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Course Catalog for the Department of Religion

Courses numbered 100 - 599 are "undergraduate courses/credits" and those numbered 500 - 999 are "graduate courses/credits." Under certain circumstances undergraduates may take graduate courses and graduate students may take (under higher numbers and with additional or alternate requirements) undergraduate courses. Courses at the 500 level can count as either undergraduate or graduate credits.

Course # Title Syllabus Description
REL 100 ST:Religion and its Critics Special Topics in the Study of Religion
REL 101 Religions of the World The nature and significance of religion within human culture and existence as evidenced in various religions of the world both past and present.
REL 102 Religion Today in a Globalizing World Consideration of the globalization of religions and the rise of worldwide trends: spirituality, fundamentalism, new religious movements, and major changes in established religions.
REL 103 Religion and Sports The religious/ceremonial origins of sports; importance of sports in human culture; issues of identity, gender, race, ethnicity as defined by sports. Special emphasis on lacrosse.
REL 104 Religion and Science Historical and conceptual overview of the relations of religions and science in Christian and Islamic cultures. Engagement with current high profile debates, e.g. evolution and stem cell research.
REL 106 What is Belief? Interdisciplinary exploration of belief as religious and cultural phenomena. Readings from historical, philosophical, religious, scientific, and literary sources.
REL/JSP 107 Religion, Literature, and Film Literary and cinematic approaches to religious life, focusing on Jewish and Christian communities. Special attention to the Bible, Yiddish culture, postHolocaust writing, and Israel; topics include land, tradition, humor, science, and violence.
REL/JSP 114 The Bible Jewish and Christian scriptures in their ancient Near Eastern and Hellenistic contexts, with particular attention to their literary forms, the history of their composition, and their role in the development of Western religions and cultures. Credit is not given for REL/JSP 114 and either REL/JSP 215 or REL 217.
REL 120 Introduction to the Study of Religion Introduces students to the academic study of religion as a complex field given shape through a diversity of academic disciplines and questions. Terms, concepts, and ideas will be discussed.
REL 121 Pilgrimage A cross-cultural exploration of religious journeys, including pilgrims’ travels through different landscapes as well as spiritual quests. Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, and indigenous traditions are regularly included.
REL/SAS 123 Religious Auto/Biography A cross-cultural exploration of religious autobiographies. Understanding multiple dimensions of religious life through narratives of the self, the sacred, and society.
REL 125 Religion and Sexuality Roles and significances of sexuality in religious traditions. Mutual influences of religions and sexualities. Case studies from multiple traditions and locations. Attention to intersections of religious and sexual identities and practices.
REL 126 Ecstasy, Transgression, Religion An exploration of ecstasy and transgression as limit-cases for religion. Topics may include mysticism, madness, eroticism, passion, and sacrifice.
REL/JSP/LIT 131 Great Jewish Writers Introduction to fiction by Jewish authors. Topics include modernization, rebellion against authority, alienation, childhood, superstition, and the Holocaust. Some films included.
REL/JSP 135 Judaism Survey of Judaic ideas, values, and cultural expressions as found in biblical, talmudic, medieval, mystical, and modern texts.
REL 142 Native American Religions Religious beliefs and practices of native Americans; the diversity as well as similarity of religious expression.
REL 156 Christianity Distinctive aspects of Christianity, from its beginnings to the present. Scripture, institutional forms, worship, theology, ethics, and cultural influences.
REL/SAS 165 Discovering Islam Islam as a world religion: its origins, major beliefs, rituals, and historical development, emphasizing its geographical spread, diversity of interpretation, and cultural expressions.
REL/SAS 185 Hinduism Religious life of contemporary Hindus in India: gods, goddesses, and other divines; worship; sectarian movements; and rituals in the home, at temples, and at other holy sites.
REL/SAS 186 Buddhism Buddhism as a world religion: its origin in India, its spread to other parts of Asia, and consequent changes in doctrine and practice through the ages.
REL 191 Religion, Meaning & Knowledge Introduction to thinking about religion and its study. Topics and themes may vary, but will focus on interpretations and understandings of the nature of religion itself.
