Religion Department

Programs

Major

Correlate Sequence in Religion

Courses

Religion: I. Introductory

100b. Introduction to American Studies (1)

(Same as AMST 100) This course reveals and challenges the histories of the categories that contribute to the definition of "America." The course explores ideas such as nationhood and the nation-state, democracy and citizenship, ethnic and racial identity, myths of frontier and facts of empire, borders and expansion, normativity and representation, sovereignty and religion, regionalism and transnationalism as these inform our understanding of the United States and American national identity. One goal of the course is to introduce students to important concepts and works in American Studies. Either AMST 100 or AMST 105 will satisfy the 100-level core requirement of the American Studies major. Topics vary with expertise of the faculty teaching the course.

Topic for 2014/15b: The American Secular: Religion and the Nation-State. Is there a distinct realm in American politics and culture called the secular, a space or a mode of pubic discourse that is crucially free of and from the category of religion? This class considers the sorts of theoretical and historical moments in American life, letters, and practice that have, on the one hand, insisted the importance and necessity of such a realm, and on the other hand, resisted the very notion that religion should be kept out of the American public square. We will ask whether it is possible or even desirable---in our politics, in our public institutions, in ourselves---to conceive of the secular and the religious as radically opposed. We will ask if there are better ways to conceive of the secular and the religious in American life, ways that acknowledge their mutual interdependence rather than their exclusivity. Mr. Kahn.

Open to freshmen and sophomores only.

Two 75-minute periods.

101b. An Examined Life: Religious Approaches to Enduring Questions (1)

What is a good life? How do we understand dying and death? Does God exist? Is there evil? Why do we suffer? How do we love? What's the proper way to treat one's neighbor? This class will explore the variety of ways that religious thinkers have responded to these ancient, persistent, and troubling questions about the nature of human existence. Our focus will be on philosophical texts, however we will also consider filmic representations of these problems. Mr. Kahn.

Not offered in 2014/15.

102a. Religion, Media & American Popular Culture (1)

How does the mass media change religious values and behaviors? How might we understand the relationship between American Christians and American culture? Has sports, television or entertainment replaced religion? Is popular culture hostile to faith or is it religious in wholly new and unexpected ways? In this course we explore these questions by looking in detail at American television, film, popular literature and the internet. We also examine how specific religions and religious symbols are expressed in popular culture, what happens when traditional religions borrow pop cultural forms or ideals, and how the American media is abetting a trend towards religious eclecticism and hybridity. Mr. White.

Two 75-minute periods.

104a. Religion, Prisons, and the Civil Rights Movement (1)

(Same as AFRS 104) African American citizenship has long been a contested and bloody battlefield. This course uses the modern Civil Rights Movement to examine the roles the religion and prisons have played in theses battles over African American rights and liberties. In what ways have religious beliefs motivated Americans to uphold narrow definitions of citizenship that exclude people on the basis of race or moved them to boldly challenge those definitions? In a similar fashion, civil rights workers were incarcerated in jails and prisons as a result of their nonviolent protest activities. Their experiences in prisons, they exposed the inhumane conditions and practices existing in many prison settings. More recently, the growth of the mass incarceration of minorities has moved to the forefront of civil and human rights concerns. Is a new Civil Rights Movement needed to challenge the New Jim Crow?

Not offered in 2014/15.

106b. The Confessions of St. Augustine (1/2)

(Same as GRST 106 and MRST 106) Augustine of Hippo (354-430 CE) was born and raised in Roman Africa, converted to Christianity at the age of 32, entered the priesthood, and composed works of theology that greatly influenced the development of Western Christianity. The Confessions, his most famous work and an enduring masterpiece of late Latin literature, is an autobiographical account of a young man's search for happiness and truth, from the sins and errors (as he later viewed them) of his youth---his sexual affairs, friendships, and intellectual enthusiasms---to the mystical experience of his conversion. Augustine captures his journey from confusion to enlightenment in an emotional and innovative style, blending personal recollection, intense soul-searching, biblical quotation, prayer, and philosophical reflection on the meaning of memory and time. The course sets the Confessions in the cultural context of late imperial Rome and examines its unique ideas and literary qualities. Mr. Brown.

6-week course. All readings are in English translation.

Two 75-minute periods.

107a. Inner Paths: Religion and Contemplative Consciousness (1)

(Same as ASIA 107) The academic study of religion spends a lot of time examining religion as a social and cultural phenomenon. This course takes a different approach. Instead of looking at religion extrinsically (through history, philosophy, sociology, scriptural study, etc.) "Inner Paths" looks at the religious experience itself, as seen through the eyes of saints and mystics from a variety of the world's religious traditions. By listening to and reflecting upon "mystic" and contemplative narratives from adepts of Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Hindu, Daoist and other traditions we learn to appreciate the commonalities, differences, and nuances of various "inner paths." Readings include John of the Cross, Theresa of Avila, Rabbi Akiba, Rumi, Thich Nhat Hanh, Ramakrishna, and Mirabai. Mr. Jarow.

