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RELIGST 81: Exploring Indian Religions

This course provides an overview of Indian religious traditions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Islam, and Sikhism. We will spend approximately half the course on Hindu thought and traditions from the Vedic period until the present day, emphasizing the diverse forms of this religion in different times and places. The second half of the course will be devoted to religions that emerged in South Asia (e.g., Jainism) and those that came to find a home and particular forms of expression on the subcontinent (e.g., Islam). Throughout students will read selections from a range of theological texts, epics, and literature that have permeated many aspects of daily religious life in India. We will also emphasize ritual activities, visual experiences in temples, and networks of pilgrimage places that dot the subcontinent. We will often pair primary sources (in translation) with later interpretations and impacts of those texts in modern South Asia. We will also survey the modern incarnations more »
This course provides an overview of Indian religious traditions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Islam, and Sikhism. We will spend approximately half the course on Hindu thought and traditions from the Vedic period until the present day, emphasizing the diverse forms of this religion in different times and places. The second half of the course will be devoted to religions that emerged in South Asia (e.g., Jainism) and those that came to find a home and particular forms of expression on the subcontinent (e.g., Islam). Throughout students will read selections from a range of theological texts, epics, and literature that have permeated many aspects of daily religious life in India. We will also emphasize ritual activities, visual experiences in temples, and networks of pilgrimage places that dot the subcontinent. We will often pair primary sources (in translation) with later interpretations and impacts of those texts in modern South Asia. We will also survey the modern incarnations of particular Indian religious traditions throughout South Asia and the diaspora. By the conclusion of this course, students will be conversant with the texts, beliefs, and practices of the major Indian religions in their cultural and historical contexts and also have a working knowledge of basic categories important for the study of religion more broadly.
Terms: not given this year, last offered Autumn 2014 | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-GlobalCom, WAY-ED | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

RELIGST 82: Exploring Christianity

Historical and contemporary Christianity from four viewpoints: ritual and prayer; sacred texts and creeds; ethics and life; and community governance.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

RELIGST 86: Exploring the New Testament (CLASSICS 43, JEWISHST 86)

To explore the historical context of the earliest Christians, students will read most of the New Testament as well as many documents that didn't make the final cut. Non-Christian texts, Roman art, and surviving archeological remains will better situate Christianity within the ancient world. Students will read from the Dead Sea Scrolls, explore Gnostic gospels, hear of a five-year-old Jesus throwing divine temper tantrums while killing (and later resurrecting) his classmates, peruse an ancient marriage guide, and engage with recent scholarship in archeology, literary criticism, and history.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-SI | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

RELIGST 105: Religion and War in America (AMSTUD 105R, CSRE 105, HISTORY 254D, HISTORY 354D)

Scholars have devoted much attention to wars in American history, but have not agreed as to whether religion was a major cause or simply a cover for political, economic, and other motives. We will compare interpretations that leave religion out, with those that take it into account. We will also look at the impact of war on the religious lives of ordinary Americans. We will examine both secondary as well as primary sources, beginning with King Philip's War in the 17th century, and ending with the "War on Terror" in the present day.
Terms: not given this year, last offered Spring 2017 | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum | 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: not given this year, last offered Winter 2017 | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

RELIGST 117: Christianity in 21st-century America (AMSTUD 117R)

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, last offered Spring 2017 | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-AmerCul, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

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: not given this year, last offered Autumn 2015 | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

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, last offered Autumn 2017 | Units: 3-5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

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.
Terms: not given this year, last offered Winter 2017 | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-Gender, WAY-ED | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

RELIGST 132C: How Jesus the Jew became God

Contemporary historical-critical methods in investigating how one might study Jewish and Christian texts of the 1st century CE. Social contexts including economic realities and elite ideological views. What can be known historically about 1st-century Judaism and Jesus' part it in it. How Jewish apocalyptic messianism shaped the birth of Christianity and its trajectory through the 1st century.
Terms: not given this year, last offered Winter 2013 | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
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