REL 193 Extreme Religious Experience An exploration of extreme religious experiences, such as asceticism and mysticism, and their relations to other extreme experiences, such as sports.
REL 200 Seleted Topics Exploration of a topic (to be determined) not covered by the standard curriculum but of interest to faculty and students in a particular semester.
REL 205 Ancient Greek Religion Historical and systematic studies of Greek myth and cult (pre-Homeric Chthonic religion through Olympian polytheism to the decline of the polis). Interaction of religion with drama, art, architecture, philosophy, and politics.
REL 206 Greco-Roman Religion Various aspects of religious thought and experience in the Greco-Roman world. Variety of ways in which Greco-Roman people expressed the human situation, constructed their world, and viewed salvation through myth, symbol, and ritual.
REL/JSP 215 The Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible (often called the Old Testament) in English translation, with particular attention to its literary form, its cultural context in the ancient Near East, the history of its development, and its role in Western religions and cultures. Credit is not given for REL/JSP 114 and either REL/JSP 215 or REL 217
REL 217 The New Testament Historical, literacy, theological, and cultural dimensions of selected documents comprising the New Testament. Credit is not given for REL/JSP 114 and either REL/JSP 215 or REL 217.
REL/ANT 221 Morality and Community Cross-listed with ANT 221. Examines how globally diverse religious groups create distinct moral systems in order to provide their members with the feeling of belonging to unique and meaningful communities
REL 223 Religion, Doubt, and Fanaticism Contemporary, existential introduction to academic study of religion through critical consideration of religious and secular extremisms.
REL 227 Gods: A Cross-Cultural Gallery Study of Gods in a cross-cultural context accenting forms of Gods perceived and experienced in embodied, visible, concrete form rather than as “transcendent” or “spirit.”
REL/LIT/JSP 231 Jewish Literature Survey of major works in the Judaic tradition, including Hebrew and Yiddish prose in translation. Themes include nature, culture, exile, humor, satire, and talking takhlis.
REL/JSP/LIT 235 Travel Narratives and Pilgrimages Cross-listed with: JSP 235, LIT 235 Study of secular and spiritual travel narratives, both factual and fictional. Included are tales of exploration, shipwreck, and pilgrimage to the Holy Land, which played a key role in literary history.
REL/JSP 239 Jewish Humor and Satire Introduction to Jewish humor and satire, focusing on American and Yiddish fiction and film. Informed by Freudian theories, analysis of literary works, stand-up comedy, early Yiddish movies, and American films.
REL 241 Religious Diversity in America Emergence of United States as unique, multi-faith society, with focus on Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and other faiths.
REL 242 Religious Issues in American Life How contemporary religious ideas, individuals, and organizations intersect with major political and cultural issues in the United States.
REL/NAT 244/ANT 273 Indigenous Religions The connections between material life and religious life in cultures throughout the world. The diverse ways that various cultures inhabit their landscapes.
REL 246 Religion and Popular Culture Popular expressions of religion in and through cemeteries, holidays, music, film, media and sports.
REL 252 Religious Ethics and Social Issues Traditional and contemporary thought in the West. Issues in medical, business, and political ethics.
REL 255 Depth Psychology and Religious Ethics Theories of human nature and their implications for religion and ethics. Includes narcissism, religious experience, moral conscience, mutuality, and the commandment to love thy neighbor as thyself.
REL 261 Faith and Reason in Islamic Thought and Civilization Understanding the key themes and historical development of the Islamic intellectual tradition by examining the tension between dogmatic faith and rational interpretation in Islamic theology, law, philosophy and mysticism.
REL 281/AAS 241 African Religions: An Introduction Historical and comparative study of the religions of Africa. Indigenous religious diversity. Christianity, Islam, and the new African-led religious movements. Case studies of myth, ritual, concepts of the divine, and religious change.
REL/SAS 283 India's Religious Worlds Inter-secting religious worlds of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, and Christians in modern India; focus on cosmology and morality in interaction with ritual practices, religious narratives, social life, media, and politics.
REL 290 Independent Study