Two 75-minute periods.

120a and b. God (1)

(Same as JWST 120) Whether we are furious with it, love it, or think it does not exist, the figure that western civilization calls "God" is one of our most powerful root metaphor, an intellectual category that requires interrogation and understanding. As a literary figure, God has a personality, a biography, and a history; and like all of us, a great deal to say about how he has been understood and misunderstood. Through analysis of primary materials (Biblical, Ugaritic, Canaanite, Mesopotamian, and Greek) we explore the origin and development of this complicated figure in Biblical literature. Ms. LiDonnici.

Open only to freshmen; satisfies the college requirement for a Freshman Writing Seminar.

Two 75-minute periods.

150a and b. Jews, Christians, and Muslims (1)

(Same as JWST 150) An historical comparative study of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The course focuses on such themes as origins, development, sacred literature, ritual, legal, mystical, and philosophical traditions, and interactions among the three religions. Ms. LiDonnici and Mr. Epstein.

Two 75-minute periods.

152b. Religions of Asia (1)

(Same as ASIA 152) This course is an introduction to the religions of Asia (Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Zen, Shinto, etc.) through a study of practices, sites, sensibilities, and doctrines. The focus is comparative as the course explores numerous themes, including creation (cosmology), myth, ritual, action, fate and destiny, human freedom, and ultimate values. Mr. Walsh.

Open to all students except seniors.

Two 75-minute periods.

180b. Islamic Traditions (1)

This course is an introduction to the religion of Islam as a lived tradition with a rich variety of expressions from around the world. Designed as a kind of "world tour" this course explores the origins of the Islamic community in the Arabian Peninsula, and then moves across the globe to study the spread of Islam as a global phenomenon. Topics include: revelation, prophethood, scripture, authority, leadership, pilgrimage, law, women's status, the development of Sufi movements, art and architecture. Ms. Muravchick.

Two 75-minute periods.

189a. The Bible as Book (1)

(Same as MEDS 189) The Bible is one of the most influential texts in Western history, but we seldom stop to think about its own history, and in particular the variety of textual, illustrative, and physical forms it has taken throughout the centuries. Yet if we do, we see that there have been great differences in what constituted "the Bible" and this has affected how it was disseminated, read, and discussed. This course explores this history and these changes, using the Archives & Special Collections Library-where a fabulous Bible collection is housed-as a laboratory. Here we "go to the source" and look closely at various examples to learn about aspects of design such as format, lettering, writing surfaces, illustration, and binding. We also ask questions about the role and meaning of the Bible at particular times and in particular places. Through reading, conversation, and reflection, we develop responses to our questions, and then learn how to convey these responses, clearly and effectively, in written form. Ms. Bucher and Mr. Patkus.

Open only to freshmen; satisfies the college requirement for a Freshman Writing Seminar.

Two 75-minute periods.

Religion: II. Intermediate

200b. Regarding Religion (1)

To study religion is to study culture and society, as well as to critically engage and participate in the humanities and social sciences. In this course we compare and critique different approaches to the study of religion and think about the category of religion in relation to other topics and social concerns. Mr. Walsh.

Required for all majors.

Two 75-minute periods.

204b. Islam in America (1)

(Same as AFRS 204) This course examines the historical and social development of Islam in the U.S. from enslaved African Muslims to the present. Topics include: African Muslims, rice cultivation in the South, and slave rebellions; the rise of proto-Islamic movements such as the Nation of Islam; the growth and influence of African American and immigrant Muslims; Islam and Women; Islam in Prisons; Islam and Architecture and the American war on terror.

Prerequisite: one unit in Religion or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2014/15.

205b. Religion and Its Critics (1)

Some say it is impossible to be both a modern and a religious person. What are the assumptions behind this claim? The course explores how religion has been understood and challenged in the context of Western intellectual thought from the Enlightenment to the present. Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Freud, and Buber are some of the thinkers whom we study. Mr. Kahn.

Not offered in 2014/15.

206b. Social Change in the Black and Latino Communities (1)

(Same as AFRS 206 and SOCI 206) An examination of social issues in the Black and Latino communities: poverty and welfare, segregated housing, drug addiction, unemployment and underemployment, immigration problems and the prison system. Social change strategies from community organization techniques and poor people's protest movements to more radical urban responses are analyzed. Attention is given to religious resources in social change.

Not offered in 2014/15.

One 2.5-hour period.

