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RELIGST 119: Religion and Conflict

Conflicts involving religions are among the most vexing challenges facing international agencies, governments, institutions, and - above all - humanity. Although religion is often used as a descriptor of a conflict (Jewish - Muslim conflict in the Middle East, Christian-Muslim conflict in Sudan, Catholic-Protestant conflict in Northern Ireland) the impact of religion on creating and resolving these disputes is not well understood. It is indeed difficult, and at times impossible or undesirable, to separate religious from economic, political, agricultural, environmental, and cultural factors. This class will give students an opportunity to delve deeply into the histories, causes, and cultures involved in religious conflict. We will also challenge the assumption that different religions or particular religions are prone to conflict or tend towards violence. By studying resolutions to conflicts and looking at cases of inter-religious dialogue and cooperation, students will be able to count more »
Conflicts involving religions are among the most vexing challenges facing international agencies, governments, institutions, and - above all - humanity. Although religion is often used as a descriptor of a conflict (Jewish - Muslim conflict in the Middle East, Christian-Muslim conflict in Sudan, Catholic-Protestant conflict in Northern Ireland) the impact of religion on creating and resolving these disputes is not well understood. It is indeed difficult, and at times impossible or undesirable, to separate religious from economic, political, agricultural, environmental, and cultural factors. This class will give students an opportunity to delve deeply into the histories, causes, and cultures involved in religious conflict. We will also challenge the assumption that different religions or particular religions are prone to conflict or tend towards violence. By studying resolutions to conflicts and looking at cases of inter-religious dialogue and cooperation, students will be able to counter stereotypes and move beyond the rhetoric surrounding religion and conflict. The course will be both theoretical and practical. We will study how religious conflicts have been addressed academically and in policy discussions. We will also explore how religious beliefs, institutions, and actors have exacerbated or mitigated conflicts and facilitated or thwarted their resolutions. To illustrate these theories each section is accompanied by an examination of particular case studies of religious conflicts, some resolved and others ongoing, and efforts at religious peacebuilding, some successful and others not. Each student will then produce her or his own case study of a conflict or a comparison of conflicts as a final project.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-GlobalCom, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER
Instructors: Bigelow, A. (PI)

RELIGST 123: The Hindu Epics and the Ethics of Dharma (CLASSICS 125)

The two great Hindu Epics, the Mahabharata and Ramayana, offer a sustained reflection on the nature of virtuous living in the face of insoluble ethical dilemmas. Their treatment of the concept of dharma, understood simultaneously as ethical action and the universal order that upholds the cosmos, lies at the heart of both Gandhian non-violent resistance and communalist interreligious conflict. This course will focus on a reading of selections from the Epics in English translation, supplemented with a consideration of how the texts have been interpreted in South Asian literary history and contemporary politics and public life in India.
Last offered: Spring 2019 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-ER

RELIGST 125: The Bible and its Interpreters

Introduction to major stories, figures, and themes of the Christian Bible and their retellings in theological writing, art, literature, film, and music throughout the ages.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II
Instructors: Pitkin, B. (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.
Last offered: Autumn 2017 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II

RELIGST 128: Women and Gender in Early Judaism and Christianity (JEWISHST 128)

Beginning with the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, we will explore female figures in early Jewish and Christian literatures, such as Eve, Ruth, Mary, and Junia. Based on this, we will probe the prescriptions for female comportment in early Judaism and Christianity placing these literary prescriptions in conversation with material evidence related to women, such as for example the Babatha archive. We will analyze the politics of patriarchy in ancient discourse, and examine, among other topics, efforts by Christian clergy to silence female prophets in the second and third centuries CE. The bulk of the course will be devoted to the formative years of both Judaism and Christianity in Late Antiquity. This course assumes no prior knowledge of Judaism, Christianity, the Bible, or ancient history. It is designed for students who are part of faith traditions that consider the Bible to be sacred, as well as those who are not. Ancient readings in this course will be supplemented by modern scholarship in classics, early Christian studies, gender studies, queer studies, and the history of sexuality.
Last offered: Spring 2020 | UG Reqs: 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 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 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: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II
Instructors: Pitkin, B. (PI)

RELIGST 147: Building Heaven and Hell (CEE 147)

How did early Jews and Christians imagine space? How did they construct heaven and hell through their written texts? Can we take their written images of the earthly and heavenly Jerusalem and her temple, such as those found in Ezekiel, the Book of Revelation and the Apocalypse of Paul and transform them into three-dimensional space? We are going to try! We will send materials to your home so that you can literally build these images from foam board and hot glue. A number of themes will emerge through the course: the interpretive move in rendering a once real space as a literary icon, the relationship between text and imagined space, the connection between space and ritual, the development of apocalyptic visions, and the centrality of Jerusalem in Jewish and Christian thought. Learn more about the course here: https://youtu.be/J9q8CCQ9NkA
Terms: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II
Instructors: Copeland, K. (PI)

RELIGST 149: Finding Utopia: New Religious Movements in the 19th and 20th Centuries

What is the connection between new religious movements and secularization? As the religious concept of freedom was expanded in the 19th century, so was secular culture: there was a vast array of possible routes a person might take to pursue transcendent wisdom, and this was increasingly a matter of personal choice. Whether in the form of new religious movements such as the Oneida community, reactions against institutionalization of religion such as the rise of atheism, the creation of syncretic religions such as theosophy, or the combination of religious expression and scientific discourse in practices such as scientology, the last two hundred years have been an era of profound religious experimentation. But challenges to traditional religious expression not only consisted of new beliefs, they also led to innovative forms of community.
Terms: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-SI
Instructors: Willburn, S. (PI)
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