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POLISCI 230A: Classical Seminar: Origins of Political Thought (CLASSICS 181, CLASSICS 381, ETHICSOC 130A, PHIL 176A, PHIL 276A, POLISCI 330A)

Political philosophy in classical antiquity, centered on reading canonical works of Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle against other texts and against the political and historical background. Topics include: interdependence, legitimacy, justice; political obligation, citizenship, and leadership; origins and development of democracy; law, civic strife, and constitutional change.
Terms: Win | Units: 3-5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER

PUBLPOL 103C: Justice (ETHICSOC 171, PHIL 171, POLISCI 103, POLISCI 336S, PUBLPOL 307)

In this course, we explore three sets of questions relating to justice and the meaning of a just society: (1) Liberty: What is liberty, and why is it important? Which liberties must a just society protect? (2) Equality: What is equality, and why is it important? What sorts of equality should a just society ensure? (3) Reconciliation: Are liberty and equality in conflict? If so, how should we respond to the conflict between them? We approach these topics by examining competing theories of justice including utilitarianism, libertarianism/classical liberalism, and egalitarian liberalism. The class also serves as an introduction to how to do political philosophy, and students approaching these topics for the first time are welcome. Political Science majors taking this course to fulfill the WIM requirement should enroll in POLISCI 103.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-EthicReas, WAY-ER

REES 145D: Jewish American Literature (AMSTUD 145D, ENGLISH 145D, JEWISHST 155D)

From its inception, Jewish-American literature has taken as its subject as well as its context the idea of Jewishness itself. Jewish culture is a diasporic one, and for this reason the concept of Jewishness differs from country to country and across time. What stays remarkably similar, though, is Jewish self-perception and relatedly Jewish literary style. This is as true for the first-generation immigrant writers like Isaac Bashevis Singer and Anzia Yezierska who came to the United States from abroad as it is for their second-generation children born in the United States, and the children of those children. In this course, we will consider the difficulties of displacement for the emigrant generation and their efforts to sustain their cultural integrity in the multicultural American environment. We'll also examine the often comic revolt of their American-born children and grandchildren against their (grand-)parents nostalgia and failure to assimilate. Only by considering these transnati more »
From its inception, Jewish-American literature has taken as its subject as well as its context the idea of Jewishness itself. Jewish culture is a diasporic one, and for this reason the concept of Jewishness differs from country to country and across time. What stays remarkably similar, though, is Jewish self-perception and relatedly Jewish literary style. This is as true for the first-generation immigrant writers like Isaac Bashevis Singer and Anzia Yezierska who came to the United States from abroad as it is for their second-generation children born in the United States, and the children of those children. In this course, we will consider the difficulties of displacement for the emigrant generation and their efforts to sustain their cultural integrity in the multicultural American environment. We'll also examine the often comic revolt of their American-born children and grandchildren against their (grand-)parents nostalgia and failure to assimilate. Only by considering these transnational roots can one understand the particularity of the Jewish-American novel in relation to mainstream and minority American literatures. In investigating the link between American Jewish writers and their literary progenitors, we will draw largely but not exclusively from Russia and the countries of Eastern Europe.
Last offered: Spring 2018 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-AmerCul, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED

REES 185B: Jews in the Contemporary World: The Jewish Present and Past in Film, Television and Popular Culture (CSRE 185B, HISTORY 185B, HISTORY 385C, JEWISHST 185B)

(Same as HISTORY 85B.) This course explores the full expanse of Jewish life today and in the recent past. The inner workings of religious faith, the content of Jewish identify shorn of belief, the interplay between Jewish powerlessness and influence, the myth and reality of Jewish genius, the continued pertinence of antisemitism, the rhythms of Jewish economic life ¿ all these will be examined in weekly lectures, classroom discussion, and with the use of a widely diverse range of readings, films, and other material. Explored in depth will the ideas and practices of Zionism, the content of contemporary secularism and religious Orthodoxy, the impact Holocaust, the continued crisis facing Israel and the Palestinians. Who is to be considered Jewish, in any event, especially since so many of the best known (Spinoza, Freud, Marx) have had little if anything to do with Jewish life with their relationships to it indifferent, even hostile?
Terms: Win | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-GlobalCom, WAY-ED, WAY-SI

RELIGST 1: Religion Around the Globe

This course surveys major religious traditions of the world. Through examination of a variety of materials, including scriptures and other spiritual writings, religious objects and artifacts, and modern documentary and film, we explore Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Jainism as rich historical and living traditions.
Terms: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-GlobalCom, WAY-ED, WAY-SI

RELIGST 2: Is Stanford a Religion?