207b. Christian Ethics and Modern Society (1)

This course is an introduction to Christian ideals of faith, conduct, character, and community, and to modern disputes over their interpretations and applications. Our emphasis is on how Christian thinkers have negotiated the emergence of modern values about authority, rights, equality, and freedom. In what ways have Christian beliefs and moral concepts been consonant with or antagonistic to democratic concerns about gender, race and pluralism? Some of the most prominent Christian ethicists claim a fundamental incompatibility with this democratic ethos. We examine these claims and devote special attention to how Christian thinkers have dealt with the ethics of war, sexuality and the environment. Mr. Kahn.

Not offered in 2014/15.

Two 75-minute periods.

210b. Secularism and Its Discontents (1)

Is there a distinct realm called the secular, which is free of and from the religious? As sons and daughters of the Enlightenment, we've come to think that there is. What sort of philosophical and historical moments have led to the public insistence on a non-religious space? What projects in ethics, politics, and identity have the insistence on the secular authorized? This class both analyzes and contests modern assumptions about secularism and the religious, and asks whether the ideals of secularism have materialized. Is it possible or even desirable to create realms scrubbed free of the religious, in our politics, in our public institutions, or in ourselves? Mr. Kahn.

Not offered in 2014/15.

211b. Religions of the Oppressed and Third-World Liberation Movements (1)

(Same as AFRS 211) A comparative socio-historical analysis of the dialectical relationship between religion and the conditions of oppressed people. The role of religion in both suppression and liberation is considered. Case studies include the cult of Jonestown (Guyana), Central America, the Iranian revolution, South Africa, slave religion, and aspects of feminist theology.

Prerequisite: special permission of the instructor.

This course is taught at the Otisville Correctional Facility.

Not offered in 2014/15.

212a and b. Western Esotericism (1/2)

Topic for 2014/15a: Emerson and the Tradition of Conscience. This half semester course looks at the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson within the context of New England Transcendentalism and the post-Reformation emergence of one's "inner voice" as a person's most authentic and authoritative spiritual guide. The primary focus of the course is on Emerson's essays (Self-RelianceNatureThe Oversoul, etc.). Critical literature on Emerson's position in contemporary spirituality will be considered as well. Emerson's writings engage a wide variety of Asian philosophies. Mr. Jarow.

Topic for 2014/15b: Spiritual Gifts of Modern India. (Same as ASIA 212) Since Swami Vivekananda brought the message of "raja yoga" to the Parliament of World Religions on the shores of Lake Michigan in 1893, a number of spiritual teachers from India have achieved notoriety on the world stage and have had a major impact in the formulation of a world and secular "spirituality" in our time. Through phenomenologicval and historical studies, as well as through close readings and studhy of primary texts, this course considers the works of these major figures, including Sri Aurobindo, Ramana Maharshi, Ananda Mayi Ma, and Bhagavan Sri Osho Rajneesh. Mr. Jarow.

Prerequisite: one 100-level course in Religion.

First 6-week course. One 2-hour period.

213a and b. The Experience of Freedom (1/2)

(Same as ASIA 213) This six week course looks at the four paths of freedom that have emerged from Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucian thought. Concepts and practices we will consider include: karma (the yoga of action), jnana, (the yoga of knowledge), bhakti, (the yoga of love) and tantra, (the yoga of imminent awareness). The focus of this course is on practice in a contemporary context. Mr. Jarow.

Prerequisite: RELI 152.

Not offered in 2014/15.

215b. Religion, Art and Politics (1)

Nowadays, we accept the idea that religion, like so much else, is political. It makes sense, then, that visual culture, which can be used, situated, manipulated and exploited in the service of religion can serve to affirm and in some cases to subvert the political messages of religion. This class will explore examples of the collusions of religion, art and politics, as well as their collisions in the productions of majority and minority culture in Judaism, Christianity and Islam in the West, from antiquity to postmodernity. Mr. Epstein.

Prerequisite: any 100- or 200-level course in Art or Religion.

Two 75-minute periods.

216b. Israeli Media (1)

(Same as JWST 216) This course provides students with an in-depth understanding of current political, social and religious developments in Israel by reading and analyzing Israeli media including newspapers, web sites, blogs, TV clips and more. During the first part of the course students learn the development of the Israeli media from the birth of Israel until today as well as the connection between different newspapers to different political parties and religious sectors and the role they play in contemporary political and social debates. Through the study of historical texts and current media, students gain an understanding of Israel's complex multi-party political system, key political actors, the economic structure and the differences between the religious and political sectors in Israeli society. Mr. Yoked.

No Hebrew knowledge is required for this course.

Two 75-minute periods.

