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RELIGST 81: Exploring Indian Religions

This course provides an overview of Indian religious traditions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Islam, and Sikhism. We will spend approximately half the course on Hindu thought and traditions from the Vedic period until the present day, emphasizing the diverse forms of this religion in different times and places. The second half of the course will be devoted to religions that emerged in South Asia (e.g., Jainism) and those that came to find a home and particular forms of expression on the subcontinent (e.g., Islam). Throughout students will read selections from a range of theological texts, epics, and literature that have permeated many aspects of daily religious life in India. We will also emphasize ritual activities, visual experiences in temples, and networks of pilgrimage places that dot the subcontinent. We will often pair primary sources (in translation) with later interpretations and impacts of those texts in modern South Asia. We will also survey the modern incarnations more »
This course provides an overview of Indian religious traditions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Islam, and Sikhism. We will spend approximately half the course on Hindu thought and traditions from the Vedic period until the present day, emphasizing the diverse forms of this religion in different times and places. The second half of the course will be devoted to religions that emerged in South Asia (e.g., Jainism) and those that came to find a home and particular forms of expression on the subcontinent (e.g., Islam). Throughout students will read selections from a range of theological texts, epics, and literature that have permeated many aspects of daily religious life in India. We will also emphasize ritual activities, visual experiences in temples, and networks of pilgrimage places that dot the subcontinent. We will often pair primary sources (in translation) with later interpretations and impacts of those texts in modern South Asia. We will also survey the modern incarnations of particular Indian religious traditions throughout South Asia and the diaspora. By the conclusion of this course, students will be conversant with the texts, beliefs, and practices of the major Indian religions in their cultural and historical contexts and also have a working knowledge of basic categories important for the study of religion more broadly.
Terms: not given this year, last offered Autumn 2014 | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-GlobalCom, WAY-ED | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

RELIGST 91: Exploring American Religious History (AMSTUD 91, CSRE 91, HISTORY 260K)

This course will trace how contemporary beliefs and practices connect to historical trends in the American religious landscape.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-ED, WAY-SI | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

RELIGST 114: Yoga Ancient and Modern

Originating in ancient India, yoga went through many developments over more than 4000 years in India and other parts of Asia. Having migrated to Euro-America in the late nineteenth century, today yoga is everywhere--studios, schools, gyms, malls, resorts, ashrams, retreat centers. It comes in many flavors¿austere, with meditative instructors and Sanskrit chants; stylish, in 105-degree heat, with portable-miked instructors loudly motivating students to go through poses with speed and intensity; niche-crafted to meet the needs of busy professionals, pregnant women, senior citizens, or people with back problems. It may appear as a spiritual path or as a heavily marketed commodity. It generates lawsuits as teachers dispute ownership of certain styles, or as some Americans oppose its teaching yoga in public schools. In the first half of the course we will study the history of yoga in India, reading primary texts composed between about 500 BCE and 1600 CE. In the second half we will learn about yoga's globalization in the last century. Participating in a yoga class is recommended. 2 units of independent study (S-NC) are offered for those who participate in a weekly yoga class and write short reflections on the experience.
Terms: not given this year, last offered Winter 2017 | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

RELIGST 117: Christianity in 21st-century America (AMSTUD 117R)

As the largest religion practiced in the United States, Christianity not only shapes the lives of a large number of its citizens but also impinges on public discourse, policies, and debates. This course investigates the ways in which Christianity in America is changing and what these changes bode for its role in the public and private spheres. Issues include shifting demographics lead to declining numbers in 'mainline' denominations; the polarization of Christian conservatives and religious 'nones'; interfaith toleration and cooperation alongside interreligious conflict; the rise of 'spiritual, not religious' young adults; the effects of immigration; religion and science.
Terms: not given this year, last offered Spring 2017 | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-AmerCul, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

