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Course Descriptions

  • RELG 118: Comparative Religious Ethics
    This course introduces the sources and patterns of moral reasoning within different religious traditions, both Western and non-Western. Participants compare arguments advocating specific positions on such issues as the morality of war, nature of corporate ethics, treatment of the environment, bio-ethical decision-making, rights of animals within a society, and the responsibility of government to protect its constituents. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ETHC 118
  • RELG 175: Early Christianity
    This course will offer a general introduction to the history of Christianity in the first two centuries of the Common Era, tracing the evolution of the movement from its beginnings as a sect within Second Temple Judaism to its emergence as a distinct religion in the Greco-Roman world. The course will also examine the role of major figures, beliefs, practices, phenomena and developments during the first two centuries. Special attention will be given to (1) the social, political, religious, and, philosophical milieu in which Christianity emerged, (2) the scholarly quest for 'historical Jesus,' (3) the significance of Paul and the growth of the movement (4) the relationship between Judaism and Christianity and (5) the various sects and conflicts in the first two centuries. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • RELG 180: Religion, SciFi, and Fantasy
    (Religion, Science Fiction, Fantasy) Of the literary genres, perhaps science fiction and fantasy best allow creative artists to imagine real and possible answers to the deep religious questions that have historically driven philosophers, theologians, and thinkers. Who are we? What do we want? Where did we come from? How does everything end? What is the meaning of life, the universe, and everything? In this class we examine science fiction and fantasy short stories, motion pictures, novels, and television programs to ask how creative artists and wider society have asked and answered these questions. We also consider how science fiction and fantasy have commented on and mirrored real-world religions. No prerequisites. Intended for first-year students and sophomores only.
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 180
  • RELG 185: Film and Religion
    Viewing films as meaningful texts, this course examines the perspectives offered by Asian and American filmmakers on such religious questions as: What does it mean to be human? How does death inform the living of life? How do values shape relationships? What is community and how is it created? What is ethical behavior? The range of films explored here function as vehicles for entering religious worldviews, communicating societal values, and probing different responses to the question of how to live a meaningful life. No prerequisites. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ASIA 185, CINE 185
  • RELG 200: Tpcs: Africana Women's Relg Exprnce
    (Spring 2019 Topic: Africana Women's Religious Experience.) New Description: This course explores the multidimensional religious experiences of Africana women, specifically Black women throughout the Americas, Africa, and the Caribbean, as they attempt to define and realize a sacred self across diverse periods and contexts. We give attention to the voices of Africana women in history and literature, film, performance, sacred speech and music to examine the ways religion has empowered and disempowered Black women in their individual and collective lives. Prerequisite: One course in either GSWS or AFAM. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: AFAM 208, GSWS 208
  • RELG 210: Religions of Indigenous Peoples
    Our increased awareness of the global community has given rise to a new interest in the religions of indigenous peoples. This course will explore the religious heritage of Native Americans, Africans, and Australian aborigines and other indigenous peoples, including their views of the role of human beings relative to the rest of nature. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • RELG 211: Global Judaism
    This course explores the origin, development, and contemporary life of Judaism. We will focus on how both ancient and contemporary Judaism emerge from a mix of different cultural and social forces, and how this religion has been shaped by thousands of years of spread (diaspora) throughout the globe. We consider texts, practices, and community developments, and look at Judaism as not just a historical religion but one that continues to develop and change today. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • RELG 212: Global Christianity
    This course explores the origin, development, and contemporary state of Christianity with reference to the many cultures and societies that have shaped it, the world's largest religion. We begin with the origin and early development of Christianity within the context of ancient Judaism and the Roman Empire. We consider the development of Christianity into its many contemporary forms, and focus throughout the class on how Christianity is practiced throughout the world. We pay special attention to how Christianity has developed in places unfamiliar to most Americans, such as Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: IREL 262
  • RELG 213: Global Islam
    This course explores the origin and development of the Islamic religious tradition, along with varying interpretations of Islamic law and prominent issues facing contemporary Muslims around the world. Participants in the course read classical and contemporary literature as windows into Muslim life in different cultures and historical periods, and view Islamic art and architecture as visual texts. To learn about the rich diversity within Islam, students can work with texts, rituals, poetry, music, and film from a range of cultures within the Muslim world, from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia to Europe and North America. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ASIA 213, ISLM 213, IREL 263
