Spring 2016 Course Schedule

Spring ’16 Upper Level Courses

Tentative Fall ’16 Upper Course Schedule

Fall ’15 Course Schedule
2015 Fall Course Schedule

Course Title Days Time Instructor Location
REL 101 A Intro to Religion TR 11:00am-12:15pm Johnston Wingate 210
REL 101 B Intro to Religion WF 11:00am-12:15pm L. Neal Wingate 210
REL 101 C Intro to Religion TR 9:30-10:45am Pace Wingate 306
REL 101 D Intro to Religion TR 12:30-1:45pm Pace Wingate 306
REL 102 A Intro to the Bible MWF 9:00-9:50am Hoglund Wingate 306
REL 102 B Intro to the Bible MWF 11:00-11:50am Hoglund Wingate 306
REL 103 A Intro to Christian Traditions MWF 10:00-10:50am Elistratov Wingate 314
REL 103 B Intro to Christian Traditions MWF 1:00-1:50pm Elistratov Wingate 314
REL 104 A Intro to Asian Religions WF 9:30-10:45am Whitaker Wingate 210
REL 105 A Monotheisms: Judaism, Christianity, Islam MWF 11:00-11:50am Elistratov Wingate 314
REL 107 A Intro to African Religions MW 12:30-1:45pm Ilesanmi Wingate 209
REL 108 A Intro to Hindu Religions TR 9:30-10:45am Ramachandran Wingate 314
REL 108 B Intro to Hindu Religions TR 11:00am-12:15pm Ramachandran Wingate 314
REL 109 A Intro to Buddhist Traditions TR 9:30-10:45am Arthur Wingate 210
REL 110 A Intro to Islamic Traditions TR 11:00am-12:15pm Van Doorn Harder Wingate 209
REL 110 B Intro to Islamic Traditions TR 12:30-1:45pm Van Doorn Harder Wingate 209
REL 306 A Ritual Studies WF 11:00am-12:15pm Whitaker Wingate 206
REL 307 A Magic, Science & Religion TR 9:30-10:45am Johnston Wingate 206
REL 317 A Wisdom Literature TR 12:30-1:45pm Hoglund Wingate 206
REL 320 A The Search for Jesus MW 12:30-1:45pm Foskett Wingate 206
REL 331 A Religion & Law MW 5:00-6:15pm Ilesanmi Wingate 209
REL 342 A Religious Intolerance in the US WF 9:30-10:45am L. Neal Wingate 206
REL 381 A Zen Buddhism TR 11:00-12:15pm Ford Wingate 206
REL 383 A The Quran and the Prophet TR 9:30-10:45am Van Doorn Harder Wingate 209
REL 385 A Special Topics in South Asian Religions: Hindu Images TR 2:00-3:15pm Ramachandran Wingate 314
REL 390 A Religion, Culture & the Body TR 12:30-1:45pm Arthur Wingate 210

Fall ’15 Upper Level Courses

Religion Department Upper Level Course Offerings Fall 2015

REL 306: Ritual Studies (General Courses)
Prof. Whitaker, WF 11:00am-12:15pm – This course will introduce students to the various methods and theories employed in the field of ritual studies, while examining comparative rituals and ritualized practices from around the world.

REL 307: Magic, Science & Religion (General Courses)
Prof. Johnston, TR 9:30-10:45am – This course explores the intersections between the cultural categories of magic and science and various religious traditions and groups.  First, the course explores so-called western science, its dependence on both western and non-western religious institutions and ideation, and the cultural construction of the concept “magic.”  Students will also encounter perspectives on non-western epistemology and knowledge.  The course also explores astronomy and cosmology, indigenous science and modes of healing, and the relationships between evolution, ecology and religion.  

REL 317: Wisdom Literature (Group I: Biblical Studies)
Prof. Hoglund, TR 12:30-1:45pm – An examination of the canonical and deuterocanonical wisdom literature of ancient Israel. Specifically, the course offers an in-depth analysis of the books of Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, and Ben Sira (Ecclesiasticus). The study will emphasize an understanding of the literary forms in these books, the evidence for growth and development, as well as the interpretive problems raised by these elements. The unique theological insights of Israel’s Wisdom literature will be a continuous concern of the class. A great deal of emphasis is placed on class discussion and interaction.

REL 320: The Search for Jesus (Group I: Biblical Studies)
Prof. Foskett, MW 12:30-1:45pm – Who was Jesus of Nazareth? What does historical study suggest about the life and teachings of the figure who stands at the center of Christian tradition? Why do scholars and others pursue these questions?  What difference might they make? This course introduces students to the questions, aims, methods and sources that have shaped and continue to inform the scholarly quest for the historical Jesus. The course will open with a general introduction to New Testament studies before taking on the primary issues that pertain to study of the historical Jesus.

