. Same as HIST:3745, IS:3745.
RELS:3855 Human Rights and Islam3 s.h.
Human rights in religious and secular discourse, seventh century to present; Islamic law, human rights law, religion, politics. GE: International and Global Issues. Same as IS:3855.
RELS:3976 American Indian Environmentalism3 s.h.
Clean water, plant diversity, animal health as worldwide issues; Native American relationships and responsibilities to the living things of their homelands—from the earth itself to the raindrops that fall from the sky—and how those relationships have been altered in the last 150 years; explore innovative Native American efforts to restore their relationships to plants, animals, and landscapes that have been damaged by resource development, manufacturing, population growth, and political interests. Same as NAIS:3276.
RELS:4001 Biblical Hebrew I4 s.h.
RELS:4002 Biblical Hebrew II4 s.h.
RELS:4124 Digital Archaeological Modeling1-3 s.h.
Introduction to foundational theory, methodology, programming skills, and conceptual understanding necessary to model remains and reconstructions of archaeological sites in various three-dimensional digital modeling environments. Recommendations: background in archaeology. Same as CLSA:4131.
RELS:4153 Magic Machines: Technology and Social Change3 s.h.
How media has altered culture, society, and human consciousness throughout history with focus on last two centuries (or modernity); how communication has been shaped by a variety of media (i.e., gesture, language, writing, printing, calendars, clocks, photography, telegraph, telephone, phonograph, film, radio, television, computers); 21st-century questions concerning technology and how few communicate today without aid of some kind of machine or technique. Prerequisites: (4 of the following are required: (COMM:1112 or COMM:1170), (COMM:1117 or COMM:1130), (COMM:1168 or COMM:1174), COMM:1305, COMM:1306) and (2 of the following are required: COMM:1809, COMM:1814, COMM:1816, COMM:1818, COMM:1819, COMM:1830, COMM:1840, COMM:1845, COMM:1898, COMM:2010, COMM:2011, COMM:2040, COMM:2041, COMM:2042, COMM:2044, COMM:2045, COMM:2048, COMM:2051, COMM:2052, COMM:2053, COMM:2054, COMM:2057, COMM:2060, COMM:2064, COMM:2065, AFAM:2070, COMM:2070, COMM:2075, COMM:2076, COMM:2077, RELS:2930, COMM:2080, COMM:2085, COMM:2086, COMM:2087, COMM:2088, COMM:2089, COMM:2090, COMM:2091, CL:2248). Same as COMM:4153.
RELS:4155 Religious Conflict: Early Modern Period3 s.h.
Religious conflict among European Christians (Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists, and Radicals), as well as between Christians and non-Christians from the Late Middle Ages through the Reformation of the 16th century and beyond. Same as HIST:4455.
RELS:4181 Special Topics in Western Religion3 s.h.
Examination of a specific topic of interest related to Western religious traditions. Recommendations: some background in Judaism, Christianity, or classics.
RELS:4352 The Dead Sea Scrolls3 s.h.
Introduction to the Dead Sea Scrolls; reading of the scrolls in English translation; examination of Qumran site archaeology; survey of broader sociopolitical context of Second Temple Judaism (586 B.C.E. to 135 C.E.) out of which the scrolls emerged. Same as CLSA:4452.
RELS:4730 Religion and Environmental Ethics3 s.h.
How humans conceptualize the biophysical environment through religious beliefs and practices; how images of the environment influence people's activities, how they are used by grassroots environmental movements. Requirements: junior or senior standing. Same as ANTH:4130.
RELS:4741 Varieties of American Religion3 s.h.
Examination of varied 20th- and 21st-century American religious individuals and groups; understand and analyze unique communities. Same as HIST:4241.
RELS:4870 Islamic Cultural Presence in Spain3 s.h.
Islamic history and culture in the Iberian Peninsula from Middle Ages to present. Taught in Spanish. Requirements: one literature or culture course taught in Spanish numbered SPAN:3200 or above. Same as SPAN:4870.
RELS:4893 Classical Arabic: Vocabulary, Syntax, and Grammar1-3 s.h.
RELS:4950 Senior Majors Seminar3 s.h.
Issues central to academic study of religion.
RELS:4960 Individual Study: Undergraduatesarr.
RELS:4970 Honors Tutorial2-3 s.h.
RELS:4975 Honors Essay2-4 s.h.
RELS:5001 Biblical Aramaic4 s.h.
