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RELIGST 109: Emperor, Explorer, and God: Alexander the Great in the Global Imagination (CLASSICS 142)

(Formerly CLASSGEN 109.) This course will survey the changing image of Alexander the Great from the Hellenistic world to the contemporary. We shall study the appropriation of his life and legend in a variety of cultures both East and West and discuss his reception as both a divine and a secular figure by examining a variety of media including texts (primary and secondary) and images (statues, coins, mosaics, illuminated manuscripts, film, and TV) in the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Jewish, Islamic, Medieval, Renaissance, and Early Modern contexts. In concluding the quarter, students will evaluate contemporary representations in film and popular culture, such as Alexander directed by Oliver Stone and Pop Art in order to better appreciate his enduring legacy.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

RELIGST 113B: Japanese Religion Through Film

Themes in premodern and modern Japanese religion though animations, movies and documentaries
Terms: not given this year | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

RELIGST 113C: Asceticism: The Discipline of Desire

Asceticism is an intense negotiation of the self with its desires, usually taking the form of the attempt to repress or curtail desire. Asceticism is often understood as a radical response to the problem of obsessive desire. Excessive attachments to food, money, and sex are among the most common of these concerns¿today we refer to these as addictions¿both in the contemporary world and to those living in a pre-modern context. In this course, we will discuss the experiences of ascetic figures throughout history not as relics of history but as intelligible responses to the problem of obsessive desire common to all ages. We will comparatively examine case studies from the ancient Christian world and the modern Indian world. The first part of the course will be devoted to understanding some of the most notable theoretical approaches to ascetic behavior in the field of religious studies while the second part of the course will be devoted to close readings of the cases in light of these theoretical approaches. Cross-cultural comparison and contrast will also be stressed. In the final part of the course, we will turn to modern philosophical reflections on ascetic behavior, attempting to answer the question, does the ascetic response to obsessive desire make sense in the world we live in today?
Terms: not given this year | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-SI | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

RELIGST 114: Yoga Ancient and Modern

Originating in ancient India, yoga went through many developments over more than 4000 years in India and other parts of Asia. Having migrated to Euro-America in the late nineteenth century, today yoga is everywhere--studios, schools, gyms, malls, resorts, ashrams, retreat centers. It comes in many flavors¿austere, with meditative instructors and Sanskrit chants; stylish, in 105-degree heat, with portable-miked instructors loudly motivating students to go through poses with speed and intensity; niche-crafted to meet the needs of busy professionals, pregnant women, senior citizens, or people with back problems. It may appear as a spiritual path or as a heavily marketed commodity. It generates lawsuits as teachers dispute ownership of certain styles, or as some Americans oppose its teaching yoga in public schools. In the first half of the course we will study the history of yoga in India, reading primary texts composed between about 500 BCE and 1600 CE. In the second half we will learn about yoga's globalization in the last century. 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: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Hess, L. (PI)

RELIGST 116: Who Speaks for Religion? Scholars Versus Believers

This course introduces students to the Insider /Outsider problem in the study of Religion focusing on questions of location, position, relation and boundaries. Who possesses the authority to decide on which people are inside/outside a religion, religious group or tradition? How do we conceive of the participant observer relationship and the speaking and writing about religion? How should we think about the scientific pretensions of religious studies as a reductionist approach? How do we meaningfully engage with questions of faith, theology, and the beliefs of others as part of a historical narrative of religious studies that both privileges lived experience of believers and extols the need for critical distance on the part of scholars?
Terms: not given this year | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

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 118: Gandhi, Nonviolence, Religion

We will study Gandhi and his era, focusing on sources that relate Gandhi¿s theory and practice of nonviolence to religion and ethics. Topics include Gandhi¿s biography and personal influences; his construction of Hinduism and inclination to asceticism; his encounters with Jainism and Christianity; his attempts to negotiate the increasingly intractable and violent issues between Hindus and Muslims leading up to independence/partition; and the religious arguments involved in his bitter break with the leader of the anti-caste and ¿untouchable¿ liberation movement, B.R. Ambedkar. We will locate discussions of religion within larger political and social circumstances. Readings include The Story of My Experiments with Truth, Hind Swaraj, and other writings by Gandhi; the Bhagavad Gita; Erik Erikson¿s psychoanalytic study, Gandhi¿s Truth; and recent critical works on Gandhi and religion.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-GlobalCom | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

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)
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