Department of Religious Studies

R S 302 • History Of Religions Of Asia

42985 • Freiberger, Oliver
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM UTC 3.102
GC (also listed as ANS 301R, CTI 306D)
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This course surveys the central beliefs and patterns of life of living religious traditions of Asia. It will focus particularly on the basic texts or narratives of these traditions, on their essential histories, and on the concepts of humanity, the world, and the divine that are distinctive of each. In addition, the course will explore not only what people believe religiously but also what they do religiously.


R S 304 • Judaism, Christianity, Islam

42989
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Description

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 306E • Ethics Of Space Exploration

42995 • Traphagan, John
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM MEZ 1.104
E
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R S 310 • Intro To The Study Of Religion

43005 • Matsumoto, Mallory
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM WEL 2.122
GC SB
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R S 310 • Intro To The Study Of Religion

43000 • Lebarre, Evan
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM MEZ 1.204
GC SB
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R S 310 • Intro To The Study Of Religion

43009 • Wilson, Jeffrey
Meets MWF 3:00PM-4:00PM MEZ 1.204
GC SB
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R S 313C • Intro To The Old Testament

43015 • Dewrell, Heath
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM UTC 1.146
GC (also listed as CTI 305G, J S 311, MES 310C)
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R S 313D • Intro To Jewish Studies

43020 • Pickette, Samantha
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM RLP 0.122
EGC (also listed as J S 301, MES 310)
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R S 313M • Jewish Civ: Begin To 1492

43025 • Leach, Nathan
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM RLP 0.122
GC (also listed as HIS 306N, J S 304M, MES 310)
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This is the first half of a two-semester survey of Jewish civilization, and this semester examines Jewish Civilization from the origins of Ancient Israel to 1500 C.E. All materials are in English translation.  The course addresses the Hebrew Bible and history of Ancient Israel, the Second Temple Period of Judaism, the Talmud and other classical Rabbinic sources, and Geonic as well as Medieval history and literature.  

Grading:

  • two in class exams and short papers

 Texts:

  • Robert Selzer, Jewish People, Jewish Thought
  • Philip Alexander, Textual Sources for the Study of Judaism
  • Jack Suggs, et al, eds., The Oxford Study Bible: Revised English Bible with Apocrypha

R S 314K • Mid East: Rel/Cul/Hist Fnd

43030 • Spellberg, Denise
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM WAG 101
GC (also listed as HIS 306K, MES 301K)
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Dr. Denise A. Spellberg, Fall 2022

Introduction to the Middle East:

Religious, Cultural, Historical Foundations,

570-1453

HIS 306K, MES 301K, RS 314

                             

Class Description and Goals

This course surveys the history of the Middle East from the rise of Islam to the end of the sixteenth century, a bit beyond the “official” chronology. Students will be introduced to basic aspects of the political, social, and cultural dimensions of Muslim civilization from Spain to Iran in fulfillment of a Global Cultures Flag. The GC Flag is designed to increase your familiarity with cultural groups outside the United States, although this course concludes by stressing that Islam is an American religion, its adherents predicted as citizens since the Founding era.

In the midst of mapping this broad view, we will focus our attention on how specific historical figures, especially women, 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, slavery and race, and the unique material and intellectual contributions of Islamic civilization to other societies and world history.

An overarching goal of this course is to focus attention on the history of the Middle East in this formative phase as a fascinating, complicated, and enriching study in its own right. Students will be expected to master key terms and concepts of the period. Exams and research questions are designed to hone analytical skills and the clarity of written expression.

 


R S 315C • The Bible/Its Interpreters

43040 • Schofer, Jonathan
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BUR 136
GC (also listed as CTI 304)
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R S 315N • Intro To The New Testament

43050 • Landau, Brent
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM CAL 100
GC
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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

43055 • Wallin, Gary
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM MEZ 1.216
GC
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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

43060 • Harrington, Adeline
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM RLP 1.102
GC
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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 318 • The Rise Of Christianity

43069
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM WAG 308
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R S 319 • Introduction To Islam

43070 • Ayoub, Samy
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM PAR 203
GC (also listed as ANS 301M, HIS 306N)
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R S 320 • Intro Resrch Mthds Study Relig

43075 • Seales, Chad
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM BEN 1.106
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This course introduces students to research methods in the study of religion, including historical, social scientific, cultural studies, and digital humanities approaches. Students will have the opportunity to learn how to apply qualitative methods such as participant observation, structured interviews, and document analysis of archival and primary sources, as well as quantitative methods ranging from analyzing survey data to biosocial and demographic approaches related to population studies research. Readings Steven Engler and Michael Stausberg, The Routledge Handbook of Research Methods in the Study of Religion (Routledge Press, 2012).


R S 346E • Religion And Film

43105 • Brown, Khytie
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM SZB 2.814
Wr
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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. 

