RELG 100. Introduction to World Religions 1.0 course credit
This course offers a brief introduction to the world’s major religious traditions, including the Indian traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism, the Chinese religions of Confucianism and Taoism, and the “religions of Abraham”— Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The course will also encourage students to reflect on the category of “religion” in general and to consider the complexities of comparing traditions. Prerequisites: None.
RELG 101. Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) 1.0 course credit
A study of the text of the Hebrew Bible in its historical and cultural context. The story of Israel is traced from its formation as a people through the rise of the monarchy, exile, and return. The complex web of traditions that shaped Israel’s identity is analyzed, and the historical, literary, and theological dimensions of the texts are explored.
RELG 108. Introduction to the New Testament 1.0 course credit
A study of first-century Christian literature in its historical and cultural contexts. The course will focus on the historical Jesus, Paul’s epistles, and the Jewish framework of early Christian faith and practice in Hellenic-Roman
culture. Prerequisites: None.
RELG 113. Christian Faith and Theology 1.0 course credit
This course is an introduction to some of the basic concepts and key figures in the development of the Christian faith and Christian Theology. Students will learn about how doctrines like the Trinity or Original sin were developed and will study various perspectives on these doctrines from the two-thousand year history of the faith. Prerequisites: None.
RELG 207. Ethics: Philosophical and Religious 1.0 course credit
(Cross-listed as PHIL 207) This course will examine some of the moral problems we face in our lives and will consider a variety of ways of thinking about how to understand them as well as how to talk about them in dialogue. Beginning with an overview of some of the main theoretical approaches in ethical thought in the Western philosophical tradition, the class will then consider specific issues, which may include: sexual ethics, violence and peace, economic justice, environmental ethics, business ethics, race, gender, etc. Prerequisites: None.
RELG 210. Judaism and Islam 1.0 course credit
A study of the origins, history, rituals, sacred writings, beliefs, practices, and modern developments among Jews and Muslims. Special attention is given to understanding similarities and differences between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as monotheistic traditions which all trace their roots to Abraham. Prerequisites: None.
RELG 213. Philosophy of Religion 1.0 course credit
(Cross-listed as PHIL 213) Can the existence of God be proven? How do we make philosophical sense of an event described as a miracle? Why does God permit the existence of evil in the world? How do we understand the fact of religious pluralism? These and other topics are explored in this introduction to the basic problems and issues that constitute philosophy of religion. This is a discussion-centered course that encourages meaningful debate between
theists and atheists. Prerequisites: None.
RELG 217. Peace: Philosophical and Religious Approaches 1.0 course credit
(Cross-listed as PHIL 217) This course examines a topic, movement, or figure pertaining to philosophical and religious approaches to issues of peace and justice. Examples might include: Martin Luther King Jr., the philosophy
of nonviolence, religious conceptions of peace, etc. Prerequisites: None.
RELG 218. Peace with Justice 1.0 course credit
(Cross-listed as PHIL 218) This course is an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of peace and justice studies. Peace is not the mere absence of war but includes the redress of the kinds of structural violence (imperialism, racism,
sexism, economic disparities, environmental degradation, etc.) that lead to conflict. Students will study a problem related to violence or injustice, analyze that problem critically, and engage in moral imagination as they develop
strategies to address the problem. Prerequisites: None.
RELG 220. Women and Religion 1.0 course credit
This course explores the religious lives of women across cultures and religious traditions. Course readings include: writings by women religious leaders and lay participants as well as essays about women in a variety of religious contexts. Attention is paid to the uniqueness and diversity of women’s experience within religious traditions, including the experience of oppression but also of empowerment. Prerequisites: None.
RELG 244. Religion and Politics 1.0 course credit
(Cross-listed as POLS 244) The “secularization” thesis prevailed among the social scientists during the 1950s and 1960s. This thesis assumed that under the influence of industrialization, urbanization, and modernization, religion will become less important in the public and the private spheres. The emergence of highly politicized religious movements have posed a severe challenge to the secularization thesis. In this course, we will explore the relationship
between religion and politics by examining contemporary movements such as the Christian Right in the U.S., Hindu fundamentalism in India, and political Islam in the Middle East and South Asia. Prerequisites: None.
RELG 250. Special Topics 1.0 course credit
RELG 260. Cultures of the Middle East 1.0 course credit
(Cross-listed as ANTH 260) Provides background information about historical developments in the regions, reviews the role of Islam, and examines contemporary everyday/popular cultures. Prerequisites: None.
