Spring 2023 Course Listings

REL 101 - Bible as Literature

Themes and literary genres in the Bible, emphasizing content important in Western culture.

• Professor Richard Layton • MWF 2:00-2:50 • CRN 74569

REL 109 - Religion & Society in West II

Introduction to classic writers and texts in Western religious and social thought from the Enlightenment to the present, with emphasis on their social and historical contexts.

• Professor Bruce Rosenstock • Online • CRN 66735

REL 110 - World Religions

Survey of the leading living religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; examination of basic texts and of philosophic theological elaborations of each religion.

• Professor Richard Layton • MW 9:00-9:50 • CRN 66741

REL 112 - Elementary Greek II

• Professor Ky Merkley • MWF 9:00-9:50 • CRN 67014

REL 115 - Language and Culture in India

• Professor Mithilesh Mithra • Online • CRN 68465

REL 132 - Zen

Introduces the history, teachings, and practice of Zen Buddhism in China and Japan.

• Professor Alexander Mayer • Online • CRN 66810

REL 199 - Undergraduate Open Seminar

Course Title: “Becoming Martin & Malcolm” - Course Description: Few Black leaders are held in as high esteem as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Yet public media habitually represents these ministers as rivals, even adversaries—one the nonviolent hero of the Civil Rights Era, the other a violent revolutionary. While their rhetoric and protest strategies differed, there were many experiences, values, and priorities that they shared. This course re-examines the lives and legacies of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X (that is, El Hajj Malik El Shabazz). Students will analyze their speeches, essays, biographical writing, interviews, and film representations to explore the origins of their religious and political philosophies, and to consider how these perspectives clashed or converged. By the end of this course, students will have a more nuanced understanding of the sociopolitical ideologies that underpinned X and King’s struggles for freedom, as well as how their memory is deployed in current day movements for social change.

• Professor Alexia Williams • TR 3:30-4:50 • CRN 74758

Course Title: "Slavery and Religion in the Black Experience." Course Summary: The enslavement of kidnapped Africans in North America was not simply a social, political, or economic problem. Rather, the institution of chattel slavery was inextricably tied to the religious and cosmological imagination of the colonial settler. One might say “empireligion.” This course scrutinizes theological and religious claims and practices of slaveholding North America, particularly in relation to the question of the materiality of enslavement. In a constructive move, participants will examine the undercurrent – or fugitive – imagination of enslaved Africans in their quest to assert and perform a sort of religion otherwise. In so doing, course attendees will pay close attention the organization of the “invisible institution” – that clandestine religious world of enslaved radicals – including theological meditations that offered a retort to, and rejection of, slaveholding empireligion. We will consider a variety of sources in the archive, including spirituals, narratives, and testimony, as a way of listening to the voices in the aftermath.

• Professor Leonard McKinnis • TR 9:30-10:50 • CRN 74751

REL 208 - Cultures & Literatures of South Asia

Introduction to the literary traditions of South Asia from the beginnings to the end of the Mughal era. Students will read - in translation - selections from a wide range of texts beginning with the earliest Vedic Hymns to the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Sufi poetry and songs. Provides students an understanding of the heterogeneous and rich literary and cultural past of the region.

• Professor Rini Mehta • Online • CRN 67039

REL 214 - Introduction to Islam

History of Islamic thought from the time of Muhammad to the present, including the prophethood of Muhammad, the Qur'an, theology and law, mysticism and philosophy, sectarian movements, modernism and legal reform, and contemporary resurgence.  

• Professor Mukhtar Ali • TR 11:00-12:20 • CRN 70163

REL 223 - The Qur'an (Koran)

Introduction to the Qur'an (Koran), the holy scripture of Islam, examining its major doctrines, thematic development, literary style, and its relationship to pre-Qur'anic, especially Biblical, traditions. Special attention is given to various methods Muslims have used to interpret the Qur'an.

• Professor Mukhtar Ali • W 3:00-5:30 • CRN 66812

REL 231 - Religion and Philosophy

Introduces students to philosophical and theological perspectives and methodologies by focusing on one or two key thinkers, books, or topics. Study and critical assessment will attend to the larger historical context.

• Professor Stephanie Thurston • TR 9:30-10:50 • CRN 74579

REL 235 - History of Religion in America

Examines the religious history of the lands that have become the United States and the people who have become known as Americans through texts written by and about people of all races and creeds. From the precontact era through the twentieth century, this course emphasizes the diversity of American religion, the discord caused by and present in American religion, and the many instances of dialogue that have been a part of America's religious history.

• Professor Alexia Williams • TR 11:00-12:20 • CRN 66877

REL 403 - Women in Muslim Societies

Examination of gender ideologies and social realities affecting the lives of women in various Muslim countries.

• Professor Nilay Erten • Online • CRNs 70406 & 70408

REL 437 - Religion in American Cinema

By using films from the 1940s-2010s we will examine the changing religious dynamics of modern American society. We will also use the conceptual tools of religious studies to describe Americans' changing relationships to cinema.

• Professor Jonathan Ebel • TR 12:30-1:50 • CRN 74581

REL 464 - Theories & Theologies of Liberation

• Professor Maryam Kashani • T 11:00-1:50 • CRNs 74704 & 74705

REL 494 - Topics in Religious Thought

Course title: Rumi: Poetry, Wisdom, Metaphysics - Hailed as one of the world’s greatest mystical poets, Jalal al-Din Rumi (d. 1273) transcends the boundaries of language, religion and ethnicity. Today Rumi’s poems can be heard in mosques, monasteries, churches and synagogues. This course examines Rumi’s teachings, the metaphysics of love and his perennial wisdom through translations of his sublime verse, the quintessential art form of the Sufis.

• Professor Mukhtar Ali • M 3:00-5:50 • CRNs 71825 & 71826

 Course title: Intro to Jain Ethics - This course examines the Jain tradition through the lens of historical encounters with other philosophical traditions and politico-religious formations across the medieval, early modern, postcolonial, and modern eras. We will study the emergence of Jain modes and strategies of discourse to understand how Jains have positioned themselves philosophically, ritually, and socially as a minority religion within the Indian intellectual landscape, with particular attention to how articulations and boundaries of historical consciousness emerge in religious doctrine and genres of Jain literature, including both canonical and post-canonical texts. Together, we will consider the application of Jain concepts in cross-cultural dialogue within South Asia and beyond, and their significance in modern Jain identity and Indian politics.

• Professor Miki Chase • T 3:00-5:50 • CRNs 68315 & 71830

REL 511 - Graduate Intro to Religion

Introduction for first semester graduate students to selected methods and techniques for conducting research in the area of Religion. Students will receive general guidance on strategies for conducting bibliographic researc’23h and designing research projects. Includes study of some currently salient issues and areas of inquiry in a number of disciplines pertaining to the study of religion. The course will be supervised by one professor and will offer a series of presentations on several methodologies and historical issues by experts in various fields.

• Professor Bruce Rosenstock • Online • CRN 68627

REL 567 – Mahayana Buddhism

An investigation of Buddhist core notions as conceived from the point of view of the three Major Mahayana traditions with an examination of the ways in which these Mahayana traditions are presented in modern and early modern scholarship. At stake is the fundamental hermeneutic issue of the ways in which the "moderns" look at pre-modern thought, that is, the questions of the historical situatedness of thought.

• Professor Alexander Mayer • Online • CRN 70162