Religion Department

Professor: Lawrence H. Mamiya, Judith Weisenfeldb; Associate Professors: Marc Michael Epstein, E.H. Rick Jarow, Lynn R. Lidonnici (Chair); Assistant Professor: Michael Walsha; Lecturer: Tova Weitzman; Visiting Instructor: Margaret Leeming.

a Absent on leave, first semester.

b Absent on leave, second semester.

The concentration in religion is intended to provide an understanding of major religious traditions, an exposure to a variety of approaches employed within the study of religion, and an opportunity for exploration of diverse problems that religions seek to address.

Requirements for the Concentration: 12 units, including Religion 200, 270, 271, three seminars at the 300-level, and a senior thesis or project. It is required that students take Religion 200 and 270 by the end of their junior year and highly recommended that they take these courses in their sophomore year. Students are expected to pursue a program of study marked by both breadth and depth. Of the 12 units required for the concentration, no more than two may be at the 100-level. No more than 1 % units of field work and/or independent study courses may count toward the concentration. After declaring a concentration in religion, no courses taken under the Non-Recorded Option serve to fulfill the requirements.

Senior-year Requirements: Religion 271 and Religion 300 (Senior Thesis or Project). The thesis will be graded Distinction, Satisfactory, or Unsatisfactory. Petitions for exemption from these requirements, granted only in special circumstances, must be submitted to the chair in writing by the first day of classes in the A semester.

The Religion Department offers a correlate sequence in the study of religion which allows students to pursue study in an area of significant interest outside of their field of concentration.

Requirements for the Correlate Sequence: 6 units, 1 unit at the 100-level, 3 at the 200-level and two seminars at the 300-level. After declaring a correlate sequence in religion, no courses taken under the Non- Recorded Option serve to fulfill the requirements.

Advisers: Mr. Epstein, Mr. Jarow, Mr. Kahn, Ms. Leeming, Ms. LiDonnici, Mr. Mamiya, Mr. Walsh, and Ms. Weisenfeld.

I. Introductory

101a. The Religious Dimension (1)

Is religion best described as a personal, inward experience or as a communal, social activity? This course explores the classical approaches to the study of Religion that have developed over the course of the twentieth century. Instructor to be announced.

150a and b. Western Religious Traditions (1)

(Same as Jewish Studies 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 between the three religions. Ms. Leeming, Ms. LiDonnici.

Open to all students.

152a and b. Religions of Asia (1)

(Same as Asian Studies 152) This course is an introduction to the religions of Asia (Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Zen, Shinto, etc.) through a study of practices, sites, sensibilites, 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. Jarow, Mr. Walsh.

Open to all students except seniors.

180a. Finding your Calling: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Vocation (1)

Through autobiography, novels, films, sacred texts, psychological tracts, and philosophical essays we explore how representative cultural figures have envisioned vocations that have allowed themselves to live and act from the most authentic part of their being and to express their strongest values, energies, and talents in the world. Readings include Confucius, Shakespeare, Weber, Joyce, Lorde, Morrison, and others. Mr. Jarow.

Open to freshmen only.

II. Intermediate

[203b. The Origins and Development of Islamic Literature] (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 203) Mr. Mhiri.

Not offered in 2006/07.

204b. Islam in America (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 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. Mr. Mamiya and Ms. Leeming.

Prerequisite: Any one of the following: Religion 150 or 152; Africana Studies 102 or 105; or permission of the instructors.

205b. Modern Problems of Belief (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.

[206a. Religion and American Film] (1)

An examination of relationships between religion and American film, with particular attention to interactions between American religious institutions and the film industry, issues of race and gender, and representations of religious beliefs, practices, individuals, and institutions. Films may include: Broken Blossoms, The Jazz Singer, Hallelujah, The Ten Commandments, Gentleman’s Agreement, The Exorcist, Daughters of the Dust, The Apostle. Ms. Weisenfeld.

Not offered in 2006/07.

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

(Same as Africana Studies 211) Mr. Mamiya.

[220. Text and Tradition] (1)

Study of selected oral and written text(s) and their place(s) in various religious traditions. May be taken more than once for credit when content changes.

Prerequisite: 1 unit in religion or by permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2006/07.

221b. Voices from Modern Israel (1)

(Same, as Jewish Studies 221 and Hebrew 221) Ms. Weitzman.

[225b. The Hebrew Bible] (1)

(Same as Jewish Studies 225) The Hebrew Scriptures exist both in and out of time—in literature of a particular people; out of time as a repository of metaphors through which much in western culture is still expressed. This course pursues both of these dimensions through a study of the religious and literary traditions of ancient Israel and the legacy of these traditions in our own modes of thought. Ms. LiDonnici.

Not offered in 2006/07.

