Department of Religious Studies

R S 302 • Hist Of Religions Of Asia-Wb

41765 • Freiberger, Oliver
Meets F 9:00AM-10:00AM • Internet
GC (also listed as ANS 301R, CTI 306D)
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This course offers a survey of major religious traditions of Asia (Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism). It focuses on the historical development of their beliefs, practices, rituals, and customs in their social contexts. The course will combine lectures with class discussions on readings. At the end of the semester, students will have a basic knowledge of the beliefs and practices of those religious traditions, have read important religious texts and discussed issues pertinent to the religions’ adherents, and have a more refined sense of how the category “religion” may be applied. All this enables students to develop a greater awareness of global cultural diversity and will, hopefully, spark the desire to study some of those religions more deeply.



R S 304 • Judaism, Christianty, Islam-Wb

41769 • Smith, Geoffrey
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM • Internet
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This course asks students to recognize the ethical implications of the ways we talk about religion – both our own religion (if any) and those of others. Choosing definitions for religion is an ethical choice with social, political, and civic implications; the goal of this course is to assist students in becoming self-conscious about that choice. In so doing, students will improve their ability to tolerate and reduce moral disagreements about religious beliefs and practices, something that is at the heart of practical ethics education. Specifically, the ethical issues in this course encourage students to: • reflect on different definitions of religion, to choose which ones appeal to them, and to explore their implications • analyze the ways in which religions form “communities of memory,” to consider in what ways these communities create boundaries that both enclose and exclude • understand the different ways that religions have historically intersected with with politics, with science, and with culture •consider how these intersections might influence the students’ perceptions of religion and the ways in which religion is presented in contemporary media and popular culture.


R S 306D • Roots Religious Toleration-Wb

41770 • Bodian, Marion
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM • Internet
(also listed as HIS 309J, J S 311C)
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Religious intolerance seems to be endemic in human societies. It takes different forms, ranging from subtle discrimination to mass violence. There are times when it is less intense than at others. As a social phenomenon, there seems little chance that it can ever be eliminated. 


But historically, political and legal structures have been developed that have ensured a high degree of freedom for religious minorities. These structures have been built gradually and with great effort. They have very particular roots in early modern Europe (sixteenth to eighteenth centuries). In this course we will try to understand in historical perspective how this happened, as well as the impact of this development on contemporary thinking. 


To understand the extraordinary struggles of the early modern period, we’ll first have to understand the basic position and practices of the western Church toward heretics and non-believers as they were formulated in the first few centuries CE and as they were elaborated in the medieval period. We will then turn to the events and changed perspectives of the Reformation period. Finally, we will analyze the range of theoretical ideas about religious toleration proposed by European thinkers, and consider their practical implications. We’ll conclude with some reflections on the persistent problems that have arisen and still arise in the effort to achieve religious toleration, including recent issues particular to the multiculturalism experiment. 


The course, then, has a three-part structure:


Part 1: A survey of the late antique and medieval European background;

Part 2: A look at how new conditions in the Reformation period encouraged the emergence of ideas of religious toleration;

Part 3: A study of a variety of theoretical positions – then and (briefly) now.


You will take an exam after the first two segments of the course (together, 50% of the grade), and a final exam (30%). In addition, you will write a 3-5 page exercise (10%), and attendance and participation will be evaluated (10%).

R S 310 • Intro To The Study Of Relig-Wb

41775 • Seales, Chad
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Course Description:

This course is an introduction to the study of the forms, functions, and meanings of religious practices as observed in human cultures. Surveying classical and contemporary approaches, we will examine how scholars have historically defined religion as an interpretive category. It will quickly become clear that few scholars agree on a definition or on a best method for study. This course will encourage you to define your subject of study and construct your own methods of theoretical analysis. To help you with this task, we will work together on specific case studies of religious practices in particular places.

Course Goals:

By the end of this course, students should be able to write an informed definition of religion and articulate a reasonably clear objective for the study of religion; students should be able to distinguish three approaches to the study of religion, critically engage one of those approaches, and use that approach over the course of the semester to interpret case studies and thematic examples of religious experience.


None. This course assumes no prior knowledge of the subject.

R S 313C • Intro To The Old Testament

41794 • Pat-El, Na
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM PAR 1
GC (also listed as J S 311, MES 310C)
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R S 313D • Intro To Jewish Studies

41795 • Weinreb, Amelia
Meets MW 12:00PM-1:00PM RLP 0.112 • Hybrid/Blended
EGC (also listed as ANT 311D, J S 301, MES 310)
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A hybrid two-way interactive course with a combination of classroom lectures and live-streamed discussions

Course Description

This survey course aims to expose students to major themes in Jewish Studies through guest lectures by UT faculty who work in the field. It is recommended for motivated undergraduates in any discipline with an intellectual curiosity about Jewish Studies, but requires no previous knowledge of Jewish religion, ethnicity, or culture. The material in the course is not designed be comprehensive, but rather provides a curated sample of lectures and core topics. This semester, the course is organized around three thematic units: 1) Exile and Diaspora, 2) Jewish Identity, and 3) Jewish Ethics.

The weekly rhythm of the course is generally as follows: On Mondays and Wednesdays, various faculty associated with Jewish Studies will visit the classroom and deliver lectures concentrating on their period, geographical area, and field of research as they relate to the thematic unit at hand. Fridays are a series of lively, fast-paced, interactive meetings, led by students. Students are encouraged to consider course materials comparatively, in view of both their distinct features and their overarching threads, and defend positions through evidence based both on lectures and the course reader. Student discussion leaders, designated in advance, will raise questions, stimulate debate, and integrate ideas into our collective analysis.

R S 313M • Jewish Civ: Begin To 1492

41800 • Schofer, Jonathan
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM BUR 220
GC (also listed as HIS 306N, J S 304M, MES 310)
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This course is a survey of Jewish civilization from the origins of Ancient Israel to 1500 C.E.  All materials are in English translation. The course will address both the history of Jews during this long period, and the most influential writings produced during that time.  There will be some focus on the persons and writings that have been most influential for Jewish Civilization over time, including influence in the modern world.  This course is the first half of a two-semester sequence, and another course taught regularly in Spring semester addresses Jewish Civilization from 1492 to the present.


The course will be organized according to an overarching thematic image of “Crisis and Response.”  Jewish Civilization over the time period we study, from origins in the later part of the second millennium B.C.E., to the end of the 15th century C.E., encountered key crises including a memory of enslavement in its sacred sources, the need for sovereignty, the loss of sovereignty and a state of exile, and then continued existence only within larger empires for over two millennia.  Responses to these crises were varied. 