217b. Film, Fiction and the Construction of Identity -- Israeli and Palestinian Voices (1)

(Same as JWST 217 and HEBR 217) This course explores the emergence and consolidation of collective identities in modern Israel and Palestine. Through a close examination of Israeli and Palestinian films and literary texts in translation students are introduced to an array of competing and complementing narratives that Israelis and Palestinians have relied on to understand themselves and their relationship to the other. Special attention is given to issues related to class, gender, ethnicity, religion and ideology.

218b. Spiritual Seekers in American History & Culture 1880-2008 (1)

This course examines the last 120 years of spiritual seeking in America. It looks in particular at the rise of unchurched believers, how these believers have relocated "the religious" in different parts of culture, what it means to be "spiritual but not religious" today, and the different ways that Americans borrow from or embrace religions such as Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. We focus in particular on unexpected places of religious enchantment or "wonder" in our culture, including how science and technology are providing new metaphors for God and spirit. Mr. White.

Not offered in 2014/15.

219a. New and Alternative Religious Movements in the United States (1)

All religions, new and old, have a beginning, and all religions change over time. Even the most established and popular religions today, like Islam and Christianity, began as small, marginalized sects. In this class, we think carefully about how religions develop and change by examining closely religious movements in one of the most vibrant religious nations in world history, modern America. We study radical prophets, doomsday preachers, modern messiahs, social reformers and new spiritual gurus and we talk about how their new religious movements developed and interacted with more mainstream religious currents in nineteenth- and twentieth-century America. This course proceeds in a roughly chronological fashion, beginning with new and alternative religions in the nineteenth century and moving on to more recent groups. Some of the questions we consider as we proceed are: Why do new religions begin? Why do people join them? How do they both challenge and conform to wider American norms and values? How should the American legal system respond to them? How do more mainstream believers respond to them? Mr. White.

220b. Text and Traditions (1)

Study of selected oral and written texts and their place in various religious traditions.

May be taken more than once for credit when content changes.

Topic for 2014/15b: Heretics, Deviants, and Others in Early Christianity. Jesus's earliest followers quickly developed radically different ideas about his nature, about their own role in history and the goal (if any) of their participation, about how much they should be participating in the life of society, and about how their groups should be organized and supported. Their disputes over these subjects were fierce, with each side convinced that the other was standing in the way of God's plan for the world. What were these early varieties of Christianity, and what ideas are expressed in the unique literature of these movements? Why were some ideas eventually considered 'orthodox', while others were dismissed as deviant or wrong, in some cases leading to Christian persecution of other Christians? What is the legacy of such disputes in contemporary society? Ms. LiDonnici.

Topic for 2014/15b: Religion and Culture of Ancient Egypt. Ancient Egyptian religion is an organic growth out of the life of the people along the Nile, impossible to discuss in isolation from it. This course is an integrated survey of daily and religious life in ancient Egypt in from Pharaonic times through Late Antiquity, focusing equally on royal and on individual forms of religious expression. We will make extensive use of preserved Egyptian texts, an enormous body of literature that expresses a unique outlook upon the world, on human life, on the nature of divinities, and on the meaning of death. Ms. LiDonnici.

Prerequisite: one course in Religion or permission of the instructor.

Open to all students.

Two 75-minute periods.

221b. Voices from Modern Israel (1)

(Same as JWST 221 and HEBR 221) An examination of modern and postmodern Hebrew literature in English translation. The course focuses on Israeli voices of men, women, Jews, Arabs, Ashkenazim and Sephardim, to investigate such topics as memory, identity, alienation, the "other," community, and exile. Authors may include Yizhar, Yehoshua, Oz, Grossman, Kanafani, Almog, Katzir, Liebrecht, Ravikovitch, Zelda, Zach, Amichai, Darish and el-Kassim.

Not offered in 2014/15.

222a. Gender and Islam: Religious Authority, Feminisms, and The Muslim Body (1)

Many pious women and men grapple daily with their religiosity and its sometimes wary relationship with modern life. Islam is often portrayed as both a religion and "way of life" fundamentally incompatible with modernity and since the colonial period Muslim women, in particular, have been the symbolic repository of ideas about "Islam" in general. Muslims' religiosity is often described in terms of its social backwardness, women's subordination to patriarchal norms, and "fundamentalist" tendencies. This course seeks to question certain assumptions in feminist and liberal thought about gender and women's freedom and autonomy. We will examine a variety of issues including the role of religious arguments in framing gender, bodily practices, political and intimate violence, sexualities, and Islamic feminisms. Islam will be treated as a rich body of discourses and practices growing, nurtured, and challenged by women and men, Muslims and non-Muslims. Ms. Muravchick.

Two 75-minute periods.

