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RELIGST 86: Exploring the New Testament (CLASSGEN 86)

The New Testament is many things to many people. Around the globe, it is and has been for two millennia a source of culture, law, and faith. It has been used both to undergird battles for civil rights and to fight against them. It has been used both to justify wars and to argue that all war is unjust. Yet, many people haven¿t read the New Testament and still more haven¿t looked at it from historical, sociological, comparative and literary frameworks. This course will provide you the opportunity to read the New Testament and to study it closely. We will ask questions of the New Testament about the early Jesus movement, how it fits into its historical context and how it developed. We will look at the range of opinions and views about Jesus present in this literature. We will explore the different genres used by early Christians. We will examine how this set of Early Christian texts came to be considered the canon.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)
Instructors: Copeland, K. (PI)

RELIGST 93: Exploring Zoroastrianism

Zoroastrianism was once considered one of the great religions of antiquity. It was the state religion of the Persian Empire and its theological influence has been traced in Graeco-Roman mystery cults, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. Yet, today it is one of the least understood of living religions. This introductory class will introduce and analyze Zoroastrianism through some of its defining themes, including an examination of the figure of the prophet Zoroaster, modes of transmitting sacred knowledge, the nature of good and evil, and the importance of ritual practice and practitioners. We will also discuss how Zoroastrianism views the individual with respect to the body, the life cycle, and issues of gender and sexuality. Finally, this course will also examine the intersection of religion and ethnicity that has defined Zoroastrianism from its origins in the 2nd millennium BCE up to the present.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Vevaina, Y. (PI)

RELIGST 106: Religion and the Environment: The Moral Meanings of Nature

What does it mean to live in "harmony" with nature? What do humans seek and find in nature and our relationship to it? How have understandings of nature oriented human actions and values and given "place" to humanity in the cosmos? From religious texts to Deep Ecology, American conservationism to Buddhist and Romantic nature poetry, naturalist critics of religion to religious naturalists, and finally debates over the role of religion in dealing with environmental crisis, this course is designed as a general introductory survey of the topic of religion and the environment. It will be guided by the question of how conceptions of nature have been a source of reflection on the goals of life and the ways in which humans are to understand their existential "lot". Readings will include primary texts from major religious traditions, poetry, and scholarly and philosophical texts from figures including, among others, Descartes, Goethe, Nietzsche, J.S. Mill, Thoreau, Aldo Leopold, John Muir, Gary Snyder, and Peter Singer.
Terms: Aut | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Woodford, P. (PI)

RELIGST 108: Indian Epics: Past and Present (COMPLIT 148B)

The Mahabharata and the Ramayana, the two great epics of India, have been crucial texts in South Asian literature and culture for millennia. In this course, we will explore the diverse forms and impacts of both epics from their Sanskrit versions, first composed more than 2,000 years ago, into retellings through newer media forms well into the twenty-first century. We begin with abridged translations of both the Mahabharata (including the Bhagavadgita) and the Ramayana. We will discuss the major literary, religious, and social themes of each text as well as subsequent retellings in Sanskrit and vernacular languages. Throughout the course we will also investigate the modern lives of the Indian epics, including their transformations into Indian television serials, film versions of both narratives (from India and America), and invocations of the epic stories in contemporary political disputes. In addition to gaining exposure to some of the foundational texts for the study of South Asia, students will cultivate the ability to fruitfully analyze texts and stories from different cultures.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-ED | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Truschke, A. (PI)

RELIGST 109: Emperor, Explorer, and God: Alexander the Great in the Global Imagination (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: Win | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Vevaina, Y. (PI)

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: Spr | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-SI | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

RELIGST 114: Yoga Ancient and Modern (RELIGST 214)

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. 4 units without yoga class, 6 units with yoga class and weekly short reflections on the experience.
Terms: Spr | Units: 4-6 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Hess, L. (PI)

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: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-AmerCul, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)
Instructors: Pitkin, B. (PI)

RELIGST 119: Gandhi and His Legacy: Violence and Nonviolence in the World and in Ourselves (RELIGST 219)

Gandhi, the pioneer of nonviolent political struggle in the first half of the 20th century, is used as a springboard to study violence more broadly¿what it is, what it does to individuals and societies, how it can be addressed and transformed. Special attention to connections between (non)violence on an individual/personal level and in the larger world. New format includes both academic study and experiential workshops
Terms: Win | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-GlobalCom, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Hess, L. (PI)

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: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Bashir, S. (PI)
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