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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 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.
Last offered: Autumn 2014 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-GlobalCom, WAY-ED

RELIGST 82: Exploring Christianity

Historical and contemporary Christianity from four viewpoints: ritual and prayer; sacred texts and creeds; ethics and life; and community governance.
| UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum

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.
Last offered: Winter 2019 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-SI

RELIGST 105: Religion and War in America (AMSTUD 105R, CSRE 105, HISTORY 254D, HISTORY 354D)

Scholars have devoted much attention to wars in American history, but have not agreed as to whether religion was a major cause or simply a cover for political, economic, and other motives. We will compare interpretations that leave religion out, with those that take it into account. We will also look at the impact of war on the religious lives of ordinary Americans. We will examine both secondary as well as primary sources, beginning with King Philip's War in the 17th century, and ending with the "War on Terror" in the present day.
Last offered: Spring 2017 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum

RELIGST 113: The Religious Life of Things

Temples, prayer beads, icons, robes, books, relics, candles and incense, scarves and hats, sacred food and holy water; objects of all sorts play a prominent role in all religions, evoking a wide range of emotional responses, from reverence, solace and even ecstasy, to fear, hostility and violence. What is it about these things that makes them so powerful? Is it beliefs and doctrines that inspire particular attitudes towards certain objects, or is it the other way around? Many see a tension or even contradiction between religion and material pursuits and argue that the true religious life is a life without things. But is such a life even possible? This course adopts a comparative approach, drawing on a variety of traditions to examine the place of images, food, clothing, ritual objects, architecture and relics in religious thought and practice. Materials for the course include scholarship, scripture, images and at least one museum visit.
| UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED

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.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED

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.
Last offered: Spring 2017 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-AmerCul, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED

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.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-GlobalCom, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER
Instructors: Bigelow, 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.
Last offered: Autumn 2015 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED
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