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LSA Course Guide Search Results: UG, GR, Fall 2007, Dept = RELIGION
 
Page 1 of 1, Results 1 — 20 of 20
Title
Section
Instructor
Term
Credits
Requirements
RELIGION 201 — Introduction to World Religions: Near Eastern
Section 001, LEC

Instructor: Williams,Ralph G; homepage
Instructor: Knysh,Alexander D

FA 2007
Credits: 4
Reqs: HU
Other: WorldLit

This course serves two main functions: the first of these is to provide an introductory sense of what is involved in the academic study of religion; the second, which will occupy almost the whole term, is to introduce the major religious traditions of the Near East, with emphasis on the development and major structures of Israelite Religion, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The course will keep two foci in view: one will have to do with the historical development of these religious traditions, their sacred texts and major personalities; the second will involve a comparative view of these traditions by analyzing their sense of the sacred in space, time, and text, their views on holy people. This is an introductory course: it is not necessary for students to have any previous experience in the study of religion. The course consists of three weekly lectures and a discussion group. Writing for the course typically involves an essay, a midterm, and a final exam.

RELIGION 225 — Hinduism
Section 001, LEC

Instructor: Deshpande,Madhav

FA 2007
Credits: 4
Reqs: HU
Other: WorldLit

Hinduism is a major world religion practiced by over a billion people, primarily in South Asia, but it also was the precursor of Buddhism, and along with Buddhism it had a major impact on the civilizations in East and Southeast Asia. This course will cover its origins and development, its literature, its belief and practices, its unique social structures and doctrines, its interactions with other religions, and finally its confrontation with and accommodation of 'modernity.' We will use reading materials, lectures, discussions, and audio and video resources.

RELIGION 230 — Introduction to Buddhism
Section 001, LEC

FA 2007
Credits: 4
Reqs: HU
Other: WorldLit

In this course, you will form a basic acquaintance with some representative ideas and practices of the Buddhist Tradition in its development of some two thousand five hundred years. We will devote the bulk of the course to exploring the origins and development of Buddhism in India, the land of its birth. In the final few weeks we will make a survey of the transmission and vicissitudes of Buddhism elsewhere, lingering for stops in Tibet, China, Japan, and North America. Throughout this time, you will be asked to use these materials continuously to test your own criteria for defining "religion," and your ideas of how we can have fruitful encounters with the religious traditions of others (and this applies even if you are yourself a practicing Buddhist). Other key themes that you will encounter in the presentation of Buddhism include:

  1. Buddhism and the visual arts and literature;
  2. Buddhism and its troubled relationship with state authority and violence;
  3. the modulating effects of factors like gender, class, and ethnic identity on the experience of Buddhism; and
  4. Buddhism and its acculturation to new cultural spheres.
There will be considerable readings of selected Buddhist primary texts in English. Course requirements include regular attendance, biweekly short response papers and two exams (midterm and final).

RELIGION 246 — Anthropology of Religion
Section 001, LEC

Instructor: Keane Jr,Edward Webb; homepage

FA 2007
Credits: 4

An introduction to basic problems faced by religions and by the study of religion. Drawing on case studies from around the world, the course examines different ways people have confronted questions such as how one deals with an invisible world, what happens after death, why do bad things happen to good people, what makes life worth living, how can one obtain wealth and power. The emphasis will be on comparison, showing how very different traditions have dealt with the same or similar problems. In the process of examining these issues, the course also raises questions about the difficulties involved in studying other people's most strongly held values and beliefs, and the relations between tolerance and faith.

RELIGION 262 — Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion
Section 001, LEC

Instructor: Curley,Edwin M; homepage

FA 2007
Credits: 4
Reqs: HU

This course treats religion philosophically. It examines, critically, the fundamental concepts and doctrines common to such monotheistic religions as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. It will discuss non-monotheistic religions only in passing.

Among the questions it will consider are:

  • What do we mean when we affirm (or deny) the existence of God?
  • What good reasons are there to believe (or not believe) in God?
  • Is there a conflict between religion and science?
  • Does morality depend on religion?
  • Are there good reasons for us to be tolerant of those whose religious beliefs differ from ours?