RELIGST 124: Sufi Islam

The complex of Islamic intellectual and social perspectives subsumed under the term Sufism. Sufi mystical philosophies and historical and social evolution. Major examples include: Qushayrî, Râbi'a, Junayd, Hallâj, Sulamî, Ibn al-'Arabî, Rûmî, Nizâm al-Dîn Awliyâ'. Social and political roles of Sufi saints and communities. Readings include original prose and poetry in translation, secondary discussions, and ethnography.
Terms: not given this year, last offered Autumn 2015 | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

RELIGST 130: Sex and Gender in Judaism and Christianity (FEMGEN 130, JEWISHST 120)

What role do Jewish and Christian traditions play in shaping understandings of gender differences? Is gender always imagined as dual, male and female? This course explores the variety of ways in which Jewish and Christian traditions - often in conversation with and against each other - have shaped gender identities and sexual politics. We will explore the central role that issues around marriage and reproduction played in this conversation. Perhaps surprisingly, early Jews and Christian also espoused deep interest in writing about 'eunuchs' and 'androgynes,' as they thought about Jewish and Christian ways of being a man or a woman. We will examine the variety of these early conversations, and the contemporary Jewish and Christian discussions of feminist, queer, trans- and intersex based on them.
Terms: not given this year, last offered Winter 2017 | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-Gender, WAY-ED | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

RELIGST 135: Islam in America (AFRICAAM 135A, AMSTUD 135X, CSRE 135, GLOBAL 137)

This course explores the history of Islam in North America with special emphasis on the experience of Muslims in the United States. Contrary to popularly held belief, Muslims have been critical participants in the construction of American identity from the 16th century onwards when Muslim slaves were forcibly brought to Colonial America. Our course will explore the diverse ways Muslims in America have imagined, practiced, and negotiated their religious identity. We will move chronologically, and we will focus upon three crucial themes: the convergence of constructions of racial, religious, and national identities in America; the ever-shifting terrain of notions of authority and authenticity amongst Muslims in America; and global resonances of the practices and ideas of American Muslims.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-ED, WAY-SI | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Morgan, A. (PI)

RELIGST 139: Religion along the Silk Road

From roughly the year 1 to the year 1000, a vibrant trade route stretched across Central Asia, linking Europe, India and East Asia. Along this route, merchants bought and sold the silk that gave the route its name, along with paper, ceramics, spices, precious stones and any number of other commodities. Together with these trade goods, merchants, missionaries, farmers and artisans who participated in this vast commercial network, exchanged ideas, scriptures, practices and beliefs, including those associated with major religious traditions; Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, Judaism, Manichaeism and Islam followed the same routes as silk and spice. In this course we will examine the spread of all of these religions across the Silk Road, what happened when they interacted, and what this tells us about the relation between commerce, trade and geography in the pre-modern world.
Terms: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-ED, WAY-SI | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

RELIGST 162X: Spirituality and Nonviolent Urban and Social Transformation (CSRE 162A, URBANST 126)

A life of engagement in social transformation is often built on a foundation of spiritual and religious commitments. Case studies of nonviolent social change agents including Rosa Parks in the civil rights movement, César Chávez in the labor movement, and WIlliam Sloane Coffin in the peace movement; the religious and spiritual underpinnings of their commitments. Theory and principles of nonviolence. Films and readings. Service learning component includes placements in organizations engaged in social transformation. Service Learning Course (certified by Haas Center).
Terms: Win | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-ED, WAY-SI | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

RELIGST 166: The Divine Feminine in India (FEMGEN 166)

What happens when God is a woman? Is the Goddess a feminist? The Goddess, in her numerous incarnations, is foundational to much of Indian religiosity, whether Hindu, Buddhist, or even Jain¿and in turn, without her story, much of the theology and practice of these religions remains incomprehensible. This course examines the principal expressions of the theology and ritual worship of the Goddess in Indian history, from the Vedas to the Hindu Epics, to Indian philosophy, tantric ritual practice and modern global and new age movements in order to understand how the gendering of divinity affects theological speculation, religious experience, and embodied religious identity.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-ED | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
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