This course seeks to introduce students to the study of religion by posing a two-part question: What is a religion, and does Stanford qualify as one? Scientific, pragmatic, seemingly secular, Stanford may not seem at all similar to religions like Christianity, Judaism or Buddhism, but a deeper look reveals that it has many of the qualities of religion--origin stories, rituals and ceremonies, sacred spaces and times, visions of the future, even some spirits. By learning some of the theories and methods of the field of religious studies, students will gain a better understanding not just of Stanford culture but of what motivates people to be religious, the roles religion plays in people's lives, and the similarities and differences between religious and secular culture.
Last offered: Spring 2018 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II

RELIGST 11N: The Meaning of Life: Philosophical, Aesthetic, and Religious Perspectives

What is involved in making personal/existential sense of one's own life? We study artworks and texts by Manet, T.S. Eliot, Plato, Plotinus, Augustine, Marx, Nietzsche, and Heidegger, as well as Ingmar Bergman's classic film, "The Seventh Seal."
Terms: Win | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum
Instructors: Sheehan, T. (PI)

RELIGST 12N: Perspectives on the Good Life

The question is how to approach and evaluate different perspectives on the good life, especially when those perspectives are beautifully, and elusively, presented to us as texts. We will consider both classic and modern writers, from the West and from China; some are explicitly religious, some explicitly secular; some literary, some philosophical. Most of the class will revolve around our talk with each other, interpreting and questioning relatively short texts. The works we will read - by Dante, Dickenson, Zhuangzi, Shklar, and others - are not intended to be representative of traditions, of eras, or of disciplines. They do, however, present a range of viewpoint and of style that will help frame and re-frame our views on the good life. They will illustrate and question the role that great texts can play in a modern 'art of living.' Perhaps most important, they will develop and reward the skills of careful reading, attentive listening, and thoughtful discussion. (Note: preparation and participation in discussion are the primary course requirement. Enrollment at 3 units requires a short final paper; a more substantial paper is required for the 4-unit option.
Terms: Spr | Units: 3-4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum
Instructors: Yearley, L. (PI)

RELIGST 14N: Demons, Death, and the Damned: The 'Other' and the Otherwordly in America

This course will examine how beliefs about the "other world" actually shape and are shaped by Americans' this-worldly actions and interactions (i.e. in the demonization of the "other," whether defined religiously, racially, ethnically, or in gendered terms). Students will ask how ideas about demons and death, heaven and hell have reflected the concerns, values, and identities of Americans over time. Students will learn how to read primary sources against secondary literature.
Last offered: Autumn 2013 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum

RELIGST 17N: Love, Power, and Justice: Ethics in Christian Perspective

From its inception, the Christian faith has, like all religions, implied an ethos as well as a worldview, a morality and way of life as well as a system of beliefs, an ethics as well as a metaphysics. Throughout history, Christian thinkers have offered reasoned accounts of the moral values, principles, and virtues that ought to animate the adherents of what eventually became the world's largest religion. We will explore a variety of controversial issues, theological orientations, and types of ethical reasoning in the Christian tradition, treating the latter as one 'comprehensive doctrine' (John Rawls) among many; a normative framework (actually a variety of contested religious premises, moral teachings, and philosophical arguments) formally on par with the religious ethics of other major faiths as well as with the various secular moral theories typically discussed in the modern university. We will learn to interpret, reconstruct, criticize, and think intelligently about the coherence and persuasiveness of moral arguments offered by a diverse handful of this religious tradition's best thinkers and critics, past and present.
Last offered: Spring 2016 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER
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