In early legends, centuries of slavery were followed by liberation as The Exodus and the establishment of covenantal law (addressed in Unit 1). 

Later, the need for sovereignty brought the establishment of monarchy and centralized worship at a temple by the kings David and Solomon, and then a continuous period of sovereignty for over four centuries.  This sovereignty ended in 587 B.C.E. and this change initiated the need for continued existence in exile in Persian and Hellenistic polities (addressed in Unit 2). 

The first century C.E. brought a new crisis with the end of Temple worship due to Roman conquest, and then the most enduring and productive response for Jewish Civilization was the legal and other innovations of Classical Rabbinic Judaism (addressed in Unit 3). 

In the Middle Ages, the rise of Christian and Muslim empires brought new contexts for Jewish communities, but also new degrees of persecution, and these crises were intimately connected with responses in intellectual and religious life, including the development of philosophy and the mysticism of Kabbalah (addressed in Unit 4).  



  1. Three short papers, 2 pages each; each 15% of the course grade (45% total)
  2. Midterm exam, closed-book, in-class (20%)
  3. Final Exam, closed book, in-class; location, time, and date are set by the Registrar (20%)
  4. Class Participation (15%)


Required Books (available at the University Co-Op Bookstore):

Alexander, ed., Textual Sources for the Study of Judaism

Jewish Publication Society (JTS), TaNaKh: The Holy Scriptures

Robert Seltzer, Jewish People, Jewish Thought

R S 314K • Mid East: Rel/Cul/Hist Fnd-Wb

41805 • Spellberg, Denise
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM • Internet
GC (also listed as MES 301K)
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This course surveys the history of the Middle East from the rise of Islam to the end of the fifteenth century. Students will be introduced to basic aspects of the political, social, and cultural dimensions of Islamic civilization from Spain to Iran as they changed over time. In the midst of mapping this broad view, we will focus our attention on how specific historical figures and events contributed to definitions of Islamic identity, community, and authority. Central themes include the emergence of Sunni and Shi`i identities, the relationship of Muslims and non-Muslims, and the unique material and intellectual contributions of Islamic civilization to world history and other societies.

Texts include:
Amira Bennison, The Great Caliphs.
Jonathan A. C. Brown, Muhammad: A Very Short Introduction
Vernon O. Egger, A History of the Muslim World to 1750, 2nd edition
John Alden Williams, ed., The Word of Islam
Selections of primary documents in translation online on CANVAS
Selections from additional books online on CANVAS

4 essay exams, quizzes, and take-home exercises/questions

R S 315C • The Bible/Its Interpreters

41830 • Bjoeru, Oeyvind
Meets MWF 3:00PM-4:00PM JGB 2.216
GCWr (also listed as CTI 304)
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It has been called “the greatest story ever told”. The Bible springs out of traditions, literature, and momentous events in the Ancient Near East and Greco-Roman world of the first millennium BCE, but in turn, the Bible has also spawned a vast body of interpretative and literary texts that keeps on growing to this day. In this section of “The Bible and its Interpreters” we will examine the stories, traditions, and events that shaped the biblical text, as well as the reverberations it has had throughout the past two millennia. We will look at how the myths of Mesopotamia, and the experience of the Israelites/Judaeans as a people wedged in between the mighty empires of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Macedon, Persia, and Rome shaped the Bible. We will also trace how the Bible as text and tradition has been interpreted to influence legal codes, religious traditions, art and literature all the way up to the present, including the Mishna and Quran in the first millennium CE, the medieval poetry of Hildegard of Bingen and Dante Alighieri, and modern authors such as Dostoevsky and Saramago. The formative texts of the distant past meet the creative burst of modernity as we discuss scripture, literature, rhetoric, authority, and art as it pertains to the Bible, its history, and its impact on the world around us.

R S 315C • The Bible/Its Interpreters

41810 • Jones, Joshua
Meets TTH 8:00AM-9:30AM PAR 301
GCWr (also listed as CTI 304)
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What, according to the Bible, is required of us? What is our response to the deity? What is our
place in the cosmos? With these questions in mind, this course seeks to cultivate both an
understanding of the Hebrew Bible (the Christian Old Testament) and the New Testament and
how biblical writers and subsequent interpreters grappled with notions of divine command and
human obligation. We pursue this aim through close readings of the biblical texts themselves and
the reception of biblical figures, themes, and ideas among its many interpreters. We begin by
examining the historical sense of the Hebrew Bible as a product of the ancient Near East. We will
then examine the practice of biblical interpretation among the competing Jewish ideologies at the
turn of the Common Era, out of which emerged the early Christians and their writings. The later
part of the course will highlight some of the major Jewish and Christian interpreters of the Bible
in the pre-modern and modern periods and how, through their own view of “scripturalism”, these
interpreters understood and formulated responses to questions of human nature, humanity’s
relationship to the supernatural, and the meaning of life.

R S 315C • The Bible/Its Interpreters

41815 • Yoo, Philip
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM RLP 1.104
GCWr (also listed as CTI 304)
show description

What, according to the Bible, is required of us? What is our response to the deity? What is our place in the cosmos? With these questions in mind, this course seeks to cultivate both an understanding of the Hebrew Bible (the Christian Old Testament) and the New Testament and how biblical writers and subsequent interpreters grappled with notions of divine command and human obligation. We pursue this aim through close readings of the biblical texts themselves and the reception of biblical figures, themes, and ideas among its many interpreters. We begin by examining the historical sense of the Hebrew Bible as a product of the ancient Near East. We will then examine the practice of biblical interpretation among the competing Jewish ideologies at the turn of the Common Era, out of which emerged the early Christians and their writings. The later part of the course will highlight some of the major Jewish and Christian interpreters of the Bible in the pre-modern and modern periods and how, through their own view of “scripturalism”, these interpreters understood and formulated responses to questions of human nature, humanity’s relationship to the supernatural, and the meaning of life.

R S 315C • The Bible/Its Interpreters

41820 • Yoo, Philip
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM BUR 212
GCWr (also listed as CTI 304)
show description

What, according to the Bible, is required of us? What is our response to the deity? What is our place in the cosmos? With these questions in mind, this course seeks to cultivate both an understanding of the Hebrew Bible (the Christian Old Testament) and the New Testament and how biblical writers and subsequent interpreters grappled with notions of divine command and human obligation. We pursue this aim through close readings of the biblical texts themselves and the reception of biblical figures, themes, and ideas among its many interpreters. We begin by examining the historical sense of the Hebrew Bible as a product of the ancient Near East. We will then examine the practice of biblical interpretation among the competing Jewish ideologies at the turn of the Common Era, out of which emerged the early Christians and their writings. The later part of the course will highlight some of the major Jewish and Christian interpreters of the Bible in the pre-modern and modern periods and how, through their own view of “scripturalism”, these interpreters understood and formulated responses to questions of human nature, humanity’s relationship to the supernatural, and the meaning of life.