231a. Hindu Traditions (1)

(Same as ASIA 231) An introduction to the history, practices, myths, ideas and core values that inform Hindu traditions. This year's course focuses on the major systems of Indian philosophy and the spiritual disciplines that accompany them. Among topics examined are yoga, upanishadic monism and dualism, the paths of liberative action (karma), self realization (jnana), divine love (bhakti), and awakened immanence (tantra). Philosophical understandings of the worship of gods and goddesses will be discussed, along with issues of gender, caste, and ethnicity and post modern reinterpretations of the classical tradition. Mr. Jarow.

Prerequisite: 100-level course in Religion, or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2014/15.

Two 75-minute periods.

233a. The Buddha in the World (1)

(Same as ASIA 233) An introduction to Buddhist traditions, beginning with the major themes that emerged in the first centuries after the historical Buddha and tracing the development of Buddhist thought and practice throughout Asia. The course examines how Buddhist sensibilities have expressed themselves through culturally diverse societies, and how specific Buddhist ideas about human attainment have been (and continue to be) expressed through meditation, the arts, political engagement, and social relations. Various schools of Buddhist thought and practice are examined including Theravada, Mahayana, Tantra, Tibetan, East Asian, and Zen. Mr. Walsh.

Two 75-minute periods.

234a. Creole Religions of the Caribbean (1)

(Same as AFRS 234 and LALS 234) The Africa-derived religions of the Caribbean region---Haitian Voodoo, Cuban Santeria, Jamaican Obeah, Rastafarianism, and others---are foundational elements in the cultural development of the islands of the region. This course examines their histories, systems of belief, liturgical practices, and pantheons of spirits, as well as their impact on the history, literature, and music of the region. Ms. Paravisini-Gebert.

Two 75-minute periods.

235a. Religion in China (1)

(Same as ASIA 235) An exploration of Chinese religiosity within historical context. We study the seen and unseen worlds of Buddhists, Daoists, and literati, and encounter ghosts, ancestors, ancient oracle bones, gods, demons, buddhas, dragons, imperial politics, the social, and more, all entwined in what became the cultures of China. Some of the questions we will try to answer include: how was the universe imagined in traditional and modern China? What did it mean to be human in China? What is the relationship between religion and culture? What do we mean by 'Chinese religions'? How should Chinese culture be represented? Mr. Walsh.

Two 75-minute periods.

240a. The World of the Rabbis (1)

(Same as JWST 240)

Prerequisites: JWST 101, JWST 201, RELI 150, or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2014/15.

243b. Islamic Traditions (1)

An exploration of Islamic history, with special attention to issues of prophecy, religious leadership, mythology and sacred scriptures. Among the topics examined are Islamic law, theology and philosophy, as well as the varied expressions of Islamic religious values and ritual, especially Shi'ism, Sufism, and orthodox Sunnism. Particular attention is given to women in Islam and to Islamic architecture.

Prerequisite: RELI 150, RELI 152, or permission of the instructor.

250b. Across Religious Boundaries: Understanding Differences (1)

(Same as ASIA 250) The study of a selected topic or theme in religious studies that cuts across the boundaries of particular religions, allowing opportunities for comparison as well as contrast of religious traditions, beliefs, values and practices. May be taken more than once for credit when the content changes.

Topic for 2014/15b: Yoga and the West: Asian Spiritual Traditions/Post-Modernity.This course begins by exploring the historical movement of Asian religious traditions into the West and goes on to focus on the encounter between Hindu and Buddhist ideas and practices with post-modern paradigms in the Sciences and Humanities. The following issues are considered: The guru in America, the adaptation of Hindu goddess worship by neo-pagans in America, Buddhism and the Beat Generation, the influence of Buddhist sensibilities upon issues of social and environmental justice, the interfacing of the "dharma" with the teachings of major Western religions and philosophies, the emergence of "Hindu rock" and other hybrid art forms, and the adaptation of Asian teachings and practices to Western societies. Mr. Jarow.

Prerequisites: RELI 231, RELI 233, RELI 235, or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

255b. Western Mystical Traditions (1)

Textual, phenomenological and theological studies in the religious mysticism of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. May be taken more than once for credit when content changes.

Prerequisite: one 100-level course or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2014/15.

266a. Religion in America (1)

What are the major cultural and intellectual forces shaping religions in America? How have religious Americans encountered people of other faiths and nationalities? Why have they seen America as both a promised land and a place of bondage, conflict or secularization? What are the main ways that religious Americans think about faith, spirituality, religious diversity and church and state? How might we understand the complexity of these and other issues in a country of so many different religious groups---Protestant, Jewish, Catholic, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim? Mr. White.

267a. Religion, Culture and Society (1)

The study of the interaction among religion, culture and society.

May be taken more than once when the content changes.