REL 331: Religion and Law (Group II: Religion, History, and Society)
Prof. Ilesanmi, MW 5:00-6:15pm – The terms ‘religion’ and ‘law’ denote two complex realms of life that have much shared history and continue to intersect in the modern world. The relationship both spheres has increasingly become controversial, both in western and non-western societies. This is partly because both spheres compete for supremacy in the shaping of identities, legitimation of power, and regulation of society. This course will compare examples from a range of places and periods, pre-modern and modern, to cast into perspective religious and legal debates that figure in the U.S. today. 

REL 342: Religious Intolerance in the US (Group II: Religion, History, and Society)
Prof. L. Neal, WF 9:30-10:45am – Many of us grew up singing “My country ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty…” In this course, we will investigate the truth of this claim. Throughout the semester, we will examine how religious intolerance—from hate speech to media coverage to violent acts—has been a persistent theme in the history of the United States. From 19th century persecutions of Mormons and Catholics to 20th century anti-Semitism and the proliferation of hate groups, we will study various forms of religious intolerance through an examination of both the perpetrators and the victims of intolerance.

REL 381: Zen Buddhism (Group III: World Religions)
Prof. Ford, TR 11:00am-12:15pm –“What is the sound of one hand clapping?” “Without thinking of good or evil, show me your original face before your mother and father were born.” These are examples of enigmatic Zen kōans. What is this late-blooming Buddhist tradition trying to say? What role has it played in the East Asian transformation of Buddhism? Why is this school of Buddhism so popular in the West (e.g., there are over 1500 books in print with ‘Zen’ in the title)? And how has it been misunderstood and/or misappropriated? Finally, what insight does it offer to other religious traditions and the study of religion more broadly? These are just some of the questions this course will address.

Zen (in China, Chan 禪), one of the major schools of Buddhism in East Asia, emerged out of the transmission of Indian Buddhism to China and later Japan. Although Zen claims to be the essence of the Buddha’s original teachings, no formal school of Zen ever existed in the Buddha’s homeland of India. This course explores the transformation of Buddhism in East Asia through the lens of the Zen tradition. Topics will include: the basic doctrines of Buddhism; meditation practices; the rise of Mahāyāna; the transmission of Buddhism to China; the emergence and development of Chan in China and its refinement as Zen in Japan; Zen’s radical reinterpretation of Buddhist concepts; the intersections between Zen and the arts; and the popular representations of Zen in the West. While there are no formal prerequisites, some prior exposure to Buddhism is strongly recommended.

REL 383: The Quran and the Prophet (Group III: World Religions)
Prof. Van Doorn Harder, TR 9:30-10:45am –  During this course we study the contents of the Qur’an, the various stages of the history of its revelation and how it came to function as the basis of Muslim belief, worship, and law. We look at the role of the Prophet Muhammad as the recipient and transmitter of the Qur’an’s message and what his symbolic presence as a model for all Muslims means in the spiritual life of a Muslim. We furthermore study the Qur’an’s artistic qualities and its place and role in daily Muslim life and try to gain understanding about how the various modes of its interpretation developed.

REL 385: Special Topics in South Asian Religions: Hindu Images (Group III: World Religions)
Prof. Ramachandran, TR 2:00-3:15pm – This course explores the social and political history of Hindu imagery in India, Europe, and North America from the late 18th century to the present. It investigates the production, interaction, and interpretation of discourse about Hindu imagery by Hindus and non-Hindus to demonstrate how Hindu images have been inscribed with multiple and highly contested meanings. Hindu images serve a multitude of purposes that function interdependently and independently in religious, social, political, artistic, and commercial realms. In these various instances, the use and interpretation of Hindu imagery by priests, devotees, colonizers, missionaries, orientalists, retailers, and consumers have served to shape and define Hindu identity. Using a postcolonial perspective, this course examines colonial and nationalist dynamics of power, representation, and the signification of the Hindu image.

REL 390: Religion, Culture, and the Body (Group III: World Religions)
Prof. Arthur, TR 12:30-1:45pm – Everyone lives in a physical body, which is central to our identities. This course explores the body as a multi-faceted locus of contested religious, social, cultural, philosophical, political, and scientific ideals. We utilize a comparative agenda to present and discuss a range of perspectives about the body and to help students recognize that a common core of humanity is found in our embodiment. Therefore, it is important to step out from behind theologically-determined, media-driven, and unrecognized prejudices about our bodies in order to develop understanding and tolerance for differences among people and their bodily ideals.

After developing a toolbox to discuss the body using a range of perspectives, we turn to examine many of the ways and reasons that people attempt to control and modify their bodies – through practices such as dieting, exercise, tattooing, and cosmetic surgery – in search of legitimacy, power, and perfection, and we reflect on how these goals influence our visions of ourselves. Questioning the ways in which various perspectives change one’s perceptions of the self, others, and the world, the class discussions will become key for facilitating respectful dialogue amongst differing opinions, for questioning presuppositions about the body, and to avoid taking for granted and perpetuating subtle negative presentations of body images and ideas as we continue through life and become responsible members of local and global communities.