Exploration of a problem, or problems, in depth. Individual independent study upon a plan submitted by the student. Admission by consent of supervising instructor(s) and the department. Repeatable.

REL 291 Comparative Themes and Issues Special introductory thematic studies of religion, or of the study of religion. Themes and issues addressed may vary, but will generally feature the nature of religion itself, or the discipline of religious studies.
REL 292 The Human and Divine in Christian and Muslim Philosophy

Crosslisted with: PHI 241. An investigation of the complex relationship between humanity and divinity and its implication for the formation of Christian and Islamic philosophy and theology.

REL 294 Mythologies Mythologies of the world, ancient and modern, Eastern and Western, Northern and Southern. Issues of nature and function, historical development and diffusion of myth.
REL 295 Religion and Art Relationship between art, religion, and religious thought. May draw on classical religious sources, art history, literature, theology, or philosophy. Emphasis placed on Western religious/artistic traditions (Judaism, Christianity).
REL 300 Selected Topics in Religion Exploration of a topic (to be determined) not covered by the standard curriculum but of interest to faculty and students in a particular semester.
REL 301 Ancient Near Eastern Religions & Cultures The social contexts of ancient religious ideas and practices. Texts, art, and other artifacts from ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, and Isreal.
REL/JSP 307 The Temple and the Dead Sea Scrolls History and literature of Second Temple Judaism including the canonization of scripture, origins of the synagogue, apocalyptic literature, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and other developments leading to early Christianity and rabbinic Judaism.
REL/JSP/MES 308 Ancient Judaism and the Origins of Christianity Cross-listed with JSP 308, MES 308 OFFERED ONLY IN MADRID Social, cultural, intellectual, and historical conditions which surrounded the birth of this new world religion in its ancient Mediterranean cradle – from Mesopotamia and Egypt to Greece and ancient Rome.
REL 309 Early Christianities The emergence of Christianity as a distinct religion within the Roman empire; the diversity of early Christian beliefs and practices.
REL 310 Medieval Christianities Diverse ways of experiencing medieval European Christian beliefs and practices. Particular attention given to monks, mendicants, and mystics and to topics including humanity and divinity, love and knowledge.
REL/JSP 311 The Bible as Literature A study of one literary genre (such as prose narrative, didactic poetry, or hymnody) through the books of the Hebrew Bible in comparison to other ancient literatures.
REL 316 The Torah/Pentateuch as a Scripture

Crosslisted with: JSP 316. How the Pentateuch became the Torah, the first Jewish scripture: its origins, rhetorical use, performance in various media, and ritual function as an iconic book.

REL 320 Religion and Culture Religion as an expression of culture and also as a force that contributes to the formation of culture. Approaches and topics vary.
REL/HUM/JSP/MES 321 Christians, Jews and Muslims Cross-listed with: HUM 321, JSP 321, MES 321 OFFERED ONLY IN MADRID Key historic encounters between the three versions of monotheism, with reference to the richness of past cultural and religious legacy rooted in the Mediterranean region.
REL 322 Martyrs & Saints in Christian Tradition  Explores what it means, within Christian tradition, to give embodied witness to one’s faith, focusing on literary representations of martyrs and saints from antiquity, as these continue to reverberate through contemporary culture.
REL 323 Christianity and Sexuality

Crosslisted with: QSX 323. This course explores the highly contested terrain of Christian understandings of sexuality, with emphasis on the role of the Bible, doctrinal tradition, and the entry of new voices into the conversation.

