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RELIGST 115B: Buddhism and Death

Death both transcends cultures and is intimately enmeshed in them. Dying, death, and the afterlife, from a certain perspective, are what the disparate varieties of Buddhist religion would all seem to be about. How does death influence the living? Is there an afterlife? How should one die? What should be done with the body? As we explore these and other issues, we will move between theories and practices, and betweennhistory and current events. Using primary sources, including images, videos, and stories, we will practiceninterpretation of . By studying Buddhism and death both within distinct cultural contexts and as crossculturalnphenomena, students are invited to attend to their own assumptions about death, dying, and thenafterlife.
Terms: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-ED
Instructors: Protass, J. (PI)

RELIGST 117: Christianity in 21st-century America

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.
Last offered: Winter 2015 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-AmerCul, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED

RELIGST 117X: Losing My Religion: Secularism and Spirituality in American Lives (AMSTUD 117N, EDUC 117N)

In this seminar you will explore theory and practice, sociological data, spiritual writing, and case studies in an effort to gain a more nuanced understanding about how religion, spirituality, and secularism attempt to make legible the constellation of concerns, commitments, and behaviors that bridge the moral and the personal, the communal and the national, the sacred, the profane, and the rational. Together we will cultivate critical perspectives on practices and politics, beliefs and belonging that we typically take for granted.
Terms: Aut | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: WAY-ED, WAY-SI
Instructors: Kelman, A. (PI)

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: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED
Instructors: Chen, J. (PI)

RELIGST 135: Islam in America

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
Instructors: Sherman, W. (PI)

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: Spr | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-ED, WAY-SI

RELIGST 179: Doing the Sacred: Religion and Performance

This course investigates religion as practice and performance, rather than as belief and doctrine. A performance-centered emphasis helps us understand how domination and authority, as well as creativity and individual resistance, underlie culture. From initiatory rites to cyber sermons, human action offers raw, physical data that unveils the mechanisms of social control, ideology, and individual resistance. Reorienting religion from the perspective of religious acts / actors -- those who are doing something they consider sacred -- evokes many interpretive possibilities: How do these performances create and maintain communities? How do they resolve conflicts that arise within everyday affairs? In what ways do they generate meaning and shape identity? What can these enactments reveal about the constructions of power, gender, and race? This course explores such issues, probing the complicated relationship between human intention and social reality. Ultimately, a study of religion and performance seeks to understand how performance and transcendence interact to make participants into who they are.nnThe readings cover an array of religious traditions -- medieval and evangelical Christian, Hindu, Native American, Jewish, Buddhist, African and Haitian Vodou -- all of which present a rich repertoire of sacred drama, dance, and music. We will discuss performances that make modern readers uncomfortable, such as sacrifice and flagellation, and examine why they are meaningful within their specific cultural context. Finally, we will consider how secular practices and the internet mimic religious behavior. However divergent, all of these examples demonstrate how religious performance is no mere artifice, but a vehicle for the practitioner's own pious posturing -- one that is spiritually innovative and self-affirming -- yet shaped by hierarchical regimes.
Last offered: Spring 2015 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED

RELIGST 188A: Issues in Liberation: Central America

Within the context of US intervention in Latin America the course investigates the history of liberation movements in El Salvador and Nicaragua (including liberation theology), as well as ethical questions relating economic, social, and political issues in those countries. This class will likely include immersion travel to El Salvador or Nicaragua over spring break and consequently the size of this course is limited. Students will be given an application by email. All applications will be reviewed to determine final class enrollment.
Terms: Win | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-ED, WAY-SI
Instructors: Sheehan, T. (PI)

RELIGST 212X: Knights, Monks, and Nobles: Masculinity in the Middle Ages (FEMGEN 212X, FEMGEN 312, HISTORY 212, HISTORY 312, RELIGST 312X)

This course considers masculinity as historically and culturally contingent, focusing on the experiences and representations of medieval men as heroes, eunuchs, fathers, priests, husbands, boys, and fighting men. Recognizing that the lives of men, like those of women, were governed by gendered rules and expectations, we will explore a wide range of medieval masculinities, paying close attention to the processes by which manhood could be achieved (e.g. martial, spiritual, sexual), and to competing versions of manliness, from the warrior hero of the early middle ages to the suffering Christ of late medieval religion.
Terms: Win | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-ED, WAY-SI

RELIGST 215X: Saints and Sinners: Women and Religion in the Medieval World (FEMGEN 215, HISTORY 215)

Although the Apostle Paul taught that "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:28), men and women experienced medieval Christianity in ways that were often vastly different. In this course we examine the religious experiences of women from the origins of Christianity through to the end of the medieval period, with particular attention paid to female prophets and religious authority, saints and martyrs, sexuality and virginity, literacy and education within the cloister, mysticism, relations between religious women and men, and the relevance of gender in the religious life -- especially as gender intersected with fears of heresy, sin, and embodiment.
Terms: Aut | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-ED, WAY-SI
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