Topic for 2014/15a: Sports and Religion. To many, the connections between sports and religion are evident and powerful. Essayist David Foster Wallace once described watching Roger Federer play tennis as a "religious experience." Religion scholar David Chidester speaks of the "church of baseball." Phil Jackson, the winningest basketball coach in history, refers to the "spiritual lessons" in "sacred hoops." To others, however, this connection is at best tenuous and at worse degrading to religion. These critics ask, How can something as worldly and meaningless as a game be considered sacred? This class explores the contested connections between sports and religion. This class is less interested in determining whether sports really are or are not religious. This class is much more interested in considering what it says about religion and what it says about sports when we think of them as related. How does asking whether sports are religious lead us to reconsider our notions of "sports" and "religion"? Students are asked, for example, whether the Olympics or the Super Bowl functions as religious ceremony. We take up the question of whether something sacred happens in competition, or whether being a fan is akin to being a religious adherent. Each of these helps us think through the way the sacred, competition, and deep loyalty are constituted. We also examine a variety of social, political, and psychological intersections of sports and religion, for example, in Muhammed Ali's conversion to Islam or Tim Tebow's prayerful pose on the football field. In examples like these, we confront the way sports has the power to establish, reinforce, and also challenge religious and political identity. Mr. Kahn and Mr. Jarow.

Open to all students.

Two 75-minute periods.

268a. Sociology of Black Religion (1)

(Same as AFRS 268 and SOCI 268) A sociological analysis of a pivotal sector of the Black community, namely the Black churches, sects, and cults. Topics include slave religion, the founding of independent Black churches, the Black musical heritage, Voodoo, the Rastafarians, and the legacies of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. This course is taught to Vassar students and incarcerated men at the Otisville Correctional Facility. It will be taught at the Otisville Correctional Facility. To be announced.

Special permission required.

Not offered in 2014/15.

280b. Queering Judaism: Contemporary Issues (1)

(Same as JWST 280) Jews in postmodernity encounter myriad challenges to traditional religious structures in the areas of sex and gender, family life, social life and political power-to name just a few. We will explore how these challenges were dealt with by a variety of strata of contemporary Jewish society in Europe, Israel and America, charting the various negotiations between religious observance and openness to changing social values among a variety of Jewish groups. Ms. Veto.

Two 75-minute periods.

281b. Beauty, Aesthetics, and Representation in Islamic Culture (1)

This course explores both contemporary controversies over representation in the Islamic world (such as the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas or the Danish Cartoon Controversy) as well as foundational texts from the medieval Islamic world. We look at how beauty is understood in relation to faith and devotion and how images are defined and regulated through theological and philosophical interventions. Our reading of texts in translation is accompanied by in-depth analysis of visual and material objects which highlight or contradict those texts. Readings include poetry, philosophy and historical accounts, as well as secondary scholarship and contemporary debates. Ms. Muravchick.

Two 75-minute periods.

290a or b. Field Work (1/2to1)

Supervised field work in the community in cooperation with the field work office. The department.

By permission, with any unit in Religion as prerequisite and work in other social sciences recommended.

298a or b. Independent Work (1/2to1)

The department.

Prerequisite: one semester of appropriate intermediate work in the field of study proposed.

Permission of instructor required.

Religion: III. Advanced

300a. Senior Seminar (1)

An exploration of critical issues in the study of religion. Mr. Kahn.

Senior Religion majors only.

One 2-hour period.

301b. Senior Thesis (1/2)

Written under the supervision of a member of the department; taken in the Spring semester. Permission required.

310b. Politics and Religion: Tradition and Modernization in the Third World (1)

(Same as AFRS 310) An examination of the central problem facing all Third-World and developing countries, the confrontation between the process of modernization and religious tradition and custom. Along with social, economic, and political aspects, the course focuses on the problems of cultural identity and crises of meaning raised by the modernization process. Selected case studies are drawn from Africa and Asia. To be announced.

Prerequisite:  AFRS 268, or two units in Religion or Africana Studies at the 200-level, or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2014/15.

315b. Religion and American Culture (1)

Advanced study in selected aspects of the history of religions in the United States. May be taken more than once for credit when the content changes.

Not offered in 2014/15.