  • RELG 214: Global Hinduism
    This course examines the teachings of the Hindu religious tradition as presented in the earliest writings of the tradition, as well as in dramas, epic narratives, and contemporary religious practice. In the course of the semester, we will visit Hindu Temples in the Chicago area as we explore the historical, social, and cultural context of Indian religious themes as they continue to be practiced in the 21st century. Texts range from philosophical musings about the nature of the universe to the story of a king who loses his wife to a 10-headed demon. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ASIA 214, IREL 264
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  • RELG 215: Global Buddhism
    An introduction to the origins of Buddhism in India as well as to the major cultural and historical influences on the spread of Buddhism throughout Asia, particularly in India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Tibet, China, and Japan. The course will examine various forms of Buddhist practice including devotion, ethics, sangha membership, meditation, rituals, and festivals. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ASIA 215, IREL 265
  • RELG 216: Chinese Religions
    Focusing primarily on the teachings of the Confucian (and neo-Confucian), Daoist, and early Chinese Buddhist traditions, we will explore the concepts and practices of these communities within their historical, cultural, and social contexts. Reading narrative, poetic, and classical texts in translation that present such ideas as the ethics of human-heartedness, the relativity of all things, and the importance of self-sacrifice, we will discuss what teachings these masterful texts offer 21st century questioners. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ASIA 216, IREL 266
  • RELG 219: Malcolm and Martin
    (Malcolm & Martin: The Literature of Peace & Resistance.) Malcolm X (el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz) and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., two prominent leaders of the Civil Rights Movement so often put into conversation with each other, have left us a legacy for how we think about social struggle-whether it be through the message of non-violence and Christian love that Martin Luther King, Jr. preached, or through the message of fearless self-defense and resistance "by any means necessary" for which Malcolm X came to be known. Both leaders were prolific authors whose works, singular in style and rich in rhetoric, comprise a seminal part of the American literary canon, and have been regularly featured by authors of creative works in fiction, drama, poetry, etc. since their publication. This course is an opportunity to delve deeply into the words of both men, long considered the authors of two disparate ways of viewing and engaging in civic struggle in America. We will look at the creative activist writings of each-speeches, letters, interviews, autobiographical material-and complicate what at first seems a simple battle between "violent" and "non-violent" approaches to liberation. No prerequisites. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement).
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 219
  • RELG 220: Islam and Pop Culture
    In recent decades the global Islamic revival has produced a new generation of Muslim film stars and fashion models, Sufi self-help gurus, Muslim comic book heroes, romance novel writers, calligraphy artists, and even Barbie dolls. This course explores the pop sensations, market niches, and even celebrity scandals of 'Popular Islam' within the broader context of religious identity, experience, and authority in Islamic traditions. Balancing textual depth with geographic breadth, the course includes several case studies: Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mali, Turkey, and North America. Students will learn about how religious trends are created -- and debated -- on pop culture's public stage. We will reflect critically on both primary materials and inter-disciplinary scholarly writings about the relationships between pop culture, religious identities, devotional practices, and political projects. No pre-requisites. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ASIA 220, ISLM 220, IREL 260
  • RELG 221: Dialogue: Race, Ethnicity, Religion
    In a culturally and socially diverse society, exploring issues of difference, conflict, and community is needed to facilitate understanding and improve relations between social/cultural groups. In this course, students will engage in meaningful discussion of controversial, challenging, and divisive issues in society related to race, ethnicity, and religion. Students will be challenged to increase personal awareness of their own cultural experience, expand knowledge of the historic and social realities of other cultural groups, and take action as agents of positive social change in their communities. This course requires a high level of participation from all students. Note: This course earns .5 credits. No prerequisites. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ETHC 250, AFAM 250
  • RELG 223: Does God Exist?
    This course considers arguments for and against the existence of God, as well as the resources and methods those arguments use. After some discussion of logic and argumentation, we will consider questions such as: how could one demonstrate that God does or does not exist? What would constitute 'proof' of such a claim? How are faith and reason working for similar or opposed ends in such arguments? What does the character of arguments for or against God's existence say about human life and thought? To address these questions, we will consider the works of theologians and philosophers from monotheistic traditions.