[227b. The New Testament and Early Christianity] (1)

Christianity today reflects an amalgamation and interpretation of the many different perspectives reflected in the Christian scriptures. In this course we study the development of the many varieties of early Christianity, and the literature they created. We use critical analysis and historical contextualization to try to identify the earliest Christian message and trace its evolution over the first three centuries. Ms. LiDonnici.

Prerequisite: 1 unit in religion, or by permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2006/07.

[230. Creole Religions of the Caribbean] (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 230) Ms. Paravisini-Gebert.

Not offered in 2006/07.

[231a. Hindu Traditions] (1)

(Same as Asian Studies 231) An introduction to the history, practices, myths, ideas and core values that inform Hindu traditions. Beginning with the pre-Vedic period, the course traces major religious practices and developments up to and including the contemporary period. Among topics examined are yoga and upanishadic mysticism, the spiritual paths (marga) of action (karma) knowledge (jnana) and love (bhakti), the worship of (and ideologies surrounding) gods and goddesses, and issues of gender, caste, and ethnicity in both pre- and postmodern times. Mr. Jarow.

Prerequisite: Religion 152 or by permission of instructor.

Alternate years: not offered in 2006/07.

[232b. Imagining the Dao: Daoism and Chinese Culture] (1)

(Same as Asian Studies 232) Daoism is frequently described as being the indigenous religious tradition of China. As a tradition Daoism has shaped and been shaped by a number of cultural forces. This course explores some of the imaginings of what Daoism is, what is the dao, and who are Daoists. We study Daoist health practices, sociopolitical visions, spells for controlling ghosts and deities, cosmic wanderings, and intense monastic practice. Mr. Walsh.

Not offered in 2006/07.

[233a. Buddhist Traditions] (1)

(Same as Asian Studies 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. Jarow.

Prerequisite: Religion 152 or by permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2006/07.

[235a. Religions of China] (1)

(Same as Asian Studies 235) This course introduces the vast range of religious beliefs and practices of China. We look at the myriad worlds of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism and meet with ghosts, ancestors, ancient oracle bones, gods, demons, Buddhas, dragons, imperial politics, the social, and more, all entwined in what became the traditions of China. Some of the questions we try to answer include: how was the universe imagined in traditional China? What did it mean to be human in China? What was the meaning of life? What cultural impact did religious traditions have on Chinese culture. What do we mean by “Chinese religions”? How should Chinese culture be represented? What was /is the impact of Chinese religions on the “West” and vice versa? Mr. Walsh.

Not offered in 2006/07.

[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. Ms. Leeming.

Prerequisite: Religion 150, 152, or by permission of instructor.

Alternate years: not offered in 2006/07.

[245a. Jewish Traditions] (1)

(Same as Jewish Studies 245) An exploration of Jewish practice and belief in all its variety. The course traces the evolution of various “Judaisms” through each one’s approaches to the text of scripture and its interpretations, Jewish law and the observance of the commandments. It analyzes the Jewish life-cycle, calendar and holidays from a phenomenological perspective, and traces the development of the conceptualization of God, Torah, and the People and Land of Israel in Jewish life, thought, and culture from antiquity through the present day. Mr. Epstein.

Prerequisites: Religion 150, Jewish Studies 101, 201 or permission.

Not offered in 2006/07.

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

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 2006/07b: Pilgrimage: Narrative, Quest, and practice. This course explores the experiential, social, and structural aspects of pilgrimage, examining a multicultural array of practices and texts that deal with sacred sites and journeys to them The course considers an ongoing series of questions: What has inspired pilgrimage throughout history? Is there a basic structure or myth of pilgrimage? Are there specific types of pilgrimage? How does pilgrimage foster social order and myth as well as personal transformation? When and why does pilgrimage “succeed” or “fail?” How does pilgrimage manifest in contemporary “secular” contexts? Readings include Chaucer, Bunyan, Castaneda, Hesse, Matthiessen, Wu Chang’en, Turner, and others. All students are required to go on the “class pilgrimage” over a weekend during the semester. Mr. Jarow.

Prerequisite: one unit in religion.

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. Mr. Leeming.

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

266a. Religion in America (1)

An historical introduction to the study of religion in America, focusing on religious innovation and change, especially the introduction and creation of new religions and religious movements and redefinition of boundaries of margins and mainstream in American religious life. Topics include the role of religion in politics, culture, ethnic group life, and the social construction of gender. Ms. Weisenfeld.

Prerequisite: 1 unit in religion, or by permission of instructor.

[267b. Religion, Culture and Society] (1)

(Same as Sociology 267) An examination of the interaction between religion, society, and culture in the work of classical theorists such as Freud, Marx, Durkheim and Weber, and in the writings of modern theorists like Berger, Luckman, Bellah, and Geertz. Students learn to apply theoretical concepts to the data of new religious movements in American society. Mr. Mamiya.

Prerequisite: 1 unit at the 100-level in religion, 1 unit at the 100-level in anthropology or sociology, or by permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2006/07.