RELG 300. Philosophy and Religions of Asia 1.0 course credit
(Cross-listed as PHIL 300) An introduction to the origins, histories, thought, practices, and developments of the great religions and philosophies of Asia. The course will study some of the following: Hinduism, Buddhism,
Confucianism, Shintoism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Eastern philosophies will be explored in religious and cultural contexts. May be repeated for credit with permission of the instructor. Prerequisites: Junior or
senior standing or permission of the instructor.
RELG 310. Environmental Ethics 1.0 course credit
(Cross-listed as PHIL 310) An examination of ecological problems caused by human activities and possible solutions, starting with a rethinking of the relationship between human beings and nature. From different perspectives the course will investigate various interrelated issues ranging from ethical to metaphysical, including: Do we have an obligation to natural objects? If there should be an environmental ethic, what kind of ethic should it be? Students will
have opportunities to develop and express their own views on these issues. This course is intended primarily for students in their sophomore, junior, and senior years. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing or above or permission of the instructor
RELG 312. Religion in America 1.0 course credit
(Cross-listed as HIST 312) The story of American religious history is an important narrative about our country’s identity. Recent work in the field has focused on what has been left out of the old stories and how we might better account for the experiences of women, of minorities, and of those groups who challenge the dominate theologies and practices. This course covers the colonial period through to contemporary developments, including secularization, New Age movements and the flourishing of the world’s religious traditions within an American context. Course topics will vary from year to year. Possible topics include: Christianity in America, African-American religious history, new religious movements and utopian experiments, women in American religious history or the world’s religions in America. May be repeated for credit with permission of the instructor. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing or above or permission of the instructor.
RELG 313. Modern Christian Theology 1.0 course credit
A more intensive study of Christian Theology after the Enlightenment. The course may focus on a particular time period, a particular thinker or school of thought, or a particular theme. Students may repeat this course for credit by permission of the instructor. Prerequisites: None, but Junior standing and/or completion of RELG 113 or RELG 213 is recommended.
RELG 316. Existentialism 1.0 course credit
(Cross listed as PHIL 316.) An overview of issues and claims associated with existentialism, a cultural phenomenon touching upon and influenced by diverse fields of interests. The course necessarily is interdisciplinary, examining
existential influences on literature and religious thought, as well as philosophy. Readings are from a number of contributors to the tradition, including Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Tillich, Sartre, Camus.
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing or above or permission of the instructor.
RELG 320. Individualized Study 1.0 course credit
Directed research and writing in an area of special interest to the student. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor.
RELG 340. Africana Philosophy 1.0 course credit
(Cross-listed as PHIL 340) This course will study a small selection of the vast literature on the philosophies of Africa and the African diaspora. After an examination of some of the framing philosophical questions and the relationship of Africana thought to the terribly destructive and culture-interrupting twin episodes of European colonization of the continent and the Atlantic slave trade, the class will explore three strands in African thought: sagacity, an Akan perspective on morality and ubuntu. Three main texts, Brand’s Map to the Door of No Return, Krog’s Country of My Skull, and Williams’ Losing My Cool, will frame the remaining major sections of the course. The first will be an exploration of diasporic consciousness framed by and in resistance to the castles in West Africa that are the door of no return about which Brand writes. The second is an examination of the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions in the wake of apartheid in South Africa and the ubuntu philosophy that framed them. And, finally, we will read Thomas Williams’ memoir exploring what it means to be Black in the contemporary United States. His text provides a context to discuss a variety of African-American philosophical thinking, from the 19th century to the present.
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing or above or permission of the instructor.
RELG 350. Topics in Religious Studies 1.0 course credit
This course will examine a topic, figure, period or theme in Religious Studies in a more focused manner than a survey course will allow. Emphasis will be placed on the significance of these ideas for contemporary debates and perspectives. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing or above or permission of the instructor.
RELG 450. Senior Research 0.25 to 1.0 course credit
Research semester, during which the students conduct research in preparation for their senior theses in religious studies. By the end of this semester, students will have read broadly in the relevant scholarship to generate and then
focus a topic for the senior thesis.
RELG 452. Senior Project 0.25 to 1.0 course credit
The student thoroughly examines a topic in religious studies and composes an extended essay involving in-depth research and analysis and/or synthesis under the individualized direction of a faculty member, or in a seminar. The thesis option culminates in a public presentation of the student’s work.