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Religious Studies | Arabic Language | Persian Language | New Courses

Religious Studies Courses

ASIA 3633: Self-Cultivation in Ancient China

300 BCE to 500 CE. Methods, goals, and contexts of self-cultivation in antiquity. Breathing exercises, meditation, visualization, sexual arts, sacrifice, alchemy, and other practices in their religious, cultural, and social contexts.

GSS 2234: Women in Judaism

Judaism and feminism. Women in the Hebrew Bible, Jewish law, natural philosophy, and history. Case studies in Jewish medieval and modern contexts; problems of assimilation and cultural specificity in modern society.

RLST 1010: Encountering Religious Diversity

Essential beliefs and practices of the world’s major religious traditions. Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Contemporary scholarship and perspectives on religious encounters from each of these traditions. [3]

RLST 1111: First-Year Writing Seminar

Independent learning and inquiry in an environment in which students can express knowledge and defend opinions through intensive class discussion, oral presentations, and written expression. [3]

RLST 1208: Themes in the Hebrew Bible

A thematic introduction to the Hebrew Scripture/Old Testament. Selected themes, such as creation, revelation, covenant, law, suffering, messianic expectation, are traced through the diverse parts of the Bible (Pentateuch, Prophetic Writings, and Wisdom Literature) as well as in early Jewish texts. [3]

RLST 1309: Themes in the New Testament

A comparative study of New Testament documents following central themes – such as salvation; evil and sin; the roles of Christ, God, and the Spirit; discipleship; the church; sacred history. The distinctive teaching of each New Testament document as related to a concrete historical setting. Comparison with similar themes in Jewish and Hellenistic texts of that period. [3]

RLST 1500: Introduction to Islam

An historical overview of the different religious traditions in Islam, their basis in the Qur’an and life of the Prophet, their proliferation in the medieval period, and their response to the challenge of modernity. Topics include Sunni and Shi’i Islam, evolution of law and theology, Sufism and political philosophy. Islam in Africa, India, Spain, and southeast Asia as well as the Middle East. [3]

RLST 1700: Religions in China

Major religious traditions of China. Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, state-sponsored religious systems, and popular religion. Thought and practice from ancient times to the present. [3]

RLST 2134: Asian and Asian-American Religions in the United States

Practices and transformations of Asian religions in the United States by Asian immigrants and their children. Race, gender, sexuality, politics, nationalism, and media. [3]

RLST 2229W: Contested Ground: Sacred Sites Across the Ancient World

Sacred places and structures from the Paleolithic to the medieval period. Comparisons of religious sites worldwide. Cultural heritage and the historical and contemporary politics of ancient religious sites. [3]

RLST 2250W: History of the Bible

Jewish and Christian Bibles from the formation of earliest bibles to the present. Major forms of the Bible, major interpretive approaches, and impact on politics and culture. [3]

RLST 2644: Buddhist Traditions

Historical and thematic survey of foundational, Mahayana, and esoteric Buddhist traditions. Mythology, doctrine, meditation, devotional practices, and institutions. Contemporary case studies from Asia and North America. [3]

RLST 2664: Foundations of Hindu Traditions

Hindu cosmology and the ritual structure of sacrifice. The effect of the law of cause and effect (karma) on the moral order of the universe (dharma). The emergence of bhakti devotion to key gods and goddesses. The escape from the cycle of lives through yoga, introspection, and devotion. Pilgrimage mapping and the sacred geography of ancient and modern India. Classical mythology of the Vedas, Epics, and Puranas. [3]

RLST 3010: Religion, Mindfulness, and Healing

Histories of contemporary mindfulness practices; their origins in both Buddhist and U.S liberal religious traditions. Current uses in medicine, religion, and other spheres of society. Secularization, cultural appropriation, and social consciousness/amnesia. [3]

RLST 3129: Race and Religion in America

The religious foundations of racial myths, symbols, images, conflicts, and cultures from the sixteenth century to the present. Gender, violence, sexuality, media, and popular culture. [3].

RLST 3350: Christian-Jewish Relations in Medieval and Early Modern Europe.