    Cross-listed as: PHIL 223
  • RELG 230: Religion and Politics
    This course examines the complex social, historical, and intellectual forces that impact the relationships between religion and politics. Students begin by exploring the historical genealogy of Western ideas about the proper role of religion in the public square. We draw from various theoretical approaches in order to better understand particular conflict situations such as contemporary U.S. political debates on the role of religion in policy-making; the tension between Islam and democracy in Turkey; the head scarf debate in France; and the actions of Christian and Buddhist monks during the Vietnam War. We will critically reflect on the role of religious ideologies as well as the ways in which religious explanations of politics and violence can obscure more enduring histories of power relations. No prerequisites. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: POLS 230, IREL 267
  • RELG 234: Witches, Preachers, and Mystics
    In this course students consider the historical development of religion in the United States of America. We study topics such as the contact between Native Americans and European settlers, religion and the founding of the Republic, religious revivals and awakenings, immigration and religion, the rise of new forms of religion in the United States, responses to scientific and technological developments, and the entangling of religion and politics. The course covers religion from the colonial period to the dawn of the twentieth century. No prerequisites.
    Cross-listed as: HIST 234, AMER 234
  • RELG 235: Relig in Contemp America
    This discussion-based course is driven by contemporary events and issues in American religion. Students are asked to follow news and social media coverage of current issues in religion, which we analyze in class. In addition to topical current issues, we cover important factors influencing American religion such as religious pluralism and diversity, immigration, alternative religions, religion in popular culture, and politics. Finally, we look to how today's generation of college students and other young adults are reshaping religion in contemporary America. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • RELG 237: African American Religions
    This course is an exploration of the rich diversity of African American religions from the colonial period to the present. Attention will be given to key figures, institutional expressions as well as significant movements in North America, the Caribbean and broader Black Atlantic. Major themes include African traditions in American religions, slavery and religion, redemptive suffering, sacred music, social protest, Black Nationalism, African American women and religion, religion in hip hop and secularity in black religious literature. Students will learn about the ways these themes have often served both as unique contributions to and critiques of America?s political establishment and social landscape. No prerequisites. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: AFAM 237, AMER 230
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  • RELG 238: Religion and Place in Chicago
    (Religion, Space, and Architecture in Chicago) This course looks to the way that religious communities have created and used different spaces in the greater Chicago area, paying attention to Chicago as a specifically urban place. We focus on both neighborhoods and sacred spaces themselves, including the architectural forms of these spaces. We examine the effects of immigration and urban change on neighborhoods and congregations. This course covers a diverse range of historical and living communities, drawing from the tools of religious studies, history, urban studies, and architectural studies. It also includes numerous field site visits, with much of the instruction taking place on location in Chicago's sacred spaces. No prerequisites. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: AMER 238
  • RELG 240: Religious Perspectives Environment
    The current environmental crises rest on a layer of philosophical and religious assumptions that are currently being challenged. Are human beings the center of the universe? Is humankind's mandate to dominate nature? Does nature belong to human beings or do human beings belong to nature? Contemporary Judaic, Christian, and Islamic ecological visions and action programs will be considered, along with the religious views and practices of particular native cultures of North and South America, Australia, and Africa. Participants may also discuss ecological perspectives derived from South and East Asian religious cultures. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ES 240
  • RELG 241: Religion & Science
    Even a cursory look at today's news reveals that the relationship between religion and science is a hot topic. So it has been for many centuries. In this course, we consider historical and contemporary issues in the relationship between religion and science in the modern world. We make use of historical, philosophical, and literary approaches to study how individuals and groups have understood religion and science, and how they have sought to understand and relate to the natural world. No prerequisites.
  • RELG 242: Cults, Sects, and Communes
    This course provides an introduction to the study of new religious movements, popularly called sects and cults, and the communal movements that are their more secularized cousins. We will consider several case studies and examine the wider phenomenon of such groups in the modern world. We will pay attention to the traditional sociological issues of leadership, charisma, conversion, and belief maintenance, as well as the lived practices and experiences of members of such groups, such as rituals, gender practices, and holidays. No prerequisites.

    Cross-listed as: SOAN 242
  • RELG 243: Religion and Popular Culture
    This course explores the ways in which religion has figured into major works of popular entertainment of (mostly) the 20th and 21st centuries. We read novels, short stories, poetry, and comic books; watch films and television shows; play board games; scroll through Instagram and blogs; and discuss academic theories about popular culture and religion. We engage with story-tellers who have used religion to make certain arguments, examine what religion enables people to do or say in creative work, and think critically about the role religion plays in what we consume for entertainment. No prerequisites.