REL 324 Religion and Storytelling Religious teachings in narrative form. Traditions include Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, African, and Native American religions. Topics include saints, miracles, gender, nature, identity, resistance, empowerment.
REL 326 Religion and Film Readings in religion and film theory to examine how film-makers employ, construct, and presume particular understandings of the religious. Film viewing outside regular class time.
REL/JSP 331 European and American Jewish Literature Readings of 20th -Century fiction and drama, focusing on works by Schnitzler, Kafka, Wiesel, P. Levi, Yezierska, H. Roth, I.B. Singer, Malamud, P. Roth, and Ozick.
REL/JSP 332 Jewish Textual Traditions Cross-listed with: JSP 332. Students explore the Jewish textual tradition. Topics vary from year to year. Texts include Talmud, midrash, medieval philosophy and mysticism. Course can be repeated for credit. R2, 9 credits maximum
REL/LIT/JSP 333 Yiddish Literature in Translation Survey of Yiddish literature, with special attention to the classic Yiddish authors, Yiddish theater, modernism, and Yiddish women writers. Themes of minority culture, class struggle, hasidism, and the decline of the Shtetl.
REL/JSP 334 Modern Judaism The impact of modernity on Jewish life and thought. Issues and themes vary.
REL/JSP/LIT 335 Israeli Literatures and Culture Literary and cultural approach to the modern history of Israel, with special attention to conflicts that have arisen during the Zionist project.
REL/JSP 337 Shoah: Responding to the Holocaust Historical, literary, and philosophical representations of, and responses to, the Nazi genocide. Philosophical, theological, and ethical challenges raised by the Holocaust.
REL/JSP 338 American Judaism Cross-listed with: JSP 338. Students explore the relation between culture and religion across a diverse range of American Jews and Jewish communities. Particular attention is paid to the process of acculturation and assimilation and to the reinvention of Judaism.
REL 341/WGS 341/HST 387 Women, Abolition, and Religion in 19th-Century America The role that religion may have played in women’s understandings of themselves as abolitionists and social reformers. A selected group of women will be studied, with considerable attention given to Frances Harper.
REL/JSP/MES/PSC 342 Religion and Politics in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Cross-listed with: JSP 342, MES 342, PSC 342 Considers the extent to which religion matters in an enduring ethno-nationalist conflict. Approaches the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from an interdisciplinary perspective that explores the intersection of religion and politics.
REL 343 American Religions and the News Media Examines spiritual complexity of the U.S.; explores relationship between media and organized religion.
REL 345 African American Religious History Crosslisted with: AAS 345. Historical significance of religion for Americans of African descent. African and western forces shaping religious identity. Religious practices, beliefs, organizations, imagery, literature, theories, and activism. Historical perspectives on meanings of religion.
REL/NAT 347 Religion and the Conquest of America The development of America through the contact between indigenous and colonial people’s divergent religious understandings of land.
REL/NAT 348 Religion and American Consumerism Crosslisted with: NAT 348. Interrogates the relationship of American religious and economic practices, as compared with Native American traditions, during the 19th and 20th centuries.
REL 351 Theorizing Religion, Culture, Theology Contemporary and theoretical understandings of the meanings of religious, cultural, and theological discourse.
REL 352 Sociology of Religion and Morals Sociological interpretations of religion and morality. Classical writings of Emile Durkheim and Max Weber and contemporary sociologists. The sacred, ritual, community, secularization, social change, and justice.
REL 353 Religion and Nature American nature writing is examined for its religious structure, terminology, and effects.
REL 354 Kierkegaard and Nietzsche Crosslisted with: PHI 354. This course focuses on the similarities and differences of Kierkegaard’s and Nietzsche’s views on selfhood, society, and religion.
REL 355/PSC/SOC 362 Religion, Identity and Power Cross-listed with: PSC 362, SOC 362 OFFERED IN LONDON AND MADRID ONLY. Examines ascendancy of religious movements; prominence of religious ideas; secularization and religion as political force; conceptual an historical issues in relation to religious ideas and movements, including various Islamic revivals and the Christian right.
REL 356/PSC 456 Religion and Conflicts in Contemporary Europe Cross-listed with: PSC 456 OFFERED IN STRASBOURG ONLY. Examines continent’s long history of religious conflict, especially ways in which local and global religious tensions have developed in recent years.
REL/QSX 357 Queerly Religious Crosslisted with: QSX 357. Intersections and interactions of religions and sexualities in historical and contemporary contexts. Materials entwine case studies and queer theories. Particular attention given to religious and sexual desires, identities, and enactments.
REL 358 Critical Issues in Religious Thought Introduction to religious thought through a philosophical inquiry into theological problems in both Western and Eastern religions. Epistemological, metaphysical, and axiological issues.
REL 359 Stem Cells and Society Crosslisted with: BIO 396, PHI 396. The science of stem cells and the philosophical, religious and legal complexities surrounding the research and use of stem cell technologies.
REl 362 Islamism and Islamist Movements Today Crosslisted with: MES 392, PSC 392. A study of the historical, religious, social and political origins of Islamism and Islamist movements around the world today.