R S 315C • The Bible/Its Interpreters

41825 • Schofer, Jonathan
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BUR 130
GCWr (also listed as CTI 304)
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THE BIBLE AND ITS INTERPRETERS examines the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament, the New Testament, and their significance over time.  This particular course will focus on the emergence of three longstanding religious traditions (Judaism, Catholic Christianity as well as Protestant Christianity, and Islam) through the interpretation of sacred and foundational writings. 

We will begin by examining the transmission and development of scriptural themes within Ancient Israel, identifying within the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament variations or re-tellings of common scenes, prophetic visions, and religious practices. 

We will then examine the New Testament as interpreting and transforming the Old Testament to provide foundations for Christianity, with emphasis on Paul’s letters as well as elements of the Gospels. 

The later part of the course will highlight four later sets of writings that emphasize four trajectories of interpretation and innovation: the rabbinic anthology The Fathers According to Rabbi Nathan for Judaism, the church Father Augustine’s Confessions for Catholic Christianity, the Koran for Islam, and writings of Martin Luther for Protestant Christianity.  In each case we will emphasize the expansion and transformation of biblical sources in setting the course for each religion.



1) Attendance, careful preparation of assigned readings, and participation in class discussions are considered to be basic requirements the course.  Please bring relevant books to course each session, as class lectures and discussions will regularly make reference to specific passages and pages in the assigned readings: 15% of course grade

2) First paper, 4 pages:  20% of course grade

3) Second paper, 4 pages: 20% of course grade (

4) Rewrite of First or Second Paper: 20% of course grade

5) Third Paper, 4 pages: 25% of course grade


Required Books:

(available at the University Co-Op Bookstore)

The Oxford Study Bible: Revised English Bible with Apocrypha (Oxford University Press, edited by Suggs, Sakenfeld, and Mueller)

Saint Augustine, The Confessions (Penguin Classics, trans. Gary Wills)

The Fathers According to Rabbi Nathan (Yale Judaica Series, trans. Judah Goldin)

The Koran (Penguin Classics, trans. N. J. Dawood)

Martin Luther: The Ninety-Five Theses and Other Writings (Penguin Classics, trans. William Russell)

R S 315K • Russian Icons/Propaganda-Wb

41835 • Roberts, Jason
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM • Internet
GC (also listed as REE 302D)
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“Russian Icons & Propaganda” is a course about signs, symbols, and the contexts that give them meaning. The particular types of signs and symbols that we explore in this lower division course are religious iconography and political propaganda. Our exploration involves many of the sites where these images are found (e.g. cathedrals, public spaces, private homes, etc.) and many of the various media in which they occur (e.g. paintings, posters, sculpture, television, film, etc.). While it would certainly be possible to study them separately, the two sets of symbols that we examine in this course share a context that allows us to consider them together: Russia. Without a context, symbols are just pictures – maybe not even that! Within a context, however, they function in many of the same ways that language does. Signs and symbols convey meaning, and as with language, the more developed the system, the more information it is possible for them to convey. The “languages” of Russian icons and of propaganda are quite developed and very much alive. Moreover, the amount of overlap between them may seem surprising… but it shouldn’t. The reason for this is that the imagery – the “language” – of Russian propaganda often borrowed from the already existing symbolism of Russian religious iconography. And while the signs and symbols of Russian propaganda have since developed along their own paths, they still have much in common. To a certain extent, to understand one of these symbolic systems is to understand them both.


  • Bonnell, Victoria E. Iconography of Power: Soviet Political Posters under Lenin and Stalin.
    Berkeley [u.a.: Univ. of California Press, 2007.
  • Hall, Stuart, Jessica Evans, and Sean Nixon. Representation: Edited by Stuart Hall, Jessie Evans and Sean Nixon. London: Sage Publications, 2013.
  • Stanley, Jason. How Propaganda Works. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017.
  • Tarasov, O I. U, and R R. Milner-Gulland. Icon and Devotion: Sacred Spaces in Imperial Russia.
    London: Reaktion Books, 2014.


  • 4 short mid-unit online quizzes 5% each
  • 4 unit tests 15% each
  • Group project proposal 5%
  • Peer evaluations of group projects 5%
  • Final group project 10%

R S 315N • Intro To The New Testament

41845 • Leach, Nathan
Meets F 10:00AM-11:00AM WAG 420 • Hybrid/Blended
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This course focuses on some of the most influential religious texts in human history the 27 texts that were included in the New Testament. In addition, we will also read several other ancient texts that did not make it into the Christian Bible. During the semester we will explore the content of these texts, theories about how they were produced, methods used by scholars to interpret them, and conclusions that specialists reach about their significance. In the process, students will also have a chance to reflect on the general nature of human religiosity.

R S 315N • Intro To The New Testament-Wb

41840 • Landau, Brent
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM • Internet
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This course focuses on some of the most influential religious texts in human history the 27 texts that were included in the New Testament. In addition, we will also read several other ancient texts that did not make it into the Christian Bible. During the semester we will explore the content of these texts, theories about how they were produced, methods used by scholars to interpret them, and conclusions that specialists reach about their significance. In the process, students will also have a chance to reflect on the general nature of human religiosity.

R S 317N • Intro Modern North Africa-Wb

41850 • Brower, Benjamin
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM • Internet
GC (also listed as MES 310N)
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This course presents the major themes of North African history from the sixteenth century to today. North African history intersects several fields of study (European, African, and Middle Eastern studies) and Muslims, Christians, and Jews have made their homes here, marking the region with multi-religious and multi-linguistic traditions. Looking in particular at that part of North Africa known in Arabic as the Maghrib (today’s Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Mauritania), the course begins in the early modern Mediterranean period.  At this time, merchants and privateers linked Europe and the Middle East from the Maghreb's ports, and in the interior, caravans of scholars and slaves linked the region to sub-Saharan Africa. Our attention then moves into to the period of European ascendency, when France in particular established itself as the preeminent power in North Africa, beginning with the invasion of Algeria in 1830 and culminating in the 1912 French protectorate in Morocco.  The period of European colonial rule came to an end in the decades after the Second World War, and the course concludes with the challenges faced by post-colonial states during the Cold War and the rise of Islamist political opposition movements in the 1990s.

