REL 100. Religion, Dreams and the Dreaming Credits: 4. This cross-cultural course will consider the religious role of the dream as initiatory experience, metaphor for aboriginal time, gateway to the other world, venue for the divine guide, healing event, “royal road” to the unconscious and prophetic harbinger of the personal or collective future. This is an introductory course, and no previous academic experience in religious studies is expected or required. Fulfills humanities requirement.
REL 101. History of Religion in United States Credits: 4. Exploration of the interaction of American religion and culture. Examines aspects of the religious traditions of Native Americans, African-Americans, Roman Catholics, Jews and Protestants and the shift from a white Protestant to a pluralist America. Fulfills humanities and diversity in the U.S requirements.
REL 108. Spread of Buddhism Across Asia Credits: 4. The course begins with a study of the life of the Buddha, the early formation of Buddhism and the Mahayana reformation, then shifts to its major focus: study of the diffusion of Mahayana Buddhism across Central Asia and China, and into Japan and Korea. Fulfills intercultural requirement.
REL 109. QLSP Freshman Seminar Credits: 1. CR/NC
REL 110. Quakerism Credits: 4. Origins and development of the theology, social testimonies and institutional structure of the Quaker movement from the mid-17th century to the present, and their relevance to non-Quaker thought and life. Fulfills humanities requirement.
REL 120. American Nature Writing (ENGL 228) Credits: 4. Examines literary nature writing in America from the 19th century to the present, with a primary focus on the different ways writers have presented the natural world as sacred. Writings consider both our current estrangement from the natural world and possibilities for developing intimacy with the earth through a deep sense of "place." Fulfills humanities and social justice/environmental responsibility requirements.
REL 150. Special Topics Credits: 4. May also be offered at 250, 350 and 450 levels. Possible offerings include Sufism; Gendered Spiritualities; Music in the Muslim World; Exodus from Moses to Bob Marley; Feminine Images in Biblical and Christian Literature; Social Reform and Personal Therapy; 19th- and 20th-century American Religion and Mysticism.
REL 161. Religion in the New Media Credits: 4. Religion is in the news. It informs our perspectives and feeds our search for answers to many ethical questions about how individuals construct meaning and relevance in daily life. The quick answers to burning questions are often sought by the click of a button. New and emerging media renditions inform religion as much as religions permeate life. Fulfills the humanities requirement.
REL 171. Rumi and Revolution Credits: 4. This course will seek to study Rumi in primarily aesthetic terms by an examination of his own works and that of his companion, Shams Tabriz. The Rumi that has been recovered through the lens of western poets is also reclaimed by his compatriots in Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey. This study will also examine how current works by Turkish writers like Orhan Pamuk and Elif Shafaq stake their claim in their modern fictional renditions of the life and times of Rumi. Fulfills humanities and intercultural requirements.
REL 200. Native American Religions Credits: 4. An advanced introduction to the religion of several Native American tribes, such as the Cherokee, Sioux, Crow and Navaho. Explores the world-views/myths, rituals (including art, dance and music) and the life-ways of these different cultures. Also focuses on the long interaction between American white cultural imperialism and the religions of these indigenous people. Fulfills the humanities and diversity in the U.S. requirements.
REL 204. Islam Credits: 4. Introduces the Islamic religion in its various aspects, including its origins, cultures, rituals, beliefs and practices. The course aims to provide a holistic analysis of Muslim civilizations by exploring some aspects of their rich and diverse contributions through historical and current expressions. Fulfills humanities and intercultural requirements.
REL 208. Hinduism Credits: 4. Addresses the religions of India, primarily Hinduism, which is a way of life emphasizing practice more than doctrine; therefore, we look at the lives of people through narratives. We also address the thought and concomitant social systems forming the framework for its acceptance of diverse and often contradictory beliefs and practices. Fulfills intercultural requirement.