REL 364 Enchanting Words: Muslim Poets, Singers and Storytellers Crosslisted with: MES 364, SAS 364. Understand the power of words and language in Muslim cultures expressed in oral and literary genres including poetry, humor, fables, folksongs and travel journals. Explore key themes such as virtue, reality, divine and human nature.
REL 367 God and Beauty in Islamic Art Crosslisted with: MES 365, SAS 367. Expressions of beauty, creativity and faith in Islamic calligraphy, ceramics, textiles, architecture, miniatures and music. Unity and diversity of the visual and performing arts of Muslims in different periods, cultures and regions.
REL 371 God in Political Theory Crosslisted with: PHI 319, PSC 399. An exploration of the key approaches to the relationship between the idea of God and religion and politics in political theory and philosophy.
REL 375 Religion and Ethics in Post-Freudian Depth Psychologies Psychoanalytic theories after Freud and their contributions to understanding religious phenomena and the moral life
REL/SAS/WGS 384 Goddesses, Women and Power in Hinduism Crosslisted with: SAS 384, WGS 384. Interrelationship of power as female and female power in Hindu cosmology, mythology, and society. Complexities of mythic, domestic, and economic gender hierarchies.
REL 385 Religion in Chinese Society Surveys the diversity of religious practice in mainland China and Taiwan focusing on the lived experiences of ordinary adherents both within institutionalized religions and through localized folk beliefs and practices.
REL 386 Studies in Buddhism Selected topics in the thought and practice of Buddhism. Repeatable 2 time(s), 9 credits maximum
REL 387 Religious Belief Systems in Everyday Asian Life Offered only Hong Kong. Examines world views, value systems, and theories of major Asian religions and belief systems and their contributions to the formation of Asian culture.
REL 391 Advanced Religion Seminar Content may vary, attention always given to diversity of theories and methods in study of religion. Required of all religion majors. Open to others by special permission. Junior or senior status.
REL 392/HOM 492 Music and the Sacred Crosslisted with HOM 492. Intersection of music and the sacred in a variety of cultural traditions and historical periods
REL 393 Religion at the Limits Exploration of religious experiences at human limits and of religion as a limit discourse. Limits explored include rationality, language, sexuality, humanity, and mortality.
REL 394 Theories of the Self: Finding the “I” in Religion & Philosophy Crosslisted with: PHI 342. An exploration of major conceptions of the self, personal identity and human nature in philosophical and religious traditions.
REL 395 Religions and the Natural Environment Interpretations of the natural environment in the mythologies, rituals, and practices of religious traditions, including religious responses to current ecological crises.
REL 397 Grappling with Existence Seminar explores some of the most trenchant critiques of religion today and influential scholarly responses to these critiques.
REL 400/600 Selected Topics Exploration of a topic (to be determined) not covered by the standard curriculum but of interest to faculty and students in a particular semester.
REL/ANT/HST/WGS 409 A History of Witchcraft Offered only in Florence. Crosslisted with ANT/HST/WGS 409. History of witchcraft from various perspectives: its intellectual roots, the causes and dynamics of the witch-hunt, and the beliefs and self-perceptions of those who were called “witches.”
REL/CLA/LIT 421 Classical Mythology Offered only in Florence. Crosslisted with CLA/LIT 421. Myths and rituals of Greek mythology and religion. Ancient poets/playwrights and important mythological themes found in later Western religious/artistic traditions.
REL/PHI/JSP 435 Modern Jewish Thought The philosophical implications of Judaism’s encounter with modernity. Close readings of selected modern Jewish thinkers. Issues and figures vary. Repeatable three times with permission of instructor.
REL/JSP 439 Senior Seminar in Jewish Studies Interdisciplinary study of special topics in the Jewish tradition.Repeatable 2 time(s), 9 credits maximum
REL 440 Modern Religious Thought Examines conceptions of human being in modern religious thought in Europe and America. Themes may include God and the self; God, art, and delight; and religion and despair. Figures examined may include Kierkegaard, Douglass, Dostoevsky, Dinesen, and Baldwin. Repeatable one time, 6 credits maximum.
REL 449 Religious Dimensions of Whiteness Examines the creation and use of “whiteness” as a religious dimension in the formation of American identity.
REL/CRS/HST/WGS 451 Visual Culture Past and Present: Gender, Religion and Politics Offered only in Florence. Crosslisted with: CRS/HST/WGS 451 Contemporary visual culture; its representation of gender, religion and politics and the origins of that representation in a pictorial language first codified in Italy and Europe between circa 1450 and 1650.
REL 461 Enlightenment: Between European West and Islam Crosslisted with: PHI 427. The course examines the common view that Enlightenment and Modernity started in the West, revealing their roots in Islamic thought and philosophy and considers how the two traditions converge and/or diverge
REL/MES/SAS/WGS 465 Beyond the Veil: Gender Politics in Islam Crosslisted with: MES/SAS/WGS 465 Double-numbered with: REL 626 Politics of gender, religious identities, and resistance in the Islamic world. Gender scripts in Qur’anic scripture and Shariah laws. Contemporary realities of Muslim women living in different parts of the world. Additional work required of graduate students.
REL 460 Experience Credit