1.     Mercedes Garcia-Arenal, A Man of Three Worlds: Samuel Pallache, a Moroccan Jew in Catholic and Protestant Europe (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007) ISBN: 0801886236
2.     Assia Djebar, Fantasia: An Algerian Cavalcade (Heinemann, 1993) ISBN: 1583225161
3.     Albert Memmi, The Colonizer and the Colonized (Beacon Press, 1991) ISBN: 0435086219
4.     Malika Mokkadem, Of Dreams and Assassins (University of Virginia Press, 2000)
5.     Phillip C. Naylor, North Africa: A History from Antiquity to the Present (University of Texas Press, 2010) ISBN: 0292722915
6.     Muhammad as-Saffar, Disorienting Encounters: Travels of a Moroccan Scholar in France in 1845-1846 (University of California Press, 1992) ISBN: 0520074629

·  Exams: There will be one midterm and a comprehensive final exam.  These exams will consist of analytical ID’s and essays.  A list of potential ID’s and questions will be distributed to prepare for the exams.  SEE CLASS SCHEDULE FOR DATES.
·  Short response papers: you will write three brief papers on the in class readings. You can choose to write on any three of the four primary-source books (i.e. Djebar, Memmi, Mokkadem, as-Saffar). You will summarize and analyze how each reflects and challenges the themes of North African history. Length: 2-3 pp., double-spaced, 12 pnt. font. Proofread carefully: correct use of language is expected and will figure in grading. Due dates: in the class meeting scheduled for discussion of each book.

Midterm                      25%                
Final Exam                  35%
Writing                        25%
Participation               15%
Plus/Minus grading will be used for all grading in this course.  The grade scale is as follows:
100-93% = A; 92-90% = A- ; 89-87% = B+ ; 86-83% = B ; 82-80% = B- ; 79-77% = C+ ; 76-73% = C ; 72-70% = C- ; 69-67% = D+ ; 66-63% = D ; 62-60% = D- ; below 60% = F.

R S 319 • Introduction To Islam-Wb

41855 • Aghaie, Kamran
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM • Internet
GC (also listed as ANS 301M, HIS 306N, ISL 310)
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Please check back for updates.

R S 337 • Religion And Society

41860 • Young, Michael
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM JGB 2.324
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Please check back for updates.

R S 341F • Jainism: Rlgn Non-Violence-Wb

41865 • Maes, Claire
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM • Internet
GC (also listed as ANS 340J)
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With its emphasis on vegetarianism, its modern discourse on ecology and its regard for all life-forms, Jainism is commonly and justly known as the religion of non-violence. Having its historical origins in North India about 25OO years ago, Jainism is an ancient but thriving religion. It has a distinctive community of both male and female ascetics and a supporting community of laypeople. Jainism’s unique theory of karma, ethics of non-violence (ahimsa), and its multisided approach (anekantavada) to truth and reality have influenced in some way or other all major religions and orthodox philosophical traditions in India.

This course will introduce students to this fascinating religion by examining its history, doctrines, philosophical tenets and religious practices. Students will learn about Jainism’s dynamic contribution to the religious and cultural heritage of South Asia. Readings will be drawn from primary sources, contemporary Jain writings and secondary scholarly literature. In the second part of the course, we will move on to a thematic discussion of Jainism. Themes will center on gendered experience of religion, devotion and divinity, the relationship between laypeople and monastics, pilgrimage and festivals, Jain views on life and death, its ethics of non-violence and its modern discourse on ecology. This thematic approach will encourage students to engage with these various themes from the perspectives of their own background and interests. Each student will write a research paper and give a class presentation on a topic of her or his choice.

R S 341U • Devotional Literature Of India

41875 • Rajpurohit, Dalpat
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM PAR 201
GC (also listed as ANS 340U)
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In this course we will discuss the songs of major saints and their role in shaping the religious communities of India. Bhakti (or Devotion)–which is passionate love towards god–is very much a part of the religious lives of Indians and their popular culture. Bhakti is often thought to be a movement against restrictive social and scriptural norms. Looking critically at the idea of this so called “Bhakti movement”–that is understood as a force binding the south to the north, together with other parts of India–we will read and compare devotional songs from different geographical and linguistic regions of India from the 9th to 18th century. These include: Kabīr, Tulsīdās and Sūrdās (from the northern side of India), Mīrā (Rajasthan), Narsiṁha Mehtā (Gujarat), Tukārām (Maharashtra), Nānak (Punjab), Rāmprasād (Bengal) and Āṇṭāl from Tamil Nadu. The list is not exhaustive, but these selections will give us a good introduction to how holy men and women expressed their religiosity through the medium of songs and poetry over the centuries. All these works will be studied in translations. 

R S 346D • Native American Religions

41880 • Graber, Jennifer
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM BUR 134
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Before European colonization, the North American continent featured myriad Indian nations practicing many different religious traditions and ceremonies. In this course, we will examine the religious traditions of several American Indian groups: the Pueblos of the American Southwest, the Wendats of the eastern Woodlands, and the Lakotas of the Plains. We will look at the myths and rituals that composed these nations’ religious identities. We will then examine the ways that contact with Europeans affected their religious beliefs and practices. In turn, we will study how Native American communities have transformed old practices and fashioned new ones since those initial contacts. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to see the diversity among American Indian groups and the way in which religious ideas and practices serve living, changing communities of people. 


  • Marmon Silko, Ceremony
  • Martin, The Land Looks After Us: A History of Native American Religion
  • Neihardt, Black Elk Speaks
  • Seeman, The Huron-Wendat Feast of the Dead


  • Papers – 40%
  • Exams – 30%
  • Participation – 10%
  • Final project – 20%

R S 346E • Religion And Film-Wb

41885 • Seales, Chad
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This course surveys representations of religious beliefs, practices, persons, and institutions in popular film.  Focusing on the media consumption of box office movies in the United States, we will examine how religion is imagined in film and how that religious imagination relates to social constructions of national, ethnic, racial, gender, and sexual identities.  Although we will briefly address some of the technical aspects of film production, our primary concern will be to interpret the ways in which films portray religion against the backdrop of American history. We will use the vehicle of the silver screen to reflect on how a shared religious imagination has shaped the way we understand ourselves as Americans.  By the end of this course, students should be able to think, discuss, and write critically about film from a religious studies perspective.  Students should be able to identify a range of religious traditions as depicted in film, compare and contrast those depictions, and situate them within a larger narrative of American religious history. 