  • RELG 245: Martyrdom in Early Christianity
    (Faithful to the Very End: Martyrdom in Early Christianity) Looking at early Christian teachers and narrative accounts of martyrs' deaths, this course examines the underlying logic and hopes encouraging these martyrs to make the ultimate sacrifice. Perhaps as early as Saint Steven, only a few years after the death of Jesus and continuing for centuries thereafter, remarkable Christians willingly underwent profound humiliation and excruciating pain in stubborn refusal to compromise their faith in a crucified messiah. The course focuses on the first three centuries of Christian history, tracing the political circumstances leading to the martyrs' deaths, and the ways in which they planted the seeds to become themselves objects of veneration in later periods through the present day. No prerequisites.

  • RELG 248: Crusade & Holy War in Med Europe
    (Crusade and Holy War in Medieval Europe) Medieval Europe experienced widespread debate about the use of violence by Christians. The course considers early definitions of Just War and the attempts by the church to control violence around the year 1000. Detailed examination of the origin of the idea of crusade and the history of the First Crusade (1095-99) from Christian, Jewish, Greek, and Muslim perspectives. Examines the later medieval phenomenon of crusade against other Christians.
    Cross-listed as: HIST 243, ISLM 243
  • RELG 250: Philosophy of Religion
    This course is an introduction to the philosophy of religion. Particular emphasis is placed on the role of religious experience, ritual, prayer, and sacred books in articulating the idea of God. Course includes a philosophical encounter with mysticism as well as the more traditional metaphysical formulations of the divine, in both the West and East. The critical concern of a variety of rational skepticisms will also be examined.
    Cross-listed as: PHIL 250
  • RELG 255: 21st Century Islam
    The 1.5 billion Muslims around the world represent an immense diversity of languages, ethnicities, cultures, contexts and perspectives. This course focuses on 21st century issues faced by Muslims living in different cultures. Contemporary social issues are examined in light of different interpretations of Islamic practice, global communication and social networks, elements of popular culture, and the interface between religion and government. Biographies, short stories, contemporary journalism, and films that explore life in Muslim and non-Muslim countries present a nuanced portrait of contemporary Islam. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ISLM 255, ASIA 255, IREL 268
  • RELG 275: Female Religious Images in West
    Individual religious traditions have incorporated female images and ideals in different ways as goddesses, priestesses, and saints. The objective of this course is to examine ways in which the divine has been expressed in specifically female forms, as well as to examine the characteristics of female religious experience. Specific figures include Inanna, the central goddess figure of ancient Sumer; Eve and Sarah from the Hebrew Bible; Mary and female monastics from the Christian tradition; and contemporary Jewish, Christian, and Muslim women actively participating in their traditions. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: GSWS 275
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  • RELG 276: Female Religious Images in Asia
    Goddess figures in India, China, and Japan are studied in this class along with the roles of human women in particular Asian religious traditions. This class explores the experiences of Buddhist nuns, Hindu and Muslim female saints, traditional healers, and shamans. Readings are drawn from religious texts, myths, and short stories from specific Asian cultures. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ASIA 276, GSWS 276
  • RELG 286: Topics in Islamic Art
    This course examines the visual arts of early and medieval Islam from the seventh through the thirteenth centuries in Muslim territories, ranging from Central Asia to Spain. Through an examination of diverse media, we shall explore the role of visual arts played in the formation and expression of Islamic cultural identity. Topics will include the uses of figural and non-figural imagery, religious and secular art, public and private art and the status, function, and meaning of the portable luxury objects. No prerequisites. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ARTH 286, ISLM 286
  • RELG 300: Religion in Global Context
    Using a religious studies methodology, this course examines the nature of religious experience as expressed by different religious communities and cultures from ancient periods into the present. Members of the class choose individual research topics that might focus on religious artifacts, rituals, social movements, communities, and the ways that religious ideas influence societies. Case studies are diverse, representing many religious traditions, and may include descriptions of Vietnamese Buddhists negotiating religion in a non-religious state, American Christians walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, Jews making a living in World War II Shanghai, Hindus building Vaishnava temples in Chicago, or Indonesian designers setting 21st century high fashion trends for contemporary Muslims. This seminar is designed for religion majors and minors, but also welcomes students in other majors with appropriate preparation. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: IREL 360
  • RELG 307: Saints/Blood/Money Mdvl Christianty
