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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.
Last offered: Spring 2018 | UG Reqs: WAY-ED, WAY-SI

RELIGST 158: Spiritualism and the Occult

How can the living communicate with the dead? From Leland Jr.'s ghost to his uncle, T.W. Stanford, millions of people in the nineteenth century practiced technologies of spirit communication from spirit photography to animated séance tables. Through close readings of stories, novels, seance accounts, and scientific treatises, this class explores their mystical culture and how it blurred the line between seen and unseen in an effort to expand the real.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-SI
Instructors: Willburn, S. (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: Win | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-ED, WAY-SI

RELIGST 180: Gender Relations in Islam (FEMGEN 180)

This course investigates the ways in which gender identities and relationships between men and women have been articulated, constructed, and refashioned throughout the Muslim world. Starting with problematizing the fixed notions of gender and sexuality, we map the attitudes toward these notions through visiting a diverse array of sources from the Qur¿an, Sunna, and legal documents to historical and anthropological case studies, literature, and film from South East Asia to Europe and North America. We examine the notions of femininity and masculinity in the Qur¿an, family laws, and attitudes toward homosexuality and transgendered populations. We read examples of ambiguous use of language with regards to gender and sexuality in Persian poetry and mystical traditions. We study the dynamic relationship between Islam and Feminism in the Muslim world. Finally, we witness the implications of these attitudes in our case studies and stories, from a divorce court in Iran to a wedding in Sudan.
Last offered: Autumn 2017 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-SI

RELIGST 218: Islam, Race and Revolution: A Pan-American Approach (AMSTUD 218, CSRE 218, RELIGST 318)

Taking a pan-American approach to the study of religious traditions, this upper-level course traces the history of the critical intersection between race, religion and revolution among Muslims from the turn of the nineteenth century until the present day. Moving from the Atlantic Revolutions of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, to the United States, to the decolonizing Third World, and then finally to the contemporary Middle East, this class will emphasize that Islam and race together have been used by many groups in order to challenge existing power structures, agitate for change, and more than occasionally, transform the social, cultural and governmental structures comprising their worlds. Moreover, although this class is concentrated upon religious formations in the Americas, students will explore global events throughout the Muslim world in order to examine how global politics contribute to religious formations, solidarities and identities. At the conclusion of th more »
Taking a pan-American approach to the study of religious traditions, this upper-level course traces the history of the critical intersection between race, religion and revolution among Muslims from the turn of the nineteenth century until the present day. Moving from the Atlantic Revolutions of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, to the United States, to the decolonizing Third World, and then finally to the contemporary Middle East, this class will emphasize that Islam and race together have been used by many groups in order to challenge existing power structures, agitate for change, and more than occasionally, transform the social, cultural and governmental structures comprising their worlds. Moreover, although this class is concentrated upon religious formations in the Americas, students will explore global events throughout the Muslim world in order to examine how global politics contribute to religious formations, solidarities and identities. At the conclusion of this course, students will be expected to write a 10-15 page research paper, and a topic will be chosen in consultation with the instructor. Students will also be expected to write weekly reflection papers, which will serve to facilitate class discussion. Undergraduates register for 200-level for 5 units. Graduate students register for 300-level for 3-5 units.
Last offered: Spring 2018 | UG Reqs: WAY-ED, WAY-SI

RELIGST 231: European Reformations (HISTORY 231G, HISTORY 331G, RELIGST 331)

Readings in and discussion of theological and social aspects of sixteenth century reformations: Luther, Radical Reform, Calvin, and Council of Trent, missionary expansion, religious conflict, creative and artistic expressions. Texts include primary sources and secondary scholarly essays and monographs.
Terms: Aut | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-SI

RELIGST 246: Constructing Race and Religion in America (AFRICAAM 236, AMSTUD 246, CSRE 246, HISTORY 256G, HISTORY 356G, RELIGST 346)

This seminar focuses on the interrelationships between social constructions of race, and social interpretations of religion in America. How have assumptions about race shaped religious worldviews? How have religious beliefs shaped racial attitudes? How have ideas about religion and race contributed to notions of what it means to be "American"? We will look at primary and secondary sources, and at the historical development of ideas and practices over time.
Last offered: Winter 2018 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-ED, WAY-SI

RELIGST 255: Religion and Power in the Making of Modern South Asia (HISTORY 297F, RELIGST 355)

This course examines the diverse ways that religious traditions have been involved in the brokering of power in South Asia from the late seventeenth century to the present day. We will examine the intersection of religion and power in different arenas, including historical memory, religious festivals, language politics, and violent actions. At the core of our inquiry is how religion is invoked in political contexts (and vice-versa), public displays of religiosity, and the complex dynamics of religion and the state. Among other issues, we will particularly engage with questions of religious identity, knowledge, and violence. Undergraduates must enroll in RELIGST 255 for 5 units. Graduate students must enroll RELIGST 355 for 3-5 units. HISTORY297F must be taken for 4-5 units.
Last offered: Spring 2016 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-GlobalCom, WAY-ED, WAY-SI

SIMILE 93: Science in the Making Integrated Learning Environment

SIMILE is a new residentially-based program organized around the question of when something we might call "science" identifiably began, what it became, and what it might become. While we may believe that science, technology and medicine represent some of the powerful tools we have for making a difference in the world, SIMILE challenges students to consider these as dynamic and changing fields of knowledge which must be understood in their historical, cultural and social contexts. Only then can we consider how new ideas, interpretations, technological artifacts and systems respond to societal needs within the limits of what is possible but also, importantly, in light of what might even become plausible.
Last offered: Spring 2015 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-ER, WAY-SI

SINY 122: The Agile City

Examine the economic, cultural and environmental forces transforming the urban experience globally and understand how cities become agile to adapt to rapidly evolving urban challenges. This course would draw from case studies in New York and elsewhere, using guest experts and site visits or walking tours.
Last offered: Spring 2019 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-SI
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