REL 209. QLSP Sophomore Seminar Credits: 1. CR/NC
REL 215. Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Credits: 4. The Hebrew Bible occupies a unique position in relation to the conventional dichotomies between modernity and tradition, East and West. This course will explore the “book” and the contradictions that envelop it, examining the Bible as a multifaceted compilation of ancient Hebrew (and Aramaic and Greek) literature and considering its various roles in contemporary life. Fulfills humanities requirement.
REL 216. New Testament Credits: 4. Explores the literature of the New Testament, emphasizing the manner in which each writer tries to express an understanding of the person and work of Jesus in relation to the early Christian community. Fulfills humanities requirement.
REL 222. Feminist Theologies Credits: 4. An exploration of 19th- and 20th-century feminist religious and theological writers. Considers such issues as the role of religious systems both in establishing and sustaining sexism and in being agents of transformation and justice; sexism and God-language; patriarchal and egalitarian views of human nature; women and ritual; and feminist views of society. Fulfills humanities and social justice/environmental responsibility requirements.
REL 230. Comparative Religious Ethics Credits: 4. This course explores the varieties of ethical concepts in different religions, while teaching how to think critically about the applicability of “ethics”as a category and showing how many ethical concepts including notions of “truth” often reflect multiple “truths” in the narratives of the religions, cultures and societies. Fulfills humanities and social justice/environmental responsibility requirements.
REL 234. African American Religion and Theology Credits: 4. This introductory course examines African American Christianity both chronologically and thematically from slave religion to the present and various expressions of Islam in U.S. Black communities during in the same period of time. It also pays attention to West African influences and to other religious expressions among African Americans, e.g. Judaism, Buddhism and Humanism. Fulfills humanities and diversity in the U.S. requirements.
REL 236. Reformation: Luther to Fox (HIST 236) Credits: 4. The course is designed to introduce students to a basic understanding of events and ideas of the Reformation era in Europe, ca. 1517 to 1660. A focal point of our readings will be the reformers’ view of the relation between political and ecclesiastical authority. Fulfills humanities requirement.
REL 240. History of Christianity Credits: 4. A one-semester survey of the history of the world Christian movement focusing on four centuries (4th, 12th, 16th, 19th).The course combines three approaches, history of institutions, history of spirituality and history of ideas, and pays close attention to the relationship between religion and culture and the social context of Christian churches. Fulfills humanities requirement.
REL 260. Independent Study Credits: 1-4. May also be offered at 360 and 460 levels. The individual formulation and completion of the study of a significant problem in the field of religion, such as Play, Celebration and Worship; Existential Psychology; Alchemy; Contemporary Social Change in the Church; Creativity and Imagination; or Women in Modern Japanese Religion.
REL 283. HP:Religions of the Minorities of Southwest China Credits: The course explores the religious traditions of the Naxi, Tibetans, Yi, Lisu, Moso, & Bai peoples of Yunnan Province in Southwest China. The Chinese “Cultural Revolution” (1966-1976), which systematically devastated the religious lives of these peoples, serves as the course’s central historical focus. Prerequisite: ENGL 102. Fulfills Historical Perspectives and intercultural requirements.
REL 285. Daoism Credits: 4. Explores Daoism, one of the most deeply pervasive and enduring religious/philosophical traditions in Chinese and East Asian culture. The course will focus the early development of Daoist ideas and practices from their inception and eventual institutionalization in China up to the present day. Fulfills intercultural requirement.
REL 286. Buddhist Pilgrimage in East Asia Credits: 4. The course investigates the role of sacred geography in the religious traditions of East Asia. Taking pilgrimage as the central topic of study, we will read in-depth accounts of religious travel and experience in several regions of East Asia. Fulfills humanities and intercultural requirements.
REL 288. Witches, Ghosts and Demons Credits: 4. This course examines the religious roles of witches, ghosts, and demons. It is also, fundamentally, a course about death, dying, the fear and anxiety surrounding the dark, the night, death, and the problem of evil. Fulfills humanities requirement.
