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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: not given this year, last offered Winter 2018 | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-ED | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

RELIGST 169: Sacred Words: Jewish Thought and the Question of Language (JEWISHST 129)

Jews have long been referred as the people of the book, but they might better be referred to as the people of the word. Drawing upon texts from the Hebrew Bible to the works of modern Hebrew writers like of Hayyim Nahman Bialik and Amoz Oz, this seminar will chart the development of Jewish thinking on language over the past two millennia. We will explore issues such as: the idea of canonization; oral versus written language; the nature and possibility of translation; the origins of language; notions of negative theology; mystical approaches to the word; the rebirth of Hebrew as a spoken and cultural language; and the limits of language after the Holocaust. This course will also bring Jewish thought into dialogue with contemporary philosophical reflections on issues of language. Modern explorations of language will prove an interesting way of deepening our understanding of the Jewish thinkers on one hand, and enriching contemporary intellectual discourse on the other.
Terms: not given this year, last offered Spring 2018 | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

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 180: Gender Relations in Islam (FEMGEN 180)

This course investigates the ways in which gender identities and relationships between men and women have been articulated, constructed, and refashioned throughout the Muslim world. Starting with problematizing the fixed notions of gender and sexuality, we map the attitudes toward these notions through visiting a diverse array of sources from the Qur¿an, Sunna, and legal documents to historical and anthropological case studies, literature, and film from South East Asia to Europe and North America. We examine the notions of femininity and masculinity in the Qur¿an, family laws, and attitudes toward homosexuality and transgendered populations. We read examples of ambiguous use of language with regards to gender and sexuality in Persian poetry and mystical traditions. We study the dynamic relationship between Islam and Feminism in the Muslim world. Finally, we witness the implications of these attitudes in our case studies and stories, from a divorce court in Iran to a wedding in Sudan.
Terms: not given this year, last offered Autumn 2017 | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-SI | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

RELIGST 181: Heidegger (PHIL 133S)

A close reading of Heidegger's Being and Time in light of the new paradigm for reading his work, as well as a study of his long-standing interest in mysticism and the question of the divine.
Terms: Win | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II | Repeatable for credit | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

RELIGST 205: Religious Poetry

Religious poetry drawn from the Islamic, Christian, Confucian and Daoist traditions. Limited enrollment or consent of the instructor required.
Terms: not given this year, last offered Winter 2014 | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

RELIGST 224: Classical Islamic Texts (RELIGST 324)

The course is based on readings in primary Arabic sources in the key fields of pre-modern Islamic scholarship. The list of readings and topics will depend on the interests of the students. In addition to focusing on the language, contents, and context of the texts covered, the course introduces genre-specific historical research methods. The reading selections may be derived from Qur¿anic interpretation (tafsir), the hadith literature, adab, biographical dictionaries, fiqh, ta'rikh, kalam, or Sufism. Reading knowledge of Arabic is required.
Terms: not given this year, last offered Autumn 2014 | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II | Repeatable for credit | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

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 | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)
Instructors: Cabrita, J. (PI)

RELIGST 235: Religion in Modern Society: Secularization and the Sacred (RELIGST 335)

What is the status of religion in modern life? Is the modern world "secular" in some fundamental, irreversible way and what does this mean? This course will explore these questions through variety of readings from leading sociologists, philosophers, and anthropologists. Our goal will be to understand in what ways industrialization, political liberalization, the rise of technology, and the success of modern science have been used to support the "secularization" thesis that the modern West rendered religion a thing of the past. A central question to be asked will be: do assessments of the place of religion in modernity necessitate a philosophy of history i.e., a theory not only of historical change, but of the meaning of this change as well?n The course will begin by looking at the origins of the theory of secularization from its beginnings in Enlightenment attempts to understand the meaning of history. We will then turn to contemporary debates over the term "secular" against its counterpart, "religious", and the problems with their application to non-Western societies. We will read works by Talal Asad, Saba Mahmood, Max Weber, Charles Taylor, Jürgen Habermas, and Pope Benedict XVI.
Terms: not given this year, last offered Spring 2014 | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-SI | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

RELIGST 253: Recent Research on Japanese Buddhism (RELIGST 353)

Readings in recent English-language scholarship on Japanese Buddhism. nUndergraduates must enroll for 5 units; graduate students can enroll for 3-5 units. Prerequisite: Solid foundation in either Buddhist studies or East Asian Studies (5 units for 253, 3-5 units for 353) May be repeat for credit.
Terms: Spr | Units: 3-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II | Repeatable for credit | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Mross, M. (PI)
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