Participation in a discipline- or subject-related experience. Students must be evaluated by written or oral reports or an examination. Limited to those in good academic standing.
Repeatable

REL/ANT 471 Religion and Society in Brazil Role of religion in society; religions of Brazil, including Catholicism, liberation theology, afro-religions. Spring break field stay in Rio de Janeiro; methods of study; preparation of research proposal.
REL 487 Global Hinduism Exploring how mobile middle-class Hindus recreate and redefine religion in new urban and global environments as a context for rethinking the place of religion(s) within rapid world-wide urbanization, migration, globalization, and increasing cultural (dis)integration. Additional work required of graduate students. Graduate standing or junior or senior.
REL 490 Independent Study

In-depth exploration of a problem or problems. Individual independent study upon a plan submitted by the student. Admission by consent of supervising instructor or instructors and the department. Repeatable.

REL 498 Thesis Preparation Departmental distinction for majors who demonstrate exceptional achievement in the study of religion.
REL 499 Honors Capstone Project

Completion of an Honors Capstone Project under the supervision of a faculty member. Repeatable 2 time(s), 3 credits maximum.

REL 500 Selected Topics

Exploration of a topic (to be determined) not covered by the standard curriculum but of interest to faculty and students in a particular semester. Repeatable.

REL 551/PHI 593 Ethics and the Health Professions Ethical theories in professional, organizational, and political-economic fields in health care. Specific issues: assisted suicide, professional codes, ethics of “costcutting” and justice with respect to care.
REL 552/PHI 594 Bioethics Use of ethical theory in thinking about case problems in health care. Moral dilemmas: use of reproductive technologies, abortion, surrogate motherhood, research with humans, refusal and withdrawal of treatment, physician-assisted suicide. Graduate or upper-division undergraduate.
REL 557 Modern Theology Introduction to major figures and movements in twentieth-century theology. Prereq: upper-division standing or permission of instructor.
REL 595 Religion, Art, and Aesthetics Intersection between religion, art, and philosophy. Sources culled from Western religious thought and philosophy
REL 600 Selected Topics in Religion Exploration of a topic (to be determined) not covered by the standard curriculum but of interest to faculty and students in a particular semester.
REL 601 Theories and Methods in the Study of Religion I (19th century to early 20th century) Introduction to “classic” literature and issues in the field of religion.
REL 602 Gnosticism Gnosticism as a structure of religious belief; as sectarian movement within “mainline” traditions of late antiquity (Judaism, Christianity, paganism); as a literary-critical perspective on religious texts and traditions in antiquity and contemporary thinking. Prereq: reading knowledge of French or German.
REL 603 Theories and Methods in the Study of Religion II Introduction to “classic” twentieth-century literature and issues in the field of religion.
REL/WGS 605 Religion and the Body in Late Antiquity History of the human body as history of its modes of construction in GraecoRoman antiquity. Problems that arise when the body becomes a topic for religious inquiry. Readings in ancient texts and contemporary theory. Prereq: Permission of instructor.
REL 607 Ancient Religious Rhetoric Rhetoric of ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean religious texts, including parts of the Bible; role of persuasion in ancient religion and its effects on literature, power, and on conceptions of knowledge and text in antiquity.
REL 610 Textual Practices in the Study of Religion

A theoretical and practical exploration of different textual practices and ways of approaching and interpreting them, focusing on an extended consideration of a single religious text or a single genre of religious texts. Repeatable 2 time(s), 9 credits maximum.