268b. Sociology of Black Religion (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 268 and Sociology 268) Mr. Mamiya.

[269. The Holocaust] (1)

(Same as History 269 and Jewish Studies 269)

Not offered in 2006/07.

270b. Departmental Colloquium ( 1/2)

Joint exploration for majors of methods in the study of religion. The department, Ms. LiDonnici.

Permission required.

One weekly two-hour period during the first half of the semester.

271a. Advanced Methods in the Study of Religion ( 1/2)

A continued exploration of methods in the study of religion and their application to research questions. Ms. LiDonnici.

Senior religion majors only. Permission required.

One two-hour period bi-monthly.

290a or b. Field Work ( 1/2 or 1)

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 ( 1/2 or 1)

The department.

Prerequisite: One semester of appropriate intermediate work in the field of study proposed. Permission of instructor required.

III. Advanced

Prerequisite for all 300-level courses unless otherwise specified: 1 unit at the 200-level or permission of instructor.

300b. Senior Thesis or Project (1)

An essay or other project in religion written under the supervision of a member of the department. Normally taken in the second semester, and in the first only under special circumstances.

Permission required.

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

(Same as Africana Studies 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. Mr. Mamiya.

Prerequisite: Sociology/Religion 261 or Africana Studies 268, or 2 units in Religion or Africana Studies at the 200-level, or by permission of instructor.

Alternate years: not offered in 2006/07.

315a. Religion and American Culture. (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 315 and American Culture 315) 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.

Topic for 2006/07: Black Women and Religion. In this seminar we examine the religious beliefs, experiences, and practices of black women in various historical periods in the United States. Using personal narratives, historical studies, fiction, and film, we devote particular attention to: the ways in which American gender and racial constructions have shaped black women’s religious lives, activism, and their religiously-grounded cultural and intellectual expressions. Ms. Weisenfeld.

Prerequisites: one unit at the 200-level in Religion, Africana Studies, or American Culture.

[320b. Studies in Sacred Texts] (1)

Examination of selected themes and texts in sacred literature. May be taken more than once when content changes.

Not offered in 2006/07.

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

(Same as Jewish Studies 346) Advanced study in selected aspects of Jewish thought and history. May be taken more than once for credit when the content changes.

Topic for 2006/07b: The Great Flood. Ideas about a world encompassing flood occur in the religious literature of several societies, as cautionary tales about human sin, as accounts of the origin of evil, and sometimes as a metaphor for perfect lives that can never be again. In this course we study the sources of the biblical account of the flood and its transformations through early Jewish and Christian interpretation, along with myths of Atlantis and other world flood traditions. We focus both upon the ancient texts and on their role in contemporary debates about the teaching of modern scientific archeology, biology, and geology, creation science, and intelligent design. Ms. LiDonnici.

Prerequisites: 1 unit at the 200 level or permission of instructor.

350a. Comparative Studies in Religion (1)

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.

350.01a. Comparative Studies in Religion (1)

Topic for 2006/07a: Religion and the Arts. This seminar focuses on the relationship between the visual arts and religious concepts in Jewish and Christian society: How is art instrumental in imagining and manifesting the sacred? What is a legitimate visual aid to worship, and what is deemed to constitute idolatry? What implications do the incarnation and embodiment of Divinity have for the creation of art, and what problems does art face in depicting an incarnate God? Finally, given the concept of a deity made flesh among human beings, how have various groups depicted the same incarnate divine figure? Mr. Epstein.

Prerequisites: Religion 150, Jewish Studies 101, 201 or permission of instructor.

350.02a. Comparative Studies in Religion (1)

(Same as Asian Studies 350)

Topic for 2006/07a: 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: Religion 231, 232, 233, 235, or instructor permission.

355a. The Politics of Sacred Centers (1)

This course examines how “sacred centers” are produced, maintained, and how they function in different religious environments. In focusing on specific cultic objects, temples, sacred places, etc., we study culturally complex centers such as Banares in India, Beijing in China, Jerusalem in Israel, and Washington D.C. in America, and raise questions about their sacrality and role in their respective religious environments. Some of our questions include: what is a sacred center? Are places inherently sacred or are they made that way through human action? What roles do sacred centers play in both local and global cultures? Mr. Walsh.

[365b. Gods of the City: Religion in America] (1)

(Same as Urban Studies 365) An exploration of the relationship between religious expressions and urban life in the United States. This course asks what happens to religion in American cities and whether there are distinctly urban religious experiences and practices. It inquires about the relationship between religious behavior and urban popular culture, religious power and urban politics, religious idioms and the routines of daily urban life. Particular attention is given to ethnic and religious diversity. Ms. Weisenfeld.

Prerequisites: 1 unit at 200 level or by permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2006/07.

[385a. Asian Healing Traditions] (1)

(Same as Asian Studies 385) Mr. Jarow.

Not offered in 2006/07.