Attendance/Participation 15%
Reading Response Journal 25%
Short Essays 25%
Final Essay 35%


Films on Reserve.
Readings posted on Blackboard

R S 346P • Religion In Amer Pol Thought

41895 • Budziszewski, J
Meets MW 4:00PM-5:30PM WAG 201
Wr (also listed as GOV 335C)
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Explore religion and politics in the United States through reading of mostly primary sources addressing religious arguments taking positions on historical and contemporary issues.

R S 346U • History Of Islam In The US-Wb

41900 • Spellberg, Denise
Meets W 3:00PM-6:00PM • Internet
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This course is intended to do three things: provide a brief introduction to Islam for those unfamiliar with the religion and its early history; define the role of Islam and early American views of Muslims in the founding history of this country; and introduce students to major issues concerning contemporary American Muslims. The course surveys the presence of Islam in the United States from the colonial era to the twenty-first century through the use of historical documents and contemporary media, with a special focus on the politics of religion and race.  
The course is divided into three sections. The first explores the origins of Islam through primary textual examples. The second section focuses on early American views of Islam in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with an emphasis on the earliest Muslims in the United States. The final section of the course analyzes the diversity of the contemporary American Muslim population, together with the politics surrounding notions of race, gender, immigration, and citizenship. Special emphasis placed on the challenges faced by young American Muslims in the twenty-first century. The course interrogates the question of whether one can be both American and Muslim in the 21st-century U.S
Objectives and Academic Flags
This course may be used to fulfill three hours of the U.S. history component of the university core curriculum. The course carries 3 University-approved “Flags”: Cultural Diversity (CD), Independent Inquiry (II), and Writing (WR). The aim of courses with a CD flag is to “increase your familiarity with the variety and richness of American cultural experience as it applies to marginalized communities, their history, beliefs, and practices.” The course is designated also as a Writing Flag, which features assignments designed to improve written communication. The Independent Inquiry Flag focuses on communication skills, critical thinking skills, personal responsibility, and social responsibility.   

Required Readings include:
Moustafa Bayoumi, How Does It Feel To Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America (2008). Jonathan Brown, Muhammad: A Very Short Introduction (2011)
Edward E. Curtis, IV, Muslims in America: A Short History (2009)
Kambiz GhaneaBassiri, A History of Islam in America (2010)
Shabana Mir, Muslim American Women on Campus: Undergraduate Social Life and Identity (2014).
 Other reading selections posted on Canvas.

Attendance Required: Class participation -unexcused absences result in deduction of points from the final grade.
Quiz 10%
First Essay 20%
Second Essay 20%
Biography final version 20%
Oral presentation 10%
Final Essay 20%

R S 357J • North Renais Art 1350-1500-Wb

41915 • Smith, Jeffrey
Meets MW 8:30AM-10:00AM • Internet
show description

Please check back for updates.

R S 358K • Islamic Law-Wb

41930 • Ayoub, Samy
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM • Internet
GC (also listed as ISL 340, MEL 321, MES 342, WGS 340)
show description

This course will serve as a survey of central aspects of Islamic law from its origins to modern times. It introduces students to several classical Islamic legal texts in translation and devotes special attention to topics in Muslim devotional, family, and criminal law. We conclude with an investigation of the modern topics of personal status laws and the relevance of Islamic law today in the American context. Some knowledge of Islam is expected of students enrolling in this class, although there are no specific course requirements.

R S 358T • Sacred/Ceremonial Textiles-Wb

41933 • Shirazi, Faegheh
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM • Internet
show description

Sacred and Ceremonial Textiles:

A Study of Various Rites of Passage

& Cultural Objects in Muslim Societies

Fall 2020


Instructor: Professor Faegheh Shirazi

Office Location: Calhoun Hall # 502

Email Address:

Office hours: MW 10:15-10:45. And 12:0-12:45, Or by appointment

Course Description:

From the birth to death textiles, clothing, and other material culture affects our daily lives. The communicative power of textiles and other types of material objects reflects both the everyday and ceremonial lives of people in a society. Although this course focuses on textiles and material objects indigenous to the Islamic world, some examples of non-Muslim communities will be included to draw a comparison. An attempt will be made to shed light on the culture of various Islamic societies. The study of the social and historical background of a community is essential for the interpretation of meanings and symbolism associated with textiles and other elements of material objects. Such a study will be combined in the course with topics like ceremonial gatherings; ceremonial textiles; adornment (jewelry, tattoos, body painting); body modifications (piercing and body-reshaping); and the role of material objects in public and private celebrations. One of the areas which material objects represent relates to practices of rituals, taboos, and rotes of passage in the societies, which can be traced to the pre-Islamic era. Muslim communities in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East will be the primary focus of the course, and an attempt will be made to trace the common origins of ritual practices and their representation as a result to of diffusion and contact with other regional practices. Course presentations will be supported by videos, slide show and various material objects.

Prerequisite:  Upper Division Standing


Requirements:  Regular class attendance, active class participation, in class presentations, and contribution to class discussions, two in class exams, and 3 quizzes.


Attendance Policy: Attendance is mandatory and counts towards student’s final grade. Undocumented absence will affect the attendance grade.


Texts and Readings:  Reader Packet (Available at: Jenn’s Copy and Binding) 218 Guadalupe -512-4820779


Attendance                                                                                    5%

Active Participation, and in class article presentation            5%     

One article  summary & presentation                                          10%

3 Quizzes (Lowest will be dropped)                                            20%

First Exam                                                                                   30%                       

Second Exam 

R S 365 • The Book Of Job

41945 • Yoo, Philip
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM GAR 0.132
show description

Please check back for updates.

R S 368C • When Christ Was King-Wb

41950 • Butler, Matthew
Meets W 3:00PM-6:00PM • Internet
II (also listed as HIS 347P, LAS 366)
show description

This seminar focuses on the history of Catholicism in twentieth-century Mexico, often seen as Latin America’s most “Catholic” nation. Chronologically, the course runs approximately from the Revolution of 1910 to the constitutional reforms of the 1990s that restored the Church’s legal standing in Mexico. Conceptually, the seminar will explore both the political and institutional aspects of Catholicism; at the same time, however, we will stress that the Church is a diverse community of believers that is actively engaged in interpreting and transforming the social world on religious lines. Individual seminar topics will include Catholic responses to economic modernisation and the postrevolutionary persecutions of the 1920s and 1930s; the Church’s role both in underpinning and undermining the one-party (PRI) state of the post-1940 period; Catholicism’s contribution (via guadalupanismo) to the creation of a Mexican national identity; the role played by Liberation Theology in driving the neo-Zapatista revolt in the southern state of Chiapas; and Church responses to democratic reform and the onset of religious pluralism. As well as discussing secondary readings, students will analyse a number of significant primary documents in class and also complete a final project using primary documents.