RELIGION 280 — Jesus and the Gospels
Section 001, LEC

Instructor: Boccaccini,Gabriele; homepage

FA 2007
Credits: 4
Reqs: HU
Other: WorldLit

The course focuses on the founder of Christianity, Jesus son of Joseph (Joshua bar-Yosef), as an historical character. By examining all extant historical sources (Jewish, Christian, and Pagan), the course offers a critical reconstruction of the major stages of the life and deeds of the prophet from Nazareth, from his birth under Herod the Great to his death and crucifixion under Pontius Pilate, within the diverse world of Second Temple Judaism. The course also explores the way in which the figure of Jesus has been reinterpreted over the centuries within the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions, as well as his numerous portraits in the arts, involving the students in a multimedia experience of theater, fine arts, and music (Gospel music, and operas like Amahl and the Night Vision by Menotti as well as musicals like Jesus Christ Superstar and Godspell). Particular emphasis is placed on a detailed analysis of the many movies on Jesus, from Zecca-Noguet (1905) to DeMille (1927), Ray (1961), Pasolini (1966), Scorsese (1988), and Gibson (2004). The format of the course consists of two lectures per week by the instructor and a weekly discussion session conducted by a GSI. The course grade will be based upon daily assignments and attendance; midterm(s) and final exam.

RELIGION 303 — Warrior Saints: Introduction to Sikh Religion, Culture, and Ethnicity
Section 001, LEC

Instructor: Mandair,Arvind-Pal Singh

FA 2007
Credits: 3
Reqs: HU
Other: WorldLit

Sikhism's relatively short but eventful history provides a fascinating insight into the working of seemingly contradictory themes in the study of religion, such as politics and religion, or violence and mysticism.

Not surprisingly contemporary Sikh religion's emphasis on the essential identity of the Warrior and the Saint has also generated a great deal of misunderstanding particularly in the West. This interdisciplinary course provides an introduction to the forms and central ideas of Sikh culture and religion. Students will gain an understanding of the development Sikh traditions and the construction and institutionalization of its major beliefs, practices and festivals.

In addition the course will aim to explore the central teachings and leading ideas that have arisen from the Sikh textual and interpretive traditions. Students will be expected to analyse the complex interactions that have given rise to the contemporary interpretive scene, and will be encouraged to link their understanding of the various traditions to the present day problems of textual transmission and reception in global diasporas.

RELIGION 310 — African-American Religion Between Christianity and Islam
Section 001, LEC

Instructor: Jackson,Sherman A; homepage

FA 2007
Credits: 4
Reqs: HU

A study of African-American Religion, as a phenomenon that develops out of the experience of enslaved Africans in the Americas, and its dialectical relationship with the supertradition of Christianity, on the one hand, and Islam, on the other, studied diachronically from the 18th through the 20th centuries.

RELIGION 323 — Zen: History, Culture, and Critique
Section 001, LEC

Instructor: Robson,James

FA 2007
Credits: 3
Reqs: HU
Other: Theme, WorldLit

This course provides an introduction to the religious history, philosophy and practices of Zen Buddhism. Zen is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word Chan, which is itself a transcription of the Sanskrit word dhyâna, meaning meditation. While meditation is no doubt the backbone of the Zen tradition, this course will highlight the fact that Zen has a number of different faces, including a radical antinomian side that challenged the role of meditation (and all forms of mediation). This course will examine the rich diversity of the Zen tradition as it developed in China, Korea, and Japan, with the first part providing an overview of the historical development of Zen and situating it within the Buddhist tradition that it emerged out of. The second part of the course will challenge and critically evaluate much of what is presented in the first half by exploring some less well known facets of Zen practice that on first glance appear to run counter to what the Zen tradition says about itself. We will explore the role of language in Zen from the enigmatic and abstruse use of koans to questions about why a tradition which took pride in "not being dependent on words" nonetheless produced a voluminous textual record. We will study both the crazy antics of inspired Zen monks and the structured life of Zen monastics and their rituals. Consideration will also be given to why a seemingly iconoclastic tradition like Zen also has a long tradition of venerating its masters, including some that were mummified. Why, we will ask, was Zen appealing to the Japanese warrior class and what has been its role in modern nationalistic movements in Japan? This course is designed to be as much an ongoing critical reflection on the history of the study of Zen as it is about Zen history.