REL 290. Internship Credits: 1-4. May also be offered at the 390 level.
REL 309. QLSP Junior Seminar Credits: 1. CR/NC
REL 310. Islam and Modernization Credits: 4. This course examines current discussions on Islam in the contemporary world, privileging politics and war and moving further to explore diverse populations, their religious and cultural practices, their struggles with economic and humanitarian issues as well as contributions made through new social movements, environmental challenges, and attempst to forge civil societies through innovative practices. Fulfill humanities requirement.
REL 317. Women in Tibetan Buddhism Credits: 4. This course focuses on the religious roles and lives of women of Tibet and the Himalaya from the seventh through the twenty-first centuries. Also examined are some contemporary “Western” feminist political-philosophical theory and its problematic applicability to the traditional situation of Tibetan women throughout the last 1,300 years. Prerequisite: Historical Perspectives. Fulfills humanities and intercultural requirements.
REL 318. Tibetan & Himalayan Religions Credits: 4. Studies the religious traditions of the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau as well as the effects of the Chinese occupation of Tibet, the effects of modernization and tourism on local religion and the recent internationalization of Tibetan Buddhism. One prior course in religious studies, history or philosophy is highly recommended. Fulfills humanities and intercultural requirements.
REL 319. Buddhist Emptiness Credits: 4. Explores Indian, Tibetan, Chinese and Japanese Buddhist masters' commentaries on the doctrine that all phenomena including the “self” are “empty of inherent existence,” and investigates issues such as religious truth and the ethics of ego-less-ness. Counts toward a major/minor in International Studies – East Asia. Prerequisites: Historical Perspectives, and either one course in PHIL or REL 284, REL 286, or REL 318, or instructor permission. Fulfills intercultural requirement.
REL 340. Contextual Thea/ologies of Europe and North America Credits: 4. A reading-intensive, seminar-format examination of 20th and 21st century Christian theologians from the North Atlantic region (mostly Germany and the United States) who have written with a deep awareness of their historical, cultural, economic, political and ecological contexts.
REL 341. Liberation Theologies of Latin America, Africa, and Asia Credits: 4. Seminar on Catholic and Protestant Christian theologies from the perspective of poor and disenfranchised women and men. Works from Latin America (Peru, Brazil, El Salvador), Africa (Ghana, South Africa, and their regions), and Asia (Philippines, India, Hong Kong). Includes ecofeminist and postcolonial perspectives. Fulfills intercultural requirement.
REL 395. Religious Studies Colloquium Credits: 1. Students reflect collectively on the study of religion and its relationship to the liberal arts, to their own college career and to life outside of college. Students complete an intellectual autobiography to further their self-understanding as students of religion. For majors in their junior year. CR/NC.
REL 415. Contemporary Theolgy:Holocaust Credits: 4. The contemporary Christian theological analysis of and struggle with the nature of self and God is examined in relation to forms of social domination (sexism, racism, classism, militarism, anti-Judaism, and Islamophobis) through consideration of religious thinkers.
REL 422. Contemporary Religious Problems Credits: 4. An exploration of one major contemporary thinker or problem, such as religion, language and the body; God language; or religion and symbol. With changes in content, this course may be repeated more than once. Prerequisite: instructor permission.
REL 445. Shamanism Credits: 4. In this discussion-style seminar, students read the entirety of Eliade’s seminal and controversial work, Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, and problematize the applicability of the term Shamanism to specific religious traditions. Course issues include: initiation; trance; the role of animal messengers and helpers; altered states of consciousness; healing in Shamanism; and others.
REL 470. Senior Thesis. Credit variable Credits: Individual study culminating in a thesis, which, in consultation with the advisor, may be submitted for departmental honors. Requires a prior semester’s preparation (a two- or four-credit independent study) that can be counted either as a REL 460 or as part of the Senior Thesis.
REL 490. Departmental Honors Credits: 4-8. Requires a 3.5 grade-point average in courses in religious studies and a senior thesis or the equivalent.