Class reader
Matthew Butler, Popular Piety and Political Identity in Mexico’s Cristero Rebellion: Michoacán, 1927-1929 (2004)
Jason Dormady, Primitive Revolution: Restorationist Religion and the Idea of the Mexican Revolution, 1940-1968 (2011)

In-class participation (20%)
Reading reviews (x4 @ 10%) = 40%
Research for final paper (10%)
Final paper (30%)

R S 373D • History Of Christmas-Wb

41955 • Landau, Brent
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM • Internet
show description

This course will explore the evolution of the modern Christmas holiday, beginning with the birth stories of Jesus in the New Testament and concluding with the supposed “War on Christmas,” which some recent commentators believe has sought to remove the Christian religious roots of the holiday. Topics to be addressed include: non-Christian antecedents to and influences on Christmas; canonical and apocryphal stories about Jesus’ birth and childhood; the designation of Christmas on Dec. 25th in the fourth century; the raucous and subversive character of Christmas celebrations in the medieval and early modern periods; the sharp criticism of Christmas by the Puritans; the fixing of the current American version of Christmas in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century; the contemporary debate over the constitutionality of religious Christmas displays in public places.

R S 373G • Goddesses World Relig/Cul

41960 • Selby, Martha
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM WEL 3.502
GC (also listed as ANS 340F, ANT 322J, WGS 340)
show description

This course will provide a historical and cross-cultural overview of the relationship between feminine and religious cultural expressions through comparative examinations and analyses of various goddess figures in world religions.  We will begin our study in Asia; specifically in India, where goddess worship is a vital part of contemporary Hinduism in all parts of the subcontinent.  From the goddesses of the Hindu tradition (K?l? and Laks?m?, for example), we will move on to female figures in the Buddhist Mah?y?na pantheon (such as Kuan-Yin, popular in China, Korea, and Japan), and then on to some of the goddesses of western antiquity (Inanna, Isis, Athena, Aphrodite, and Mary in her aspects as mother and intercessor).  We will end the course with a study of contemporary goddess worship in the United States as an important expression of Neo-Paganism.  Issues relating to gender, sexuality, power, and violence (domestic and political) will be emphasized as themes throughout the course.

R S 373L • Science/Magic/Religion-Wb

41965 • Crosson, Jonathan
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM • Internet
show description

In this course, we will interrogate the concepts of magic, science, and religion as culturally and historically constructed categories. We will critically examine how the construction of science and religion, as well as the opposition of empirical knowledge and belief, were central to both the Enlightenment and the formation of the social and natural sciences. Drawing on recent critiques of these foundational distinctions, we will question common-sense understandings of these categories and their relations:

• How did the experimental sciences emerge out practices of “natural magic,” hermeticism, or evidence law?
• How do our notions of religion reflect certain assumptions? What are other ways of categorizing practices we might deem as religion?
• How have the divisions between science, magic and religion, or between rationality and superstition, undergirded projects of modernity, colonization, and development?

R S 373M • Biomedicine, Ethics, & Cul-Wb

41970 • Traphagan, John
show description

This course examines moral dilemmas that have been generated or intensified by recent advances in medical technology. We will explore ethical questions related to topics such as allocation of medical resources, stem cell research and cloning, organ transplantation, abortion, human experimentation, genetic screening, in vitro fertilization, pharmaceutical use and distribution, prolonging life and the right to die, suicide, euthanasia, and diagnosis and treatment of illnesses such as Alzheimer disease, AIDS, and mental disorders. These topics will be considered from a global perspective emphasizing how cultural values inform ethical decision-making and how different ethical/cultural systems address and define moral issues that arise in relation to medical care. We will consider ethical theories that have been used in the West to consider medical practice and compare these with approaches in non-Western cultures such as Japan. The course will emphasize use of case studies to explore issues in medical ethics and to develop the ability to apply ethical theories in ways sensitive to variations in cultural values.

R S 375S • Comparing Religions-Wb

41975 • Freiberger, Oliver
Meets W 4:00PM-7:00PM • Internet
GCIIWr (also listed as ANS 379)
show description

Comparing religions is nothing new. Religious people have always compared their beliefs and practices with those of their neighbors, sometimes with a sincere religious interest, sometimes only to claim the superiority of their own religion. When the academic discipline of Religious Studies was established in the late 19th century, scholars sought to compare without favoring a particular religious tradition. They were struck by the fact that the religions of the world seemed to have similar – or completely different – answers to the same existential questions. Some religious expressions (beliefs, practices, literature, art, institutions, etc.) appeared drastically different and others strikingly similar. Some scholars wondered if comparing religions would reveal a common sacred truth that underlay all the diverse forms of religious phenomena, while others warned that assuming such a religious essence was not an analytical but rather a religious assertion. Critics of comparison say that by alleging analogies in other cultures Western scholars impose their own concepts on those cultures, while comparativists insist that because all scholarly categories are comparative, comparison is indispensable. Analyzing those debates, this course will explore the risks and benefits of comparison in the study of religion. We will discuss and evaluate potential goals of a comparative study and develop ways in which it may be conducted both responsibly and productively. Numerous examples from Asian and other religions will enrich the discussions. During the course of the semester, students will also develop individual comparative projects.

Readings: Course packet

Attendance/participation: 25%
Reading responses: 20%
Oral presentation: 10%
Research project: 45%

R S 383C • Nonhuman Agency-Wb

41985 • Crosson, Jonathan
Meets TH 3:00PM-6:00PM • Internet
(also listed as ANT 391, LAS 391)
show description

According to Webb Keane, colonial Christian missionaries were preoccupied with the agency of non-human entities.  While they saw the agency of spirits, animals or objects as the improper or false beliefs of non-Christian others, the very practices of the missionaries’ own modern European culture were haunted by the language of fetishism and animism.  While these terms were invented by Western scholars to describe the beliefs of colonial others, they were also used to characterize capitalism and bourgeois subjectivity by some of the key theorists of modern Europe.While examining how the categories of animism and fetishism were deferrals of peculiarly Western social tensions onto colonial others, we will also examine “animism” and the agency of objects on their own terms.  What are the implications of assuming that material objects or non-human animals are subjects with the ability to intervene in social worlds?  We will focus on Siberian shamanism and hunting, Marxist and Freudian conceptions of the fetish, Afro-Cuban ngangas and the category of animism in Indonesia to answer these questions.


