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RELIGST 117: Christianity in 21st-century America

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.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-AmerCul, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

RELIGST 119: Religion, Violence, and Nonviolence

College courses and public events often address "religion and violence"--an important topic, but one-sided. We will study ways in which religious leaders, movements, and discourses have (1) promoted violent conflict, aggression, and oppression; and (2) contributed to nonviolence, peacebuilding, and liberation of the oppressed. An overarching theme will be a view of religions as fields of interpretation. No religion is essentially violent or peaceful; intricately connected to the world around them, religions become what they become through interpretation and action. Each week will have two meetings: one featuring an outstanding guest lecturer and one to discuss the lecture topic, with assigned readings and films. Topics under consideration include: Buddhism and Violence; Dorothy Day and Catholic Nonviolent Resistance to Nuclear Weapons; Just War and Jihad; The Contribution of Negro Spirituals to Liberation; The Quakers: Pacifist Convictions and Activism; Violence/Nonviolence in Jainism; The Role of Christian Faith in M.L. King's Political Work; Spirituality and Religious Peacebuilding. For lecture series with required attendance and written reflections for 2 units, take RELIGST 29.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-GlobalCom, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

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.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Chen, J. (PI)

RELIGST 126: Protestant Reformation (HISTORY 126B)

The emergence of Protestant Christianity in 16th-century Europe. Analysis of writings by evangelical reformers (Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Sattler, Hubmeier, Müntzer) and study of reform movements (Lutheran, Reformed, Anabaptist, Spiritualist) in their medieval context and as expressions of new and influential visions of Christian belief, life, social order.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

RELIGST 129: Modern Jewish Thought (JEWISHST 129)

From 1870 to the late twentieth century, Jewish thought and philosophy attempted to understand Judaism in response to the developments and crises of Jewish life in the modern world. In this course we shall explore the responses of figures such as Martin Buber, Franz Rosenzweig, Hermann Cohen, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Joseph Soloveitchik, Emil Fackenheim, and Emmanuel Levinas. Central topics will concern ethics and politics, faith and revelation, redemption and messianism, and the religious responses to catastrophe and atrocity. We shall discuss Judaism in European culture before and after World War I and in North America in the postwar period and after the Six Day War. A central theme will be the ways in which attempts to understand Jewish experience are related to history.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

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.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

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.
Terms: Spr | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)
Instructors: Pitkin, B. (PI)

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.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

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.nnThe 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.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

RELIGST 181: Heidegger and Daoism: Differences and Dialogue (PHIL 133S)

The new paradigm for understanding Heidegger makes possible a fresh look at his long-standing interest in Daoism. Part One: a radical recasting of Heidegger's thought, including his readings of the Presocratics (6th century BCE). In light of that, Part Two: a reading of Laozi's Dao De Jing / Tao Te Ching (6th century BCE). Permission of instructor required.
Terms: Win | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Sheehan, T. (PI)
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