317b. The Bible as Book: Manuscript and Printed Editions (1)

(Same as HIST 317 and MEDS 317) The Bible has been one of the most influential texts in Western history. Yet there are great differences in what constituted "the Bible" and how it has been produced, disseminated, read, and discussed across the centuries and across cultures. Drawing from the perspective of the history of the book, this seminar provides an opportunity to examine and consider key moments in the production and transmission of biblical texts from Egypt, Asia Minor, and Palestine in Antiquity, to editions of the bible produced in Europe, England, and America, from the early middle ages to the present. Examples include Codex Sinaiticus, the Vienna Genesis, Codex Amiatinus, the Lorsch Gospels, the Winchester Bible, Bible Moralisée, the Biblia Pauperum, the Wycliffe Bible, the Gutenberg Bible, translations of Erasmus and Luther, the Geneva Bible, the King James Bible, the Eliot Indian Bible, the Woman's Bible, bibles of fine presses, family bibles, childrens' bibles, and recent translations. We discuss current scholarship relating to these and other editions, but our approach is largely empirical; by looking closely at books and considering all aspects of their makeup (such as scribal tendencies, binding and format, typography, illustrations, texts and translations, commentaries and paratexts), we try to gain an understanding of the social, economic, cultural and political factors behind the appearance of particular bibles, and also the nature of their influence in particular places. In order to "go to the source," we rely heavily on examples from the Bible Collection in the Archives & Special Collections Library.

Not offered in 2013/14.

320b. Studies in Sacred Texts (1)

(Same as JWST 320) Examination of selected themes and texts in sacred literature.

May be taken more than once when content changes.

Topic for 2014/15b: Enslavement and Liberation: The Book of Exodus. The Book of Exodus is one of the most fascinating and challenging books of the Bible---replete with psychological tension, narrative drama and compelling characterizations. We explore the text in multiple translations, along with commentaries---both traditional and contemporary---of Jewish, Christian and Muslim authors, artists, and adaptors, ranging from the literary and the poetic, to the historical and political, and the mystical and artistic. The use of Exodus as a metaphor in liberation movements, as well as its evocation in liturgy---both the Passover Seder and the rite of the Eucharist---for example, also is explored. Mr. Epstein.

Prerequisites: one 100- or 200-level religion course, or permission of the instructor.

321a. Cult Archaeology, Fantastic Frauds, and Pseudoscientific Beliefs About the Past (1)

Why do archaeology and the idea of ancient religion inspire so many theories about aliens, lost civilizations, dark conspiracies, apocalyptic predictions, and mysterious technologies? This course engages this question and the growing critical literature about cult archaeology and popular contemporary myths about ancient religions and cultures. We investigate the origins of so-called alternative archaeological theories, look at the types of 'evidence' used to create them, and examine the reasons and rationales that lead people to invent, disseminate, and believe them, and explore the effect of these theories on the general understanding of history, religion and science.Ms. LiDonnici.

Prerequisite: at least one 200-level course in Religion, or permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

330a and b. Religion, Critical Theory and Politics (1)

Advanced study in selected aspects of religion and contemporary philosophical and political theory. May be taken more than once for credit when content changes.

Topic for 2014/15a: States of Emergency: Religion, Empire, and Sovereignty. (Same as ASIA 330) In this seminar we explore connections between ostensibly normative, modern, discursive, and universal categories, such as human rights, religion, and various protected freedoms, along with the language of nation-states (constitutional language, legal discourse, etc.), claims to sovereignty, territorialization and the sanctioned violence that goes along with all the above. Though this class is comparative and global in its coverage, we give special attention to China. Some questions we consider include the following: Why do so many nation-state constitutions claim to be secular but enshrine religion as an inalienable human right? Is there really a separation between church and state? Why is sovereignty inherently so violent? Is there a connection between religion and violence? Do human rights in fact do what they claim? Mr. Walsh.

In 2014/15 this topic of ASIA 330/Religion 330 serves as the required Senior Seminar for Asian Studies majors. It also is open to other students.

Topic for 2014/15b: Religion, Race, and Democracy. (Same as AFRS 330) This seminar in religious ethics examines the way certain goods and virtues potentially crucial to a just democracy---hope, reverence, other-regard, memory, community, and even love---have historically been in short supply. Of particular interest is the way that race in America is a crucial frame through which to look at this set of questions. How do democracies teach their citizens about the sorts of virtues that democratic existence may require? How do religious resources contribute to this conversation? Ultimately we consider whether democracy is capable of expressing and training its citizens in the sorts of virtues that the pluralistic conditions of democratic life---conditions centrally rooted in the conflict over the nature of racial justice---would seem to require. Mr. Kahn.

No prerequisites.

One 2-hour period.

340a and b. Women in the Classical Jewish Tradition (1)

Not offered in 2014/15.

341a and b. The Goddess Traditions of India, China and Tibet (1)

(Same as ASIA 341) Beginning with a study of the Great Mother Goddess tradition of India and its branching out into China and Tibet, this course considers the history, myths and practices associated with the various goddess traditions in Hinduism and Buddhism. The relationship of the goddess and her worship to issues of gender, caste, and ethics, and spiritual practice are also considered. Mr. Jarow.

Not offered in 2014/15.

One 2-hour period.