Eduardo Viveiros de Castro.  The Inconstancy of the Indian Soul:  The Encounter of Catholics and Cannibals in 16-century Brazil (Chicago:  Prickly Paradigm Press, 2011)

Todd Ramón Ochoa.  Society of the Dead:  Quita Manaquita and Palo Praise in Cuba (Berkeley:  University of California Press, 2010)

Rane Willersle.  Soul Hunters:  Hunting, Animism, and Personhood Among the Siberian Yukaghirs (Berkeley:  University of California Press, 2007)

Webb Keane.  Christian Moderns:  Freedom and Fetish in the Mission Encounter (Berkeley:  University of California Press, 2007)

Bruno Latour.  On the Modern Cult of the Factish Gods.  (Durham, NC:  Duke University  Press, 2010)

R S 383M • Thry/Meth In Study Of Relig-Wb

41990 • Moin, A
Meets T 2:00PM-5:00PM • Internet
show description

This seminar introduces graduate students to the field by considering the history of theories and methods in the study of religion. We concentrate on three fundamental questions: 1) How have scholars defined “religion”?; 2) How have they studied it?; and 3) How have they narrated the field’s history? Focusing on the period between the 1870s and the 1970s, especially the decades before and after the turn of the twentieth century, we read “classic” texts and consider multiple approaches—anthropological, psychological, historical, phenomenological, geographical, and sociological. We also identify some lineages in the study of religion that have been obscured in most of the histories.  Considering more recent trajectories and issues in the study of religion since the 1970s, we end by looking at a few works on gender studies, cognitive science, spatial analysis, poststructuralism, and postcolonial theory. Along the way, we will read a wide range of interpreters, including works by David Hume, Herbert of Cherbury, Hannah Adams, Friedrich Schleiermacher, Ludwig Feuerbach, Karl Marx, F. Max Müller, Morris Jastrow, E. B. Tylor, James Frazer, William James, Sigmund Freud, Emil Durkheim, Max Weber, Rudolph Otto, G. Van der Leeuw, Mircea Eliade, Jonathan Z. Smith, Victor Turner, Clifford Geertz, Talal Asad, Timothy Fitzgerald, Russell McCutcheon, Ursula King, Karen McCarthy Brown, Harvey Whitehouse, Edward Said, David Chidester, and Richard King.



Eric J. Sharpe, Comparative Religion: A History (Chicago: Open Court, 1986); David Hume, The Natural History of Religion (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1956); William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience (New York: Penguin, 1982); Peter Gay, ed., The Freud Reader (New York: Norton, 1989); W. S. F. Pickering, ed., Durkheim on Religion  AAR Texts and Translations Series (Atlanta: Scholars Press; New York, 1994: distributed by Oxford University Press); Max Weber, The Sociology of Religion (Boston: Beacon, 1964; 1993). Mircea Eliade, The Sacred and the Profane (New York: Harvest, 1959); Victor Turner, The Ritual Process (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1969); Karen McCarthy Brown, Mama Lola, updated edition (Berkeley: University of California, 2001); Harvey Whitehouse, Modes of Religiosity: A Cognitive Theory of Religious Transmission (Walnut Creek: Altamira Press, 2004); Richard King, Orientalism and Religion: Postcolonial Theory, India, and ‘The Mystic East’ (London: Routledge, 1999); Thomas A. Tweed, Crossing and Dwelling: A Theory of Religion (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006).

Recommended Text: Daniel Pals, Eight Theories of Religion, 2nd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006). Pals is highly recommended. [Another volume that might help those who feel they need a bit more introduction to cultural theory is Philip Smith’s Cultural Theory: An Introduction (2001).]


Assessment will be based on the following: 1) ANALYSIS PAPERS (15% each): Three critical analysis papers (two to three pages each) that consider one of the assigned texts. One of these three papers must describe and assess one of the narrative histories of the field (See the list of narratives below). 2) CLASS ORIENTATION (10%): One 12-15 minute class presentation that introduces the other members of the seminar to the assigned readings for the day. 3) FIELD OR SUBFIELD PAPER (10%): One two to three-page analysis of how one of the assigned texts, or in some cases it could be a recommended text, has been used or criticized in your own discipline or area of specialization. 4) OVERVIEW (30%): One overview or analysis of the history of the study of religion (from three to five pages, or its equivalent). This can take any form that seems most helpful to you and suits your learning style. It could be an historical narrative, thematic analysis, diagram, chart, table, video, web page, data base, blog, chronology, or it could combine multiple forms of visual and verbal representation. 5) PARTICIPATION (5%): Regular attendance and informed participation in the seminar.

R S 383T • Anthropology Of Religion

41994 • Keeler, Ward
Meets F 9:00AM-12:00PM WCP 4.120
(also listed as ANT 391)
show description

The  seminar will focus on recent anthropological monographs rather than classic, older literature. Readings will include work on ethics that has come to displace some discussion of religion in recent years. Ethnographies will be drawn from several regions of the world. Students will be expected to submit weekly comments as the basis for our discussion, a mid-term essay, and a final project. Propsective students are welcome to contact me to discuss their specific interests.

R S 384D • Relig Studies Doctrl Smnr-Wb

41995 • Smith, Geoffrey
Meets T 2:00PM-5:00PM • Internet
show description

Advanced seminar designed to introduce students to the profession of religious studies. Includes development and preparation of a dissertation proposal, placing scholarship within a broader theoretical context,and pedagogical issues in teaching religious studies at the undergraduate college level.

R S 386M • Mystery Cults In Greece & Rome

41999 • White, L
Meets W 12:00PM-3:00PM BUR 554 • Hybrid/Blended
(also listed as C C 383)
show description

The course examines the role and development of the so-called “Mystery Cults,” first as indigenous cults in archaic and Classical Greece and then in the rise and diffusion of Hellenistic mysteries, especially in the Roman period.    

Following an introduction to the field of study, critical discussion will begin with the notion of "conversion" in ancient religion, or more specifically, were the mysteries really "conversionist" cults, as often depicted?   To this end the seminar will open with a discussion of initiation rituals and religious conversion in antiquity.  Readings include the ancient novel of Apuleius, The Metamorphoses and the classic study of A.D. Nock, Conversion, along with more recent criticisms of that work by R. MacMullen, J.Z. Smith, and Z. Crook. 