RELIGION 325 — The History of Islam in South Asia
Section 001, LEC

Instructor: Mir,Farina

FA 2007
Credits: 4
Reqs: HU

This is an introductory level course on the history of Muslim communities and institutions in South Asia. Its aim is to introduce students to the broad historical currents of the expansion of Islam in the Indian subcontinent, the nature of Muslim political authority, the interaction between religious communities, Islamic aesthetics and contributions to material culture, the varied engagements and reactions of Muslims to colonial rule, the partition of British India and the creation of Pakistan, and the contemporary concerns of South Asia's Muslims. The course will begin with an introduction to the Islamic religious tradition. The main emphasis of the course will be on the social, political, and cultural history of Islam in South Asia. This course does not assume any prior knowledge of South Asian or Islamic history.

This course has no prerequisites

Evaluation in this course will be based on participation, a midterm exam, a 4-5 page essay, and a final exam.

Required texts:

  • Sugata Bose and Ayesha Jalal, Modern South Asia (Routledge, 2004).
  • Jamal Elias, Death Before Dying (University of California Press, 1998).
  • Jamal Elias, Islam (Prentice Hall, 1999).
  • Barbara Metcalf, trans., Perfecting Women: Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanawi's Behishti Zewar (University of California Press, 1992).

RELIGION 369 — Psychology and Religion
Section 001, LEC

Instructor: Malley,Brian Edward

FA 2007
Credits: 4

Psychologists have long been interested in the ideas, emotions, and motivations that drive religious people. Neither a critique nor defense of religion, this class explores what psychologists have learned about religious thought, feeling, and behavior. We will be particularly concerned with what religious thought and behavior implies about the human mind, how religion is similar to and different from other kinds of activities, and the creative ways in which people have understood their experiences. Assessment will involve exams, quizzes, and written assignments.

Enforced Prerequisites: One of the following: PSYCH 111, 112, 114, or 115.

RELIGION 376 — Women and the Bible
Section 001, LEC

Instructor: Tsoffar,Ruth; homepage

FA 2007
Credits: 3
Reqs: HU

In this course, we study some of the most important women in the Bible, beginning with the matriarchs and continuing with some of the major women in the Old Testament; then on to the Apocrypha, where we find such women as Judith and Salome who beguined military leaders and heads of state. We conclude with the New Testament, the women there who theologically defined Jesus' messiahship, supported him financially, and understood his ministry not as rule and kingly glory, but as one of service.

RELIGION 387 — Independent Study
Section 001, IND

FA 2007
Credits: 1 — 3
Other: INDEPENDENT

Credit Exclusions: Only one course from RELIGION 380, 387 and 487 may be elected in the same term.

Designed to accommodate students who are unable to take listed offerings and have special reasons for undertaking directed reading.

Advisory Prerequisite: PER. INSTR.

RELIGION 400 — Indian Religions and Western Thought
Section 001, SEM

Instructor: Mandair,Arvind-Pal Singh

FA 2007
Credits: 3

This course examines the intellectual encounter between India and the West from the 1770's to the present day, a period that coincides with the entry of India into the historical experience of colonialism and modernity. It looks at how the discovery of knowledge about India affected debates in modern European philosophy and conversely examines the reception of European ideas in modern Indian thought. Students will be encouraged to compare some central philosophical ideas from Indian devotional traditions with the ideas of Western philosophers in order to examine the possibility of a convergence between these seemingly different traditions of thought.

Advisory Prerequisite: Junior and above.

RELIGION 421 — Religions of the African Diaspora
Section 001, LEC

Instructor: Johnson,Paul Christopher

FA 2007
Credits: 3

This survey course offers an overview of the religions of the African Diaspora. Beginning with a theorization and genealogy of the concept of diaspora itself, the course provides introductions (both in historical context and contemporary manifestations) to the following: Brazilian Candomblé and Umbanda; Cuban Santería and Palo Monte; Haitian Vodou; Jamaican and globalized Rastafarianism; the ancestor religion of the Garifuna of Honduras, Guatemala and Belize; Obeah/ orisha practices of Trinidad; and the Afro-Baptist tradition and Pentecostal roots of the Black Church in the U.S. Key issues will include the way "Africa" is recreated in ritual practice, the experience of exile and transculturation, and common ritual tropes such as spirit possession, altars devoted to material exchange and sacrifice, performative codes of clothing and music, and many others.