345a and b. Violent Frontiers: Colonialism and Religion in the Nineteenth Century (1)

(Same as ASIA 345) What is the relationship between religion and colonialism and how has this relationship shaped the contemporary world? During the nineteenth century the category of religion was imagined and applied in different ways around the globe. When colonialists undertook to 'civilize' a people, specific understandings of religion were at the core of their undertakings. By the mid-nineteenth century, Europe's territorial energy was focused on Asia and Africa. Themes for discussion include various nineteenth-century interpretations of religion, the relationship between empire and culture, the notion of frontier religion, and the imagination and production of society. Mr. Walsh.

Not offered in 2014/15.

346a and b. Studies in Jewish Thought and History (1)

Advanced study in selected aspects of Jewish thought and history.

May be taken more than once for credit when the content changes.

Not offered in 2014/15.

350b. Comparative Studies in Religion (1)

(Same as STS 350) An examination of selected themes, issues, or approaches used in illuminating the religious dimensions and dynamics within particular cultures and societies, with attention to the benefits and limits of the comparative method. Past seminars have focused on such topics as myth, ritual, mysticism, and iconography.

May be taken more than once for credit when content changes.

Topic for 2014/15b: Higher Dimensions and Alternate Universes in History and Pop CultureThis course examines the cultural history of American and British speculations about infinity, other dimensions and the physical and metaphysical energies that undergird the universe. We examine the history of math and physics, how American and British religious thinkers appropriate this scientific literature, and how ideas about infinite spacial dimensions are taken up in popular novels, science fiction and fantasy. Mr. White.

Prerequisites: one course in Religion, one in Modern American History or one in American Studies.

One 2-hour period.

355b. The Politics of Sacred Space (1)

This course examines the relationship between notions of spatial and temporal orientation and connects these to the fundamental importance of sacrality in human action and existence. Some of our questions include: what is sacred space? What is a sacred center? How are places made sacred through human action? To what extent is sacrality a matter of emplacement? What role does sacred space play in local and global environments? Mr. Walsh.

Not offered in 2014/15.

381a. The Bible as Book: Manuscript and Printed Editions (1)

(Same as MEDS 381) The Bible has been one of the most influential texts in Western history. Yet there are great differences in what constituted "the Bible" and how it has been produced, disseminated, read, and discussed across the centuries and across cultures. Drawing from the perspective of the history of the book, this seminar provides an opportunity to examine and consider key moments in the production and transmission of biblical texts from Egypt, Asia Minor, and Palestine in Antiquity, to editions of the bible produced in Europe, England, and America, from the early middle ages to the present. Examples include Codex Sinaiticus, the Vienna GenesisCodex Amiatinus, the Lorsch Gospels, the Winchester BibleBible Moralisée, the Biblia Pauperum, the Wycliffe Bible, the Gutenberg Bible, translations of Erasmus and Luther, the Geneva Bible, the King James Bible, the Eliot Indian Bible, the Woman's Bible, bibles of fine presses, family bibles, childrens' bibles, and recent translations. We discuss current scholarship relating to these and other editions, but our approach is largely empirical; by looking closely at books and considering all aspects of their makeup (such as scribal tendencies, binding and format, typography, illustrations, texts and translations, commentaries and paratexts), we try to gain an understanding of the social, economic, cultural and political factors behind the appearance of particular bibles, and also the nature of their influence in particular places. In order to "go to the source," we rely heavily on examples from the Bible Collection in the Archives & Special Collections Library. Ms. Bucher and Mr. Patkus.

One 2-hour period.

385b. Asian Healing Traditions (1)

(Same as ASIA 385) This seminar offers a comprehensive view of the traditional medical systems and healing modalities of India and China and examines the cultural values they participate in and propound. It also includes a "laboratory" in which hands-on disciplines (such as yoga and qi-gong) are practiced and understood within their traditional contexts. From a study of classical Ayur Vedic texts, Daoist alchemical manuals, shamanic processes and their diverse structural systems, the seminar explores the relationship between healing systems, religious teachings, and social realities. It looks at ways in which the value and practices of traditional medical and healing systems continue in Asia and the West. Mr. Jarow.

Prerequisite: RELI 231 or permission of the instructor.

388b. The Spiritual Gifts of Modern India (1)

(Same as ASIA 388   ) Since Swami Vivekananda brought the message of "raja yoga" to the Parliament of World Religions on the shores of Lake Michigan in 1893, a number of spiritual teachers from India have achieved notoriety on the world stage and have had a major impact in the formulation of a world and secular "spirituality" in our time. Through phenomenological and historical studies, as well as through close reading and study of primary texts, this course considers the works of these major figures, including Sri Aurobindo, Ramana Maharshi, Ananda Mayi Ma, and Bhagavan Sri Osho Rajneesh.

399b. Senior Independent Work (1/2to1)