Next, we will examine the earlier Greek Mysteries with emphasis on the origins development of the Eleusinian mysteries as an indigenous Greek cult.  Then we will move to the Hellenistic period and the rise of the so-called “oriental” cults and follow with their grown and diffusion in the Roman periods.   The bulk of the discussion will focus on the later development of the cults as religious, political, and social phenomena.  The scholarly perspective will be represented by the classic works of F. Cumont and R. Reitzenstein in light of recent studies by W. Burkert, J.Z. Smith, U. Bianchi, R. Gordon, R. Beck, and others to observe changing perspectives on the mystery cult phenomenon.   Discussions will evaluate the traditional theories of origins, character, and development in the light of new historical, archaeological, and theoretical evidence.

Principal topics to be covered are:  Archaic Greek mysteries (Andana and Panamara), Bacchic & Orphic mysteries, the Mysteries of Eleusis, the Cult of Cybele (Magna Mater), the Egyptian Cults of Isis and Sarapis, , the Cult of the Syrian Goddess (Atargatis), and the Mithras Cult.

Archaeological evidence will be treated in two main ways:  (1)  introducing, surveying, and evaluating the archaeological and epigraphic data for each cult group selected for study and (2)  developing and/or comparing the evidence for specific regions and/or localities.    For example, we will wish to consider the differences of public vs. private performance in addition to differences between Greek cities and the cities of Italy (esp. Rome, Ostia, and Pompeii).

Student work/participation includes: (a)  leading  regular discussions of relevant readings, (b) substantial research papers with presentation of results to the seminar, (c) participation in group projects (e.g., bibliographic collections) as related to research. 



Apuleius, Metamorphoses ,  ed. Hanson (2 vols.; LCL; Cambridge:  Harvard UP,  1989).

Plutarch, Moralia, vol. V, ed. Babbitt (LCL; Cambridge:  Harvard UP, 1936).

M. Meyer, The Ancient Mysteries:  A Sourcebook   (San Francisco:  Harper-Row, 1987; Philadelphia:  Univ. of PA Press, 1999).

R. Beck, The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman World (Oxford:  Oxford UP, 2006).

W. Burkert, Ancient Mystery Cults (Cambridge:  Harvard UP, 1987).

M.B. Cosmopoulos, Greek Mysteries:  The Archaeology and Ritual of Ancient Greek Secret Cults (London: Routledge, 2003).

R. MacMullen, Paganism in the Roman Empire (New Haven:  Yale UP, 1981).

A.D. Nock, Conversion:  The Old and the New in Religion from Alexander to Augustine (Oxford: Clarendon, 1933).

Simon Price, Religions of the Ancient Greeks (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1999).

Jörg Rüpke, Religion of the Romans (Cambridge:  Polity Press, 2007).

Jonathan Z. Smith, Drudgery Divine:  On the Comparison of Early Christianities and the Religions of Late Antiquity (Chicago:  University of Chicago Press, 1990).

Robert Turcan, The Cults of the Roman Empire (London: Blackwell, 1996).

R S 387M • Writing Ancient Greek Relig-Wb

42004 • Perlman, Paula
Meets TTH 4:00PM-5:30PM • Internet
show description

This course would focus on written sources for Greek religion, with a view to comparing, where possible, epigraphic and literary texts, e.g., “literary hymns” and inscribed hymns, inscribed dedications and the corpora of literary dedications, ritual as prescribed in law and as represented in epic, tragedy etc., but then covering as well many topics for which the epigraphic record is the only record.

Joe Day (ancient Greek epigram) has agreed to come down for a few days to offer a seminar or two. The focus will be on texts, but topics that could incorporate material evidence as well.

Students would need to have grad level Greek to do well in the course.

R S 390T • Monasticism/Monastic Sourcs

42005 • Newman, Martha
Meets W 3:00PM-6:00PM RLM 5.116
(also listed as HIS 397L)
show description

Please see the graduate coordinator for more information.

R S 392T • Race/Religion In Americas

42010 • Graber, Jennifer
Meets M 1:00PM-4:00PM PAR 206
(also listed as HIS 389, LAS 381)
show description

This seminar considers classic texts in the field of race and religion in the Americas, discusses more recent work on the subject, and guides students through the process of researching, writing, and presenting a paper. The seminar is interdisciplinary and will draw on works in religious studies, history, anthropology, and critical race studies.

R S 398T • Supv Teaching In Relig Studies

42059 • White, L
Meets TH 2:00PM-5:00PM BUR 554 • Hybrid/Blended
show description

The 398T course is a requirement of The University of Texas at Austin for all programs where graduate students may serve as Associate Instructors (AI). It is also generally recommended in all programs for professional development of future college and university teachers. Faculty collaborate in the construction and supervision of the course in order to tailor it to the subject matter and instructional needs of each field of study while also grounding it in the theoretical scholarship and best-practices in teaching across disciplines. 

The goal of this course is to give graduate students a chance to develop their own personal identity as a teacher/scholar in light of both field-specific disciplines and current standards and

technologies of teaching. The RS 398T course is specifically designed to assist graduate students who will be teaching undergraduate courses in Religious Studies and related disciplines both as AIs at UT and in academic teaching positions after graduation. The course stresses teaching professionalization, conversance with standard literature on teaching, learning, and assessment, and practical experience in assembling personal teaching materials and syllabi for the academic market.   While the course is specifically designed for the RS field, it has wider application across the Humanities and Social Science fields, and has also been taken by grad students from Business and other Schools of the University.

During the semester, students in the class will discuss and workshop production of a personal Teaching Portfolio to include the following items:

  • A Teaching Philosophy Statement that includes Learning Goals & a Diversity (or Inclusive Learning) Statement
  • A Description of your Teaching Area(s) and proposed Course Offerings
  • Three sample Course Syllabi in outline that you would expect to teach in your own department or discipline.


Per College and University guidelines, this course is Pass/Fail grading only. All assignments listed above must be completed in order to receive credit for the course.


Susan A. Ambrose, Michael W. Bridges, Marsha C. Lovett, Michele DiPietro, and Marie K. Norman, How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching (Wiley/Josey-Bass, 2010).

Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein, They Say / I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing (3rd ed.; Norton, 2014).

Michael Sweet and Larry K. Michaelsen, Team-Based Learning in the Social Sciences and Humanities (Stylus Publications, 2012).

Ken Bain, What the Best College Teachers Do (Harvard UP, 2004; 2nd ed. 2012)