Political and cultural history from the medieval persecutions to the expansion of religious toleration in the Enlightenment. Close consideration of legal toleration, banishments, re-admissions, and the impact of Christian reform movements. [3]

RLST 3472: Religion and Climate Change.

Role of religion in climate change and as response to planetary catastrophe. Religious and literary texts. Historical, philosophical, and anthropological work. [3]

RLST 3747: Daoist Tradition

Historical and thematic survey of the Daoist tradition in China. Philosophical classics and religious scriptures, as well as social history are covered. Daoism today. [3]

RLST 3753: East Asian Buddhism

East Asian Buddhist texts. Key Buddhist ideas, values, practices, and institutions. Chronological surveys of key developments in major historical period. [3]

RLST 3921: Ethics and Ecology

Relationships among humans, nature, and the sacred. Focus on understandings of our ‘dominion’ over non-human nature. The role of religion in shaping attitudes and behaviors regarding the environment. Topics include eco-centered ethics, ‘creation care,’ reliance on fossil fuels, and alternative sustainable scenarios. [3]

RLST 3926: Ancient Goddesses

Ancient concepts of the feminine divine in literature and iconographic evidence. Specific goddesses, their spheres of influence, and their place in the various pantheons. Cultic practices and religious syncretism across cultures, including Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Ancient Israel. Offered on a graded basis only. [3]

RLST 4551: Islamic Mysticism

Origins and development of mystical traditions in Islam; rise of asceticism; early Sufis; development and systematization of Sufi orders and teachings; evolution of theosophical dimensions of mysticism; present day Sufism and its spread in North America; comparison of Islamic mysticism with other forms of mysticism. [3]

RLST 4552: Islam in the Modern World

Impact of colonialism on Muslim societies and everyday life in the cities of the Middle East. Analysis through literary, religious, political, and ethnographic texts. Relationship of Sharia to the modern state; impact of modernity on the understanding and practice of religion. [3]

RLST 4554: The Qur’an and Its Interpreters

The Qur’an and the Islamic tradition of interpretation. The treatment of Biblical prophets, Jesus and Satan. Interpretations will be drawn from all time periods including rationalist, dogmatic, Shi’i and mystical schools of interpretation. [3]

RLST 4834: Post-Freudian Theories and Religion

An examination of contemporary European and American schools of psychoanalysis. Focus on both the clinical and explanatory theories as they relate to the examination of religious experience. [3]

RLST 4970: Majors Colloquium

Class presentations and critical readings of student projects and professional writings. [1]

RLST 4960W: Approaches to the Academic Study of Religion

Theories and methods for the academic study of religious traditions. [3]

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Arabic Language Courses

ARA 1101-1102: Elementary Arabic

Arabic script, basic grammar, and vocabulary. [5]

ARA 2201-2202: Intermediate Arabic

Use of acquired vocabulary and its application to a variety of situations. Students read and understand authentic materials of average difficulty, as well as discuss and debate familiar topics. [3]

ARA 3101-3102: Advanced Arabic

Of all four skills, reading and speaking are emphasized; authentic materials are used, and grammar learned in proper context.  Literary techniques and observations. [3]

ARA 3201: Media Arabic

Simulate and analyze Arabic media materials.  Coverage of TV broadcasts, headline news, documentaries, and public discussions of political, religious, and cultural issues. [3]

ARA 3301: Arabic of the Qur’an and Other Classical Texts

Syntactical and morphological features of Classical Arabic. Texts drawn from the Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira (biographical) literature. [3]

RLST 4592: Advanced Readings in Arabic Literature

Exploring Arabic novels and modern literary and poetic forms. [3]

RLST 4593: Advanced Readings in Islamic Tradition

Readings and discussion of Qur’an, Hadith, Sira, and other early Arabic materials. [3]

PERS 1101-1102: Elementary Persian

Development of reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills. [3]

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Persian Language Courses

PERS 1101-1102: Elementary Persian

Development of reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills. [3]

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New Courses

Fall 2023 – RLST 3007: Religion, Culture, and Society

Spring 2024 – Religion and Intersex: Perspectives from Science, Law, Culture, and Theology

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