REL 611 The Idea of Scripture The religious, literary, and political factors that affected the development and canonization of Jewish and Christian scriptures and shaped the idea of authoritative scripture in Western religious traditions.
REL/ANT 619 Ritual Theory and Religious Practice Cross-listed with: ANT 619. Survey and evaluation of major ritual theories, tested against a particular set of religious and cultural practices, such as those involving purification and pollutions, or holidays and festivals.
REL 620 Textual Scripts in the Study of Religion Theories and descriptions of how texts shape people’s words, actions and experiences, both religious and secular, and how people use and perform texts for spiritual and social effects on religious objects, cultures, traditions and themselves. Repeatable 1 time(s), 9 credits maximum
REL 621 Teaching World Religions in Theory and Practice The complexities of teaching introductory courses in world religions, especially in the context of recent debates on comparison as well as the very concept of “religion.” Graduate standing
REL 622 Sacrifice Sacrifice An investigation of “sacrifice” as a name for ritual and non-ritual practices in contemporary and historical societies and in academic discourse about religions and cultures.
REL 625 Pluralism in Islam Historical development of multiple discourses within the Muslim world. Role of Islamic texts, institutions, and contexts on intra-Islamic politics of identity, representation, and religious authority. Hybridity and syncretism of Islams in contemporary local contexts. Permission of instructor.
REL/MES 626 Beyond the Veil: Gender Politics in Islam Crosslisted with: MES/SAS/WGS 465 Double-numbered with: REL 626. Politics of gender, religious identities, and resistance in the Islamic world. Gender scripts in Qur’anic scripture and Shariah laws. Contemporary realities of Muslim women living in different parts of the world. Additional work required of graduate students.
REL 627 Globalization and Religion: Processes and Problems Sophisticated works in globalization theory emerge from sociology, economics, political history, and contemporary cultural studies with broad significance for the study of religion. Bringing these into conversation with religious studies is the project of this seminar. Graduate standing.
REL/ANT 628 Muslim Rituals, Practices and Performances Historical, cultural, and sociological analysis of pan-Islamic festivals and rituals. Local, culturally-specific, unofficial practices in Islam. Permission of instructor.
REL 629 Islamic Metaphysics and Epistemology

Crosslisted with: PHI 629. In-depth study of the main epistemological systems and theories of metaphysics developed in Islamic intellectual tradition. Explores the systems of interpretation of the Qur’an and Sunnah developed by legal scholars, mystics and philosophers.

