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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 129: Milk and Honey, Wine and Blood: Food, Justice, and Ethnic Identity in Jewish Culture (JEWISHST 129A)

This course examines Jewish culture and the food practices and traditions that have shaped and continue to shape it. Students learn to prepare a variety of meals while studying about the historical and literary traditions associated with them, such as the dietary `laws¿ and the long history of their interpretation, as well as the cultivation of eating as devotional practice in Jewish mystical traditions. We will explore how regional foods the world over contribute to the formation of distinct Jewish ethnic identities, and how these traditions shape contemporary Jewish food ethics. The course includes guest visits by professional chefs and food writers, and field trips to a local winery.
Last offered: Spring 2019 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-ED

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.
Last offered: Winter 2017 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-Gender, WAY-ED

RELIGST 133: Muslims, Jews, and Christians: Conflict, Coexistence, and Collaboration (JEWISHST 123)

Relationships between Muslims, Jews, and Christians today are informed by a multitude of complex and often painful histories. These faith traditions emerged out of deep and sustained engagement with one another sharing theological and ethical principles, and revering many of the same figures and there have been many periods of rich and productive interaction. Yet there have also been areas of dissension and conflict, and periods when theological, social, or political disagreement devolved into violence and oppression. In recent times (especially following the Holocaust and the establishment of the modern State of Israel), religious, political, and intellectual leaders of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian communities, in the U.S. and around the world, have recognized the need to forge deeper and more meaningful relationships with one another. Knowledge and understanding of the perspectives that different communities and individuals bring to bear on their entangled past, present, and future more »
Relationships between Muslims, Jews, and Christians today are informed by a multitude of complex and often painful histories. These faith traditions emerged out of deep and sustained engagement with one another sharing theological and ethical principles, and revering many of the same figures and there have been many periods of rich and productive interaction. Yet there have also been areas of dissension and conflict, and periods when theological, social, or political disagreement devolved into violence and oppression. In recent times (especially following the Holocaust and the establishment of the modern State of Israel), religious, political, and intellectual leaders of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian communities, in the U.S. and around the world, have recognized the need to forge deeper and more meaningful relationships with one another. Knowledge and understanding of the perspectives that different communities and individuals bring to bear on their entangled past, present, and future are a critical part of efforts to resolve intransigent conflicts and advance mutual interests. This course explores some of the most significant moments of interaction through literature and art, polemic and dialogue that have shaped engagements between Muslims, Jews, and Christians throughout history, and examines both prospects and pitfalls for engagement in the present and future.
Last offered: Summer 2019 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-ED

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 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 165: Modern Jewish Mysticism: Devotion in a Secular Age (JEWISHST 125)

The twentieth-century was a time of tremendous upheaval and unspeakable tragedy for the Jewish communities of Europe. But the past hundred years were also a period of great renewal for Jewish spirituality, a renaissance that has continued into the present day. Beginning with the writings of the Safed Renaissance, the Sabbateanism, and the Hasidic masters, our course will focus on key thinkers in the 19th and 20th centuries, including: Hillel Zeitlin, Martin Buber, Abraham Isaac Kook, Abraham Joshua Heschel, and Arthur Green. Drawing upon essays, homilies, and poems, we will examine the ways in which their works re-cast and reinterpret the Jewish tradition in answer to the singular questions and challenges modernity. We will mark the development of their thinking against the two World Wars, the Holocaust, and the complex and multi-faceted processes of secularization. We will also consider the theological project of modern Jewish mystics in dialogue with modern Jewish philosophers (such more »
The twentieth-century was a time of tremendous upheaval and unspeakable tragedy for the Jewish communities of Europe. But the past hundred years were also a period of great renewal for Jewish spirituality, a renaissance that has continued into the present day. Beginning with the writings of the Safed Renaissance, the Sabbateanism, and the Hasidic masters, our course will focus on key thinkers in the 19th and 20th centuries, including: Hillel Zeitlin, Martin Buber, Abraham Isaac Kook, Abraham Joshua Heschel, and Arthur Green. Drawing upon essays, homilies, and poems, we will examine the ways in which their works re-cast and reinterpret the Jewish tradition in answer to the singular questions and challenges modernity. We will mark the development of their thinking against the two World Wars, the Holocaust, and the complex and multi-faceted processes of secularization. We will also consider the theological project of modern Jewish mystics in dialogue with modern Jewish philosophers (such as Hermann Cohen, Franz Rosenzweig, and Emmanuel Levinas) as well as modern philosophers and scholars informed by Christianity (from William James to Charles Taylor). This course argues that the processes of sacralization, of reclaiming a life of mystical devotion, are best understood as a unique response to Jewish modernity rather than a retreat to past modalities of religion. In seeking to prove this point, we will explore writers whose work emerged in and engaged with different social and cultural domains. We will investigate their writings with an eye to issues such as power and identity, and will draw upon their works in charting the intersection of mysticism, literature, language and experience. Throughout our readings, we will keep our eye on the sustained impact of feminism on Jewish mysticism in the second half of the twentieth century. This course is structured as a seminar, and our class discussions will be rooted in the primary sources. It assumes no prior background of Judaism or any other religious traditions. All readings will be made available in English.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-ED
Instructors: Mayse, E. (PI)

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: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-ED
Instructors: Fisher, E. (PI)

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 230X: Religion, Radicalization and Media in Africa since 1945 (AFRICAST 248, AFRICAST 348, HISTORY 248, HISTORY 348, RELIGST 330X)

What are the paths to religious radicalization, and what role have media- new and old- played in these conversion journeys? We examine how Pentecostal Christians and Reformist Muslims in countries such as South Africa, Nigeria, Sudan, and Ethiopia have used multiple media forms- newspapers, cell phones, TV, radio, and the internet- to gain new converts, contest the authority of colonial and post-colonial states, construct transnational communities, and position themselves as key political players.
Terms: Spr | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-ED
Instructors: Cabrita, J. (PI)
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