 

Grading

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


R S 346N • Amer Jewish Material Cul

43115 • Seriff, Suzanne
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM RLP 1.108
(also listed as ANT 325O, J S 365)
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R S 346U • History Of Islam In The US

43125 • Spellberg, Denise
Meets W 3:00PM-6:00PM GAR 0.128
CDIIWr HI (also listed as AMS 370, HIS 350R)
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Dr. Spellberg                                                                                   Fall 2022                                                                         

HISTORY OF ISLAM IN THE UNITED STATES, HIS 350R-22, ISL 372, RS 346, AMS 346

Course Description: 

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.   


R S 352D • Japan Relig/Westrn Imagintn

43130 • Traphagan, John
Meets TTH 8:00AM-9:30AM GEA 127
GC
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R S 356F • 12th-Cen Renais: 1050-1200

43150 • Newman, Martha
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM GAR 2.128
GCWr (also listed as AHC 330, EUS 346, HIS 344G)
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European society changed so rapidly and extensively between 1050 and 1200 that medievalists often call it a "renaissance," ( a period of rebirth not to be confused with the later Italian Renaissance.) During this period, agricultural technologies changed, new forms of religious life developed, schools and universities emerged, cathedrals were built, towns became self-governing, and royal governments experimented with new forms of administration and law. Though a reading of primary documents - including love letters, memoirs, accounts of religious visions, chronicles of urban revolts, court poetry, theological treatises, and artistic creations – this course examines a series of these intellectual, religious, social, and political developments. 

 

The goals of this course are for students 1) to identify the important events and figures in this period of rapid change; 2) to learn to read and analyze different types of medieval documents;  3) to understand how historical arguments and accounts are constructed from the analysis of primary documents; 4) to understand the interconnections between economic, social, religious, and cultural developments; and 5) to construct and write their own historical analyses.


R S 357J • North Renais Art 1350-1500

43155 • Smith, Jeffrey
Meets MW 8:30AM-10:00AM ART 1.120
GC VP (also listed as EUS 347)
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R S 361 • History Of Jewish Thought

43180
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R S 361 • Latina/O Spirituality

43185 • Gonzalez-Martin, Rachel
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM WCP 5.102
CDIIWr
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R S 361 • Midnight Sun People: Sami

43189 • Bjoeru, Oeyvind
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM PAR 101
GC (also listed as GSD 360)
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R S 373D • History Of Christmas

43195 • Landau, Brent
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM PAR 1
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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 375S • Radical Religion: Ascetics

43215 • Freiberger, Oliver
Meets W 3:00PM-6:00PM WAG 112
GCIIWr (also listed as ANS 379)
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Please visit the Religious Studies advisor's office for more information.


R S 375S • What Is Religion?

43210 • Brown, Khytie
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM GAR 2.128
IIWr
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Please visit the Religious Studies advisor's office for more information.


R S 383C • Findng Religion In Americas

43235 • Graber, Jennifer
Meets TH 1:00PM-4:00PM BUR 554
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This course asks what counts as “data” concerning religion in the Americas, considers the various ways scholars identify and hypothesize about that data, and provides a structured format in which students will research and write an article-length paper on the topic of their choice. Students will read and present on articles and book chapters, analyze potential archives (broadly construed), and write experimentally on new-found sources. 

Readings will include:  

Khytie K. Brown, “Mermaids and Journeymen: Revival Zion and Africana Religious Futures” (2021) 

Sonia Hazard, “How Joseph Smith Encountered Printing Plates and Founded Mormonism” (2021)  

Paul C. Johnson, Automatic Religion: Nearhuman Agents of Brazil and France (2021) 

Sylvester Johnson, “Red Squads and Black Radicals: Reading Agency in the Archive” (2020) 

Laura Levitt, The Objects That Remain (2021) 

John Lardas Modern, Neuromatic, or, a Particular History of Religion and the Brain, 2021. 

Scotti M. Norman, “Catholicism and Taki Onqoy in the Early Colonial Period: Colonial Entanglements of Church Interments at Iglesiachayoq (Chicha‐Soras Valley, Ayacucho, Peru)” (2021) 

David Tavárez, Rethinking Zapotec Time Cosmology, Ritual, and Resistance in Colonial Mexico (2022) 


R S 383M • Thry & Meth In Study Of Relig

43245 • Moin, A
Meets T 2:00PM-5:00PM BUR 554
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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.

 

Texts

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).]

Grading

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 384D • Doctrl Smnr In Religious Stds

43250 • Newman, Martha
Meets T 2:00PM-5:00PM RLP 0.124
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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 • Jud Christian Islam Lt Antiq

43252 • Schofer, Jonathan
Meets TH 3:30PM-6:30PM BUR 214
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R S 392T • Racialization And The Body

43260 • Coleman Taylor, Ashley
Meets W 10:00AM-1:00PM BUR 554
(also listed as WGS 393)
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As David Marriot has written, “it is racism that produced the racialized body.” In this course we will use an intersectional feminist approach to examine how religion and its construction of race, the human, and property have informed ideologies of embodiment. We will wrestle with concepts of white supremacy, colonialism, post-enlightenment humanism, and enslavement to understand the construction of the racialized body in the Americas. The selected texts ask you to hold in tension the intersections between race, gender, sex, and religion.