This course introduces the basics of Biblical Aramaic grammar and syntax and provides an introduction to the Biblical lexicon. There will be extensive grammatical exercises, both in class and at home, as well as frequent opportunities to apply grammatical and lexical knowledge to the Biblical text. Recommendations: Biblical Hebrew recommended.
RELS:5002 Targumic Aramaic4 s.h.
Language used by Targums—Aramaic translations of the Hebrew Bible—for use in the study of interpretative traditions of later Jewish groups.
RELS:5067 Readings in Islamic Studiesarr.
Current scholarship in the field of Islamic studies; major works in areas such as modern Islamic thought, Islamic legal and philosophical traditions, religion and politics.
RELS:5100 Teaching and Public Engagement1-3 s.h.
Critical importance of educating people about religion within increasingly globalized and digitized contexts; preparation to excel as classroom teachers and facilitators of cross-religious dialogue in public sphere.
RELS:5200 Varieties of Religion in the Contemporary World3 s.h.
Limited content of multiple religious traditions from different parts of contemporary world; conversing knowledgeably about global religious diversity; preparation to design and teach a world religions course.
RELS:5300 Genealogies of Religion3 s.h.
Genealogies of the idea of religion, academic study of religion, and comparative study of religions; intellectual and ideological foundations of discipline; preparation to work skillfully across traditions.
RELS:5400 Methods and Theories in the Study of Religion3 s.h.
Principal methods, theories in academic study of religion.
RELS:6040 Tiberius to Trajanarr.
Authors and topics from the first and second centuries C.E. Same as CLSL:6013.
RELS:6070 Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness I3 s.h.
Operational and financing aspects of nonprofit management; mission and governance of organization; strategic planning for effective management, including finance, budget, income generation, fund-raising. Same as HMP:6360, LAW:8751, MGMT:9150, SPST:6010, SSW:6247, URP:6278.
RELS:6075 Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness II3 s.h.
Qualities for leadership of nonprofit organizations, including relationships with staff and volunteers; relationship of nonprofit and outside world; marketing, public relations, advocacy strategies for nonprofits. Requirements: for LAW:8752—LAW:8751; for HMP:6365—HMP:6360 or MGMT:9150. Same as HMP:6365, LAW:8752, MGMT:9160, SPST:6020, SSW:6248, URP:6279.
RELS:6150 American Religious Histories3 s.h.
Focused examination of the variety and vagaries of religious experiences in the Americas, 16th to 21st centuries. Same as HIST:6250.
RELS:6200 Seminar: Religious Ethics3 s.h.
RELS:6350 Gender and Religion3 s.h.
What contemporary religious and spiritual groups and their members believe about sex, sexuality, and gender; how they define and redefine what it means to be a "man" and a "woman"; exploration of contemporary "conservative" and "progressive" cosmologies and theologies; underlying beliefs that construct these perspectives and the impact on individual and group practices; broader implications of individual and group beliefs and practices on national and global policies. Same as GWSS:6350.
RELS:6475 Seminar: Reformation Culturearr.
Culture and thought of 16th-century Europe. Same as HIST:6475.
RELS:6580 Seminar: Religion and Society3 s.h.
RELS:6625 Seminar: Religion and Health3 s.h.
RELS:6723 Seminar on Islamic Law and Government3 s.h.
Islamic legal and political legacy from formative period until modern time; critical analysis of logic and context of development; development of jurisprudential, legal, and political literature; overview of theories and practices of governance in Islam beginning with Caliphate system and ending with modern nation-state models. Same as LAW:9723.
RELS:7100 Readings in American Religionsarr.
RELS:7200 Readings in Religious Ethicsarr.
RELS:7260 French Paleography1,3 s.h.
Independent study of original French writings.
RELS:7300 Critical Theories of Religion1-4 s.h.
Exploration of theories that pertain to religion with an emphasis on contemporary critical theory.
RELS:7400 Readings in Theology and Religious Thoughtarr.
RELS:7450 Readings in History of Christianityarr.
RELS:7500 Readings in Asian Religionsarr.
RELS:7600 Readings in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies1-3 s.h.
Advanced works and/or texts in primary languages (Arabic, Persian, etc.) in the broad field of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies. Requirements: proficiency in Modern Standard Arabic.
RELS:7650 Readings in Ancient Near Eastern Religionsarr.
Ancient Near Eastern religious texts; focus on their place in ancient Near Eastern history and religious thought.
RELS:7900 Individual Study: Graduatesarr.