REL 630 Textual Bodies in the Study of Religion An exploration of the intersections of texts and bodies within religious cultures texts as bodies (from literary corpus to material object), bodies as texts (inscribed and read), and above all bodies in texts. Repeatable 2 time(s), 9 credits maximum
REL 640 The Philosophical Foundations of Religion Philosophic and religious heritage highlighted by Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Augustine, and Aquinas. Focus varies from year to year.
REL 642/ANT 691 Critical Issues in the Study of Native Americans Crosslisted with: ANT 691. Methodological issues related to studies of indigenous traditions and develops interpretive strategies for using literature about Native American religions.
REL/WGS 644 Feminist Theology Feminist theology as a global religious movement from its roots in U.S. feminism to its current political and philosophical battles.
REL 650 Themes in 19th-Century Religious Thought Religious thought in 19th -century Europe and America. Themes may include God, freedom, and selfhood; Romanticism and religion; and religion, freedom, and slavery. Figures examines may include Kierkegaard, Kant, Douglass, Emerson, and others.
REL/ANT/SOC 651 Classics in the Sociology of Religion and Morals In-depth study of the classical sociological writings of Emile Durkheim and Max Weber and their contemporary significance.
REL 652 Psychoanalysis and Religious Ethics Psychoanalysis and its implications for religious ethics.
REL 653 Postmodern Ethics Selected philosophical and religious perspectives on postmodern ethics. Readings from Rorty, Stout, Kristeva, Wyschogrod, MacIntyre, Nussbaum, and others.
REL 654 Religious Corporealities Ways in which corporealities are shaped by and shape religious texts and traditions, philosophically and practically. Potential topics include nudity, body, flesh, skin, and sensuality with attention to sexuality and biopolitics.
REL 656 Christianity and the Enlightenment Theological responses of representative thinkers to the challenges of the new science, natural religion, Deism, and the philosophies of the European Enlightenment. Prereq: permission of instructor.
REL 658 The Other in Ethics The significance of the Other in contemporary religious and philosophical ethics. Readings in Levinas, Lacan, Derrida, Kristeva, Critchley, Caputo. Permission of instructor.
REL 659 Kierkegaard Seminar This seminar examines a wide array of themes and issues in Kierkegaard’s religious thought with may include Kierkegaard and Romanticism; Kierkegaard on Love, God, and Selfhood; Kierkegaard and Politics; Kierkegaard’s Existential Aesthetics. R2, 9 credits maximum.
REL 660 Continental Philosophy Continental philosophers such as Husseri, Heidegger, Levinas, Derrida, Foucault, Deleuze, Irigaray, and Marion. Their influence on theology, religious theory. Topics include: overcoming onto-theology; phenomenology, deconstruction and theology; return of religion. Course may be repeated twice.
REL/WGS 661 Self, Body, Transcendence Examines continental philosophy and other feminist theory for intersections between religion, subject formation and/or bodily practice.
REL 662 Marx and Foucault Texts from Marx and Foucault are read for their implications for Religion scholars.
REL 663 Religion and Revolution Texts from theology and political theory that examine their mutual terms, themes, and concerns.
REL 665 Religion and Mass Culture Twentieth-century theories of mass culture are read for their use and implications for religion scholars.
REL 667 Postmodern Theology Philosophical background of postmodernism and its theological and cultural expressions. Content varies. May be repeated for credit.
REL 668 Critical Theory in Theology Theories of discourse formation and textual production in theology in relationship to the critique of ideologies of theory.
REL 671 Religion and Post-Freudian Depth Psychologies Contemporary psychoanalytic theories and their implications for interpreting religious phenomena: Melanie Klein, Jacques Lacan, D.W. Winnicott, Erick Erickson, Hans Leowald, Heinz Kohut, Christopher Bollas, and others. Permission of instructor.
REL/JSP 676 Religion and Literature Readings in Judaic literature, with emphasis on allegorical, hasidic, neohasidic writings by Nahman of Bratslav, Joseph Perl, I.L. Peretz, Franz Kafka, Isaac Babel, and S.Y. Agnon.
REL 685 Buddhism, Culture, Modernity Explores the diversity of adaptations by Buddhist adherents to the global condition of modernity and the ways in which modernity has created what we think of as Buddhism today.
REL 686 Zen Master Dogen Selected writings of the thirteenth-century Japanese Zen master dogen Zenji. Related Mahayana Buddhist texts. Prereq: permission of instructor.
REL 687 Global Hinduism Exploring how mobile middle-class Hindus recreate and redefine religion in new urban and global environments as a context for rethinking the place of religion(s) within rapid world-wide urbanization, migration, globalization, and increasing cultural (dis)integration. Additional work required of graduate students. Graduate standing or junior or senior.
REL/ANT 689 Memory, Culture, Religion Collective memory and constructions of the past as cultural phenomena; the roles religious identities, values, and institutions play as individuals, communities, and nations recollect particular moments, eras, crises, and localities.
REL 691 Approaches to the Study of Religion Introduction to area studies and methodologies in the study of religion. Must be enrolled in the religion department M.A. program.
REL 692 Other People's Religions Explores the ways that Western studies of non-Western religions have dealt with difference. Central aim is to understand the politics of knowledge and the arts of interpretation involved in research and writing about other people’s religious traditions. Permission of instructor.
REL 693 Materiality of Religion Methodological issues related to the interpretation of diverse religious phenomena including architecture, the body, and land.
REL 696 Gender and Religion: Theory and Practice Focus on the intertwining of gender and religion; emphasis on gendered visions of power in mythic, symbolic, and ritual phenomena. Readings in feminist and anthropological theory as well as cultural cases in ethnography and history of religions. Permission of instructor.
REL 698 Anthropology of Religion Surveys contributions to theories by anthropologists on the role of religion in societies from the founding of the discipline to the present day.
REL/ANT 699 Writing Religions and Cultures: Ethnographic Practice A range of aims and strategies for writing ethnographies of religion in the multiple contexts of cultures, history, and politics.
REL 719 Research and Writing in the History and Thought of the New Testament Independent Study.
REL 739 Research and Writing in the History and Thought of Israel Independent Study.
REL 749 Research and Writing in Religion and Society Independent Study.
REL 759 Research and Writing in Religious History and Thought Independent Study.
REL 769 Research and Writing in Philosophy of Religion and Theology Independent Study.
REL 779 Research and Writing in Religion and Culture Independent Study.
REL 789 Research and Writing in History of Religions Independent Study.
REL 799 Research and Writing in Methodology Independent Study.
REL 997 Master’s Thesis Repeatable.
REL 999 Dissertation Repeatable.
The 2016-2017 Syracuse University Department of Religion complete listing of courrses.