Intended audience: Upper-level undergrads and grad students

Class Format: 3 hours/week in lecture format

Course Requirements:Attendance; participation; short in-class presentations; critical reading reviews; midterm exam; final exam. Undergraduates will do weekly critical reading response/reflection papers of about 3 pages each, making a sum of around 40 pages during the term. They also write essays on midterm and final exams, in addition to doing an oral presentation. Grads will be required to do a research paper.

RELIGION 448 — Psychology and Spiritual Development
Section 001, LEC

Instructor: Mann,Richard D

FA 2007
Credits: 3

This course explores the stages of spiritual development, beginning with awakening and initiation, through the deepening of direct experience and the formulation of a coherent spiritual path, including the notion of an ultimate attainment. It explores the function of spiritual groups and teachers in facilitating this development. Of particular interest are:

  • the spiritual seeker's experience of 'little death,' the mode of apparent discontinuity when the 'old life' is supplanted by a new identity and mode of living;
  • times of crisis, adaptation, and 'the dark night'; and
  • the experience of 'physical death,' as seen from the perspective of a lifetime of encountering both relative and absolute reality.

By means of personal narratives and fictional accounts, this course explores how diverse traditions create and value these moments of surrender and transformation. Lectures and readings by Hesse, Thich Nhat Hanh, Hillesum, Wilber, Batchellor, and others will form the basis of two short papers and one long final paper. There will be no final exam.

Advisory Prerequisite: One of the following: PSYCH 111, 112, 114, or 115, and permission of instructor.

RELIGION 469 — Jewish Mysticism
Section 001, LEC

Instructor: Ginsburg,Elliot K; homepage

FA 2007
Credits: 3
Other: WorldLit

A critical study of the historical development of Jewish mysticism, its symbolic universe and its social ramifications. The focus is on the variegated medieval stream known as Kabbalah. The issues explored are: the nature of mystical experience; images of God and the Person; symbols of the male and female; the problems of evil; mysticism and language; kabbalistic myth and ritual innovation; and kabbalistic interpretations of history.

RELIGION 471 — Seminar: Topics in the Study of Judaism
Section 001, SEM
Hasidic Texts (Cycle of the Year)

Instructor: Ginsburg,Elliot K; homepage

FA 2007
Credits: 3

Hasidism, that popular revival movement that rocked East European Jewry in the 18th and 19th centuries, has been called "Mysticism become ethos", i.e., mysticism turned into a way of life. One of the hallmarks of this movement is its celebration and rich symbolic rereading of sacred time. In this course we will learn to read (decode, historically contextualize, and interpret) key Hasidic texts in the Hebrew original. Our focus will be on the cycle of the year, and on the mystical interpretation of the Sabbath. Among the key texts to be explored are:

  • teachings associated with the Baal Shem Tov, the charismatic figure around which Hasidism coalesced;
  • the contemplative master, Dov Baer of Mezritch;
  • the storyteller-and radical mythopoet, Nahman of Bratslav;
  • and such creative figures as the Gerer and Slonimer masters.

Primary texts will be supplemented with secondary literature(in English) drawn from history and religious studies. We will also explore cultural details such as performed music (niggun) and storytelling.

Pre-requisites: intermediate or advanced Hebrew. Background in either Religious Studies, Literary Studies, or Jewish mysticism is helpful.

Written work includes 2-3 short essays and a translation project.

RELIGION 487 — Independent Study
Section 001, IND

FA 2007
Credits: 1 — 3
Other: INDEPENDENT

Credit Exclusions: Only one course from RELIGION 380, 387 and 487 may be elected in the same term.

Designed to accommodate advanced students who are unable to elect a listed offering and who have special reasons and/or interests in directed readings and research.

Advisory Prerequisite: PER. INSTR.

RELIGION 497 — Senior Honors Thesis
Section 001, IND

FA 2007
Credits: 1 — 6
Other: Honors, Indpnt Study

Each student prepares a substantial paper under the direction of a staff member.

Advisory Prerequisite: Open only to seniors admitted to the Honors concentration program with permission of instructor.

 
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