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Fall 2017 Course Offerings

Religious Studies Courses

RLST 1010.  Encountering Religious Diversity.  STEWART  (MW 4:00-5:15)  –  HCA   
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. 

RLST 1111.  First-Year Writing Seminar- Buddhist Literature from Buddha to the Beats.  LOWE  (TR 9:35-10:50) – INT
Buddhist Literature From Buddha to the Beats Spanning more than 2000 years, Buddhism boasts a tradition rich in literary expression including works by luminaries ranging from the ancient Indian philosopher to modern day novelists such as Jack Kerouac and Herman Hesse. But why have these individuals authored narratives and composed poetry to communicate religious messages? What is the relationship between religion and literature? In this course, we will explore these issues through close readings of primary texts such as "Life of the Buddha," "Journey to the West," "Siddhartha," and "The Dharma Bums," alongside secondary scholarship from diverse academic disciplines.

RLST 1700. Religions in China . CAMPANY (MWF 10:10-11:50)   – INT
Major religious traditions of China. Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, state-sponsored religious systems, and popular religion. Thought and practice from ancient times to the present.

RLST 2250W. History of the Bible. PRICE (MWF 11:10-12:50) – HCA
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.

RLST 2315. Christian Theologies. SCHNEIDER (MWF 1:10-2:00) –  HCA  
Ancient, modern and contemporary debates in theology. Ideas of God, Jesus, Spirit, salvation, evil, and liberation. Key questions of science, belief, theism, race, gender, and colonial impact of Christian ideas. St. Paul, Augustine, Calvin, Tillich, Gutierrez, Cone, Daly, and Althaus-Reid.

RLST 2664. Foundations of Hindu Traditions. STEWART (MW 2:10-3:25) – INT
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.

RLST 3229. The Holocaust: Its Meanings and Implications. GELLER (TR 11:00-12:15) – P
Interdisciplinary study of the systematic destruction of European Jewish communities during WWII. Historical, social, political, cultural developments that led to it. Psychological and sociological dimensions of its aftermath. Philosophical and theological problems it raises for both Jews and Christians. No credit for students who earned credit for JS 156 in fall 2013.

RLST 3890. Special Topics in Religious Studies- Human Rights, Human Trafficking, and Remaking of Global Christianity . LIM (M 1:10-3:40) 

RLST 3926. Ancient Goddesses. Azzoni (T 3:10-5:00) – INT
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.

RLST 3941. Religion, Science, and Evolution. GAY (TR 11:00-12:15) – SBS
Interactions between science and religion from antiquity to Charles Darwin. Subsequent modifications of Darwinism and religious responsibilities to evolutionary theories. 

RLST 4774. Japanese Mythology. LOWE (TR 1:10-2:25) – INT
Antiquity to the present. Classic myths and re-tellings over time. Introduction to theoretical frameworks including comparative and historical. Politics, gender, and performance.

RLST 4960W.  Approaches to the Academic Study of Religion.  GAY  (TR 2:35-3:50) – HCA
Theories and methods for the academic study of religious traditions. Open only to junior and senior majors and minors. 

RLST 4970. Majors Colloquium. LOWE (T 12:10-1:00)   
“Majors Colloquium” is designed to initiate the student into the full range of professional activities in the study of religion. Students will learn to deliver both written and oral reviews of published works, hone research skills and field methods, explore practical issues of preparing a paper for publication as an article, and extend the skills of the formal study of religion to various forms of cultural production, such as film, visual art, music, and web-based activities. The content of this course will vary from term to term. May be repeated for credit twice for a total of 3 credit hours. Open only to majors. 

HIST 1760. History of Christian Traditions. PRICE (MWF 9:10-10:00) - HCA
Origins to the present. Jewish origins, formation of a Catholic tradition, church-state relations, and the social and cultural contexts of changing Christian beliefs and practices.


Language Courses

ARA 1101.  Elementary Arabic.  HAMAD  (MTWRF 8:10-9:00) (MTWRF 9:10-10:00)  
(MTWRF 11:10-12:00) EIDO  –  INT 
Arabic is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world and one of the official languages of the United Nations. It's the vehicle of a great civilization that embodies thousands of years of heritage and has contributed significantly to the Renaissance. This course aims at providing you with a solid background in all four skills, i.e., listening, speaking, reading, and writing in Arabic. It seeks to establish a useful vocabulary base that you can use to converse at the elementary level, and to familiarize you with the basic structure of the Arabic sentence. It also introduces you to the fundamentals of Arabic grammar to produce simple Arabic sentences and sustain conversation orally, and to produce sentences and paragraphs in writing within the range of vocabulary and grammar taught. Understanding some cultural facets of the Arab world is an important component of the course. Five contact hour per week and individual work in the language laboratory. Students with prior Arabic experience will have to take a placement test. No exceptions.

ARA 2201.  Intermediate Arabic.  HAMAD  (TR 11:00-12:15)  –  INT 
In this course, you will continue to practice and develop all of the four language skills that are appropriate to this level, through an extensive use of the target language itself.  Intensive work on vocabulary acquisition to facilitate speaking, reading comprehension, and writing skills, by learning it in the contexts of more complex structures of the Arabic sentence, will be at the core of the course. Greater emphasis will also be placed on understanding various aspects of Arabic culture that will prepare students wishing to visit or re-visit the Arab world and survive its culture-shock.

ARA 3101. Advanced Arabic. EIDO (TR 1:10-2:25) – INT
This course offers an overview of the target language in its Modern Standard and Classical Arabic manifestations. Of all four skills that you have developed thus far, speaking and reading are emphasized. The spoken form of the language used to develop your speaking ability and bring it to an advanced-superior level is that used by highly-educated speakers of Arabic. Grammar is learned through the reading of authentic texts and in its proper context, while literary techniques and observations are highlighted to aid you in understanding and analyzing similar materials. Prerequisite: 2 years of Arabic at Vanderbilt (or its equivalent elsewhere) or approval by instructor. 

ARA 3301/ ARA5501. Arabic of the Qur'an and Other Classical Texts.  EIDO  (MW 1:10-2:25)  –  INT  
[Formerly ARA 250] Syntactical and morphological features of Classical Arabic. Differences and similarities with Modern Standard Arabic in vocabulary usage, semantic extensions, and context. Vocabulary borrowing. Texts drawn from the Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira (biographical) literature. Prerequisite: 2201.