    (Saints, Blood, and Money in Roman and Medieval Christianity.) This course will examine key questions debated by Christians from the origins of the faith in the Roman era to the end of the Middle Ages, many of which continue to be discussed today. These may include: should Christians use violence at all, and if so, under what circumstances? What is the correct relationship between the Church and the government? What makes a person a saint - celibacy? Harsh asceticism? Aiding the poor? Preaching the Gospel? What is the appropriate role of wealth and property in the life of a dedicated Christian? Should a Christian seeking religious truth rely only on the Bible and revelation, or do logic and scientific inquiry have a role to play? Students will work extensively with primary sources in translation and significant works of modern scholarship. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: HIST 322
  • RELG 310: Islamic Mysticism
    Muslim saints and seekers have performed mystical practices for more than 1300 years in areas stretching from Europe and North Africa to Turkey, Iran, and the Indian subcontinent. Contemporary holy men and holy women continue to teach such mystical practices as the dancing and whirling of dervishes, the up-tempo singing of qawwals in India and Pakistan, and the rhythmic chanting of Arabic verses in Egypt. In this course, we will explore the religious thinking of these holy men and women through their writing, art, and music. Texts will include novels, short stories, allegorical tales, biographies, and films. No prerequisite. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ISLM 310, ASIA 310
  • RELG 314: Hindu Pilgrimage: India and Chicago
    The course explores the ritual practice of pilgrimage at major pilgrimage sites in India, and at parallel temples in the Chicago area. Using extensive field visits and the framework of pilgrimage as the structure of the course, the class prepares for and visits 5-6 Hindu temples in the Chicago area to observe rituals being performed, speak with practitioners, and experience festival worship. Through reading and film, we examine the history, literature, ritual traditions, art, and music of Hindu pilgrims. Following specific pilgrimage routes, we explore this religious practice as it is conducted within 21st century cultures of expanding global communities, in India and in Chicago. The class will use primary source texts, maps, field visits to temples, film, and research to understand Hindu religious communities in India and Chicago. Prerequisite: Religion 214 or permission of instructor. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • RELG 315: US Catholic Immigrant Experience
    From the Irish who arrived before the Civil War to the Mexicans and Vietnamese who have come recently, the Catholic experience in the US has been a continuing story of immigration. This course examines how succeeding immigrant groups have practiced and lived their Catholic faith in different times and places. Religion cannot be separated from the larger social and economic context in which it is embedded, so the course will also pay attention to the ways in which the social and economic conditions that greeted the immigrants on their arrival shaped how they went about praying and working. Finally, the changing leadership of the Catholic Church will be taken into account, since it provided the ecclesiastical framework for the new Catholic arrivals. Prerequisite: HIST 120 or HIST 121 or permission of the instructor. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: HIST 315, AMER 315
  • RELG 316: Walking to Heaven: Pilgrimage Asia
    Using a seminar format, this course will explore pilgrimage sites in a range of different Asian cultures including India, China, Japan, Korea, and Pakistan. Students will choose a specific pilgrimage site and religious tradition as the focus of their research. Through reading, film, discussion, research, and student presentations, we will examine the roles of pilgrims and traders, sacred place and sacred time, and the ritual elements present in Asian pilgrimage practices across different religious traditions including Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity. Prerequisite: Religion 213, 214, 215 or 216 or permission of instructor. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • RELG 318: Buddhism and Social Activism
    This course focuses on contemporary Buddhist practitioners in Asia, North America, and Europe committed to environmental movements, human rights activism, prison work, education in impoverished communities, women's rights advocacy, hospice care, and peacemaking. Engaged Buddhists from Japan and Vietnam to Thailand, Burma/Myanmar, India, and North America advocate social action rooted in Buddhist values as a form of religious practice. Using Buddhist texts, films, and case studies, participants research specific aspects of contemporary Engaged Buddhist practice, as a way to explore the relationship between social action and spiritual understanding. Students with experience in the following disciplines may find this course particularly intriguing: sociology, anthropology, environmental studies, history, politics, international relations, women?s studies, and Asian Studies. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ASIA 318
  • RELG 319: European Reformations: 1200-1600
    The Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-Reformation were a major turning-point in the political, social and religious history of the West. This course will examine: the background to the Reformations in Pauline and Augustinian theology and medieval reform movements; the writings of key figures including Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and Loyola; the political and social ramifications of the Reformations, particularly in France, England, and the German Empire; the tradition of historiography on the Reformations.
