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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.
| UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-Gender

RELIGST 132D: Early Christian Gospels (CLASSICS 145)

An exploration of Christian gospels of the first and second century. Emphasis on the variety of images and interpretations of Jesus and the good news, the broader Hellenistic and Jewish contexts of the gospels, the processes of developing and transmitting gospels, and the creation of the canon. Readings include the Gospel of John, the Gospel of Mark, the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary and other canonical and non-canonical gospels.
| UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II
Instructors: Copeland, K. (PI)

RELIGST 140: RELIGION AND ETHICS: The Limits of Dialogue

How do religious traditions address ethical problems? Although ¿the good¿ seems like a universal goal, religious traditions force us to consider non-universal ways of defining it. From marriage to genetic engineering, from abortion to organ donation, issues of community, faith, and practice continue to complicate our ethical thinking. Exploration of case-studies and concepts, with readings from Kant, Foucault, Butler and others, as well as Jewish and Christian interpretations of the Bible.
| UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-EthicReas

RELIGST 144: John Calvin and Christian Faith

Close reading and analysis of Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion as a classic expression of Christian belief.
| UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II

RELIGST 14N: Demons, Death, and the Damned: The 'Other' and the Otherwordly in America

This course will examine how beliefs about the "other world" actually shape and are shaped by Americans' this-worldly actions and interactions (i.e. in the demonization of the "other," whether defined religiously, racially, ethnically, or in gendered terms). Students will ask how ideas about demons and death, heaven and hell have reflected the concerns, values, and identities of Americans over time. Students will learn how to read primary sources against secondary literature.
| UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum

RELIGST 162: 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).
| UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-ED, WAY-SI

RELIGST 174: Religious Existentialism-Kierkegaard

Existentialism is often understood to be a secular or anti-religious philosophy of life, a substitute for Christian ethics in a post-theistic world come of age. Yet this twentieth-century philosophical movement owes many of its concerns and much of its vocabulary to the hyper-Protestant Danish thinker Soren Kierkegaard, and much of the best Christian and Jewish thought in the 20th-century (Bultmann, Buber, Tillich) adopted existentialism as the ¿best philosophy¿ for making sense of these traditions in a secular age. This course will examine the origins of existentialist thought in the writings of Kierkegaard and its appropriation by a handful of influential 20th- century religious thinkers.
| UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II

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.nThe 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.
| UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED
Instructors: Dickason, K. (PI)

RELIGST 188A: Issues in Liberation: El Salvador

Within the context of US intervention in Central America the course investigates the history of liberation movements in El Salvador (including ¿liberation theology¿), as well as ethical questions relating economic, social, and political issues in that country. This class will likely include immersion travel to El Salvador 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.
| UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-ED, WAY-SI
Instructors: Sheehan, T. (PI)

RELIGST 201: Islamic Law (RELIGST 301)

(This course is combined with LAW 586) Topics include marriage, divorce, inheritance, ritual, war, rebellion, abortion, and relations with non-Muslims. The course begins with the premodern period, in which jurists were organized in legal traditions called ¿schools of law.¿ After examining the nature and functions of these institutions, we turn to the present era to study the relationship between customary law, state law, and the Islamic legal heritage in Egypt and Indonesia. The course explores Muslim laws and legal institutions and the factors that have shaped them, including social values and customs, politics, legal precedents, and textual interpretation.
| UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II
Instructors: Sadeghi, B. (PI)
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