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RELIGST 61: Exploring Islam

This course introduces some of the most important features of the Islamic religious tradition. It explores the different ways in which Muslims have interpreted and practiced their religion. The main subjects of discussion --- including the life of the Prophet Muhammad, the Qur'an, law, ritual, mysticism, theology, politics, and art --- will be considered with reference to their proper historical contexts. Some of the topics covered include abortion, gender, rebellion and violence, and the visual vocabulary of paintings. Students will be exposed to important theories and methods in the academic study of religion. No prior knowledge is required.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED
Instructors: Bigelow, A. (PI)

RELIGST 65: Exploring Global Christianity

Explore the world¿s largest religion as a multicultural, global faith, with attention to Christianity¿s origins, spread and impact around the world up to the present. Special attention to recent shifting demographics leading to declining numbers in mainline Christian denominations in North America and Europe and the rapid expansion of Christianity in Africa, Asia, and South America; the explosion of international Pentecostalism and other new Christianities; Christianity, global politics, and the global economy; Christian-Muslim relations and conflicts.
Last offered: Winter 2016 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-GlobalCom, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED

RELIGST 86: Exploring the New Testament (CLASSICS 43, JEWISHST 86)

To explore the historical context of the earliest Christians, students will read most of the New Testament as well as many documents that didn't make the final cut. Non-Christian texts, Roman art, and surviving archeological remains will better situate Christianity within the ancient world. Students will read from the Dead Sea Scrolls, explore Gnostic gospels, hear of a five-year-old Jesus throwing divine temper tantrums while killing (and later resurrecting) his classmates, peruse an ancient marriage guide, and engage with recent scholarship in archeology, literary criticism, and history.
Terms: Sum | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-SI
Instructors: Abbott, P. (PI)

RELIGST 114: Yoga: Ancient and Modern

In both Western popular culture and the Indian political arena, Yoga has become emblematic of the cultural heritage of India. But how did the phenomenon that is global postural yoga, with its secular wellness ethos and athleticism, come into existence? And how does it relate to the contemplative and ascetic disciplines that were practiced in the premodern Indian past? This course explores the early history of yoga through its philosophy and esoteric practices, concluding with a look at the ramifications of yoga in contemporary culture and politics. 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.
Last offered: Winter 2020 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED

RELIGST 116: Buddhist Philosophy

What do Buddhists mean when they argue that there is "no self?" What about their claim that everything is "empty?" Is their theory of karma a type of "fatalism" (that everything is just a matter of predetermined fate)? Does Buddhism really teach that we are all connected with one another? This course aims to answer these questions, and many others related to Buddhist philosophy. We will begin by exploring the central philosophical arguments attributed to the historical Buddha, and study the major philosophical traditions of Buddhism and the debates between them over the issues of metaphysics (what is really real?), ethics (what should we do?), and epistemology (what and how do we know?). We will also learn about the problems and significance of the modern interpretations of Buddhist philosophy. Through these discussions, we will attempt to critically appreciate both the universality and the particularity of the Buddhist ways of thinking.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II
Instructors: Gentry, J. (PI)

RELIGST 117: Christianity, Race, and Gender in 21st-century America (AMSTUD 117R)

As the largest religion practiced in the United States, Christianity not only shapes the private lives of a large number of Americans but also plays an important role in public discourse, policies, and debates. This course investigates Christianity's place on the shifting religious landscape in America, with special attention to present-day movements for racial and gender justice in the era of Black Lives Matter and #MeToo. Students explore reasons for declining numbers of Christians in the United States, the polarization of Christian conservatives and religious "nones," and Christian constructions of social relations. How do Christian beliefs and practices shape attitudes about race and gender roles? How is contemporary Christianity acting as a force for as well as a barrier to social justice? This course assumes no background in the study of religion, race, or gender and is open to practitioners of all faiths or none.
Terms: Sum | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-AmerCul, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED
Instructors: Pitkin, B. (PI)

RELIGST 119: Religion and Conflict

What is the relationship between religion and conflict? Can religious movements, ideologies, and actors cause conflicts or make them better or worse? This course looks at theories of religion and conflict, religious approaches to conflict resolution or peacebuilding, and examines case studies of conflicts involving religion.
Last offered: Winter 2020 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-GlobalCom, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER

RELIGST 123: The Hindu Epics and the Ethics of Dharma (CLASSICS 125)

The two great Hindu Epics, the Mahabharata and Ramayana, offer a sustained reflection on the nature of virtuous living in the face of insoluble ethical dilemmas. Their treatment of the concept of dharma, understood simultaneously as ethical action and the universal order that upholds the cosmos, lies at the heart of both Gandhian non-violent resistance and communalist interreligious conflict. This course will focus on a reading of selections from the Epics in English translation, supplemented with a consideration of how the texts have been interpreted in South Asian literary history and contemporary politics and public life in India.
Last offered: Spring 2019 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-ER

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

RELIGST 125: The Bible and its Interpreters

Introduction to major stories, figures, and themes of the Christian Bible and their retellings in theological writing, art, literature, film, and music throughout the ages.
| UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II
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