    Cross-listed as: HIST 328
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  • RELG 320: Topics in the Study of Religion
    This seminar examines in depth one particular subject area in religious studies. Topics vary from year to year. For Spring 2017, the topic is Religion, Architecture, and Space in Chicago. Chicago is renowned as one of the most vibrant centers of religious diversity and architectural sophistication in the United States. This course looks to the intersection between American religion and American architecture to study how communities of faith have created and used different urban and suburban spaces in the greater Chicago area. We focus on immigrant groups, neighborhoods, and sacred spaces themselves. This course includes both historical and living communities and spaces, drawing from the tools of religious studies, history, urban studies, and architectural studies, and features several hands-on site visits. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • RELG 326: Identity/Body/Persecution Med Europ
    (Identity, Body, and Persecution in Medieval Europe) Medieval men and women discussed many of the same questions of identity that we do: What makes an individual unique? How does group affiliation affect identity? What is the relationship between identity and change? How does faith in God influence understanding of the individual? This course considers the following topics: medieval conceptions of the individual in Christian autobiography; the role of the body and gender in determining identity (exploring topics such as the Eucharist, the cult of saints, and sex difference); how medieval Europeans defined their own identity by persecuting the 'other,' including heretics, Jews, and lepers; how change affected identity in medieval texts such as werewolf stories and resurrection theology.
    Cross-listed as: HIST 326, GSWS 305
  • RELG 335: Religion and Food
    Everyone eats, and every religion talks about eating. In this class, we sample from a rich menu of religious approaches to food, making use of scholarly articles, spirituality guides, cookbooks, and memoirs. From the Christian Communion to Jewish Kosher laws to the Buddhist mindful eating, the world's major religions use food to structure the lives, practices, and beliefs of their adherents. In this class we digest some of the symbolic meanings, self-definitions, and communal and individual identities that develop out of religion and food. Prerequisite: Any Religion course or permission of instructor.(Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • RELG 380: J.R.R. Tolkien and the Inklings
    (J.R.R. Tolkien and the Literature of the Inklings.) This seminar will examine the literary legacy of J.R.R. Tolkien and his fellow writers C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and Owen Barfield -- all pioneers of the twentieth-century fantasy fiction genre. This course will involve close reading of major works by each author as well as opportunity to discuss the fascinating biographical, historical, aesthetic, and mythic underpinnings of their works. The seminar will pay especial attention to the Inklings' intellectual and artistic indebtedness to the medieval past, to their discourses about religion, politics, and ethics, to their eccentric relationship with "literary modernism," and to the way their fiction refracts major twentieth-century events, particularly World Wars I and II. Prerequisite: ENGL 210 or permission of the instructor.
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 405
  • RELG 390: Sociology of Religion
    This seminar starts with major classical theories of sociology of religion including those of secularization and privatization of religion in the modern world. Then we shall examine the relevant events of the past quarter of the century, namely the sudden explosion of politicized and highly public religions in the Western and the non-Western worlds. The existing sociological literature didn't anticipate the current significance of religion and this tension is expected to generate interesting debates in this seminar. Special attention will be given to a comparative study of public religions in Western countries (e.g., Brazil, Poland, Spain, and the United States) and in the Middle East (Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia). Pre-requisites: SOAN 110 and any SOAN course at the 200 level or higher or consent of the instructor. (Meets the GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: SOAN 390, IREL 375
  • RELG 490: Internship

  • RELG 492: Senior Seminar
    This course focuses on independent research with seminar-style discussion in meetings with students and faculty, with particular attention paid to methods in the study of religion. Each participant will write and present a major research paper. The seminar will provide a forum in which students will explore different methodological approaches and discuss their research with others. Required of all religion majors in their junior or senior year except those completing their senior capstone requirement by writing a senior thesis. Open to non-majors with appropriate preparation and permission of the instructor. Prerequisites: At least three courses in religion.
  • RELG 493: Research Project
    Research in collaboration with a departmental faculty member. Consult with any member of the department for application information.
  • RELG 494: Senior Thesis
    Research guided by a departmental faculty member culminating in a senior thesis, fulfilling the College's Senior Studies Requirement. Consult any member of the department for further information.