Jewish History to 1492

RLST/HIST/JWST 1818-001 | 3.0
Hilary Kalisman, TTH 11:00–12:15, CASE E340   

Focus on Jewish history from the Biblical period to the Spanish Expulsion in 1492. Study the origins of a group of people who call themselves, and whom others call, Jews. Focus on place, movement, power/powerlessness, gender, and the question of how to define Jews over time and place. Introduces Jews as a group of people bound together by a particular set of laws; looks at their dispersion and diversity; explores Jews' interactions with surrounding cultures and societies; introduces the basic library of Jews; sees how Jews relate to political power. 

Global History of Holocaust and Genocide

RLST/HIST/JWST 1830-001 | 3.0
Gregg Drinkwater, MWF 10:10–11:00, MCOL W100

Examines the interplay of politics, culture, psychology and sociology to try to understand why the great philosopher Isaiah Berlin called the 20th century, "The most terrible century in Western history." Our focus will be on the Holocaust as the event that defined the concept of genocide, but we will locate this event that has come to define the 20th century within ideas such as racism, imperialism, violence, and most important, the dehumanization of individuals in the modern world.

Introduction to the New Testament

RLST/JWST 1910-001 | 3.0
Celene Lillie, MWF 12:20–1:10, HUMN 1B80

Examine the background, content and influence of the New Testament books. Studies the diverse perspectives contained in the various books, as well as the process of canonization. Assess the influence of the New Testament on the development of Christianity as well as world (eastern and western) culture. 

Happiness and Nirvana: Enlightenment in Indian Religions

RLST 2610-001 | 3.0 
John Kinsey, MWF 1:25–2:15, HLMS 141

Addresses religious and spiritual practices geared towards ideals of enlightenment across various religious traditions in India, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism, in relation to different social groups historically. Examines the concept of happiness (sukhā) and its connections to spiritual enlightenment.

Meditation: Ancient and Modern

RLST 2650-001 | 3.0 
Holly Gayley, MW 11:15–12:05, HALE 230

Explores the roots of today's mindfulness movement in ancient forms of Buddhist meditation. Topics covered include the array of meditation techniques in Buddhism, colonial-period origins of lay meditation in Asia, Buddhism's transmission to North America and Europe in the 20th century, the emergence of secular forms of mindfulness, and scientific studies on mindfulness and compassion.

Native American and Indigenous Religious Traditions

RLST 2700  ETHN 2703 | 3.0 
Natalie Avalos, MW 10:10–11:00, HALE 230

Studies the religious lifeways of diverse Indigenous peoples in North America. The course considers how these religious lifeways facilitate healing, movements of social protest, and efforts for self-determination in response to ongoing forms of colonialism. Students will critically explore the impact of colonial structures on Native American religious traditions, such as missionization, and evaluate the meaning of decolonization as both a pathway and goal supporting Native liberation.

Women and Religion

RLST/WGST 2800-001
Celene Lillie, MWF 11:15–12:05, RAMY N1B23

What is a woman?  What is religion?  How does the answer to one inform the answer to the other?  In this course, we will explore a range of literature from ancient Greek and Roman mythology to first and second century Jewish and Christian writings alongside contemporary readings from Buddhist, Muslim, Indigenous, and Christian traditions.  To frame these explorations, we will engage theories of gender and religion, particularly the ways in which they intersect with race, class, and violence.

The Quran

RLST 3040-001 | 3.0
Aun Ali, TTH 2:00–3:15, CASE E340

Examines how Christian constructions of religion and scripture have shaped Muslim understandings of the Quran and marginalized other views with a much longer history. Helps students appreciate how this process of marginalization is negotiated and explores the Quran from other perspectives including sound, performance, embodiment, and occultism. By highlighting marginalized approaches to the Quran, it promotes a better understanding of how social and religious differences are shaped by different political legacies.  

Islamic Mysticism: Ibn Arabi, Rumi, and the Sufi Tradition

RLST 3070-001
Aun Ali, TTH 12:30–1:45, HLMS 241

Introduces students to the philosophical, literary, and musical traditions of Islamic Mysticism or Sufism. Figures covered include: Rumi, Hallaj, Ibn Arabi, Mulla Sadra, Ghazali, Hafez, Ibn al-Farid, Ghalib, and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Students will learn how Islamic Mysticism differs across cultural contexts and how it compares to other mystical traditions.


RLST/JWST 3100-001
Elias Sacks, TTH 11:00–12:15, MCOL E158

Explores Jewish religious experience and its expression in thought, ritual, ethics, and social institutions.

Jerusalem: The Holy City in History, Legend, and Religious Thought

RLST/JWST 3150-001 | 3.0
Samuel Boyd, TTH 9:30–10:45, HLMS 241

The history of Jerusalem and the stories that have given it prominence in the religious imagination continue to shape much of the world in which we live. In this class, we will survey approximately three millennia of the history of the city. We will ask methodological question, such as: What does it mean for a place to be conceived of as holy? How does this perceived holiness come about? What happens when holy places are destroyed and rebuilt? We will examine the biblical stories about Jerusalem not only as important sources themselves, but also for how they shape later religious traditions, specifically Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. As such, we will address what it means for the same place to be perceived as “holy” by differing, and often competing, groups. These contestations regarding Jerusalem will, then, allow us to engage issues of religious diversity and conflict both historically and in the present.

Women, Gender & Sexuality in Jewish Texts & Traditions

RLST/JWST 3202  WGST 3201 | 3.0
Gregg Drinkwater, MWF 2:30–3:20, HLMS 241

Reads some of the ways Jewish texts and traditions look at women, gender and sexuality from biblical times to the present. Starts with an analysis of the positioning of the body, matter and gender in creation stories, moves on to the gendered aspects of tales of rescue and sacrifice, biblical tales of sexual subversion and power, taboo-breaking and ethnos building, to rabbinic attitudes towards women, sexuality and gender and contemporary renderings and rereadings of the earlier texts and traditions.

Muslims, Christians, Jews and the Mediterranean Origins of the West

RLST/HUMN 3801-001 | 3.0
Brian Catlos, TTH 2:00–3:15, MCOL E158

Provides a historical foundation for the study of western Modernity, including the Anglo-European and Islamic worlds. It focuses on the Mediterranean region in the long Middle Ages (650-1650), emphasizing the role of Christian, Muslim and Jewish peoples and cultures, in Europe, Africa and West Asia. The approach is interdisciplinary incorporating social, economic, cultural, literary and art history, combining lectures with discussions based around readings of contemporary documents and the analysis of contemporary artifacts.

Senior Majors Seminar

RLST 4830-001 | 3.0
Samuel Boyd, 3:35–6:05, HUMN 270

Brings advanced majors together in order to focus their major experience onsignificant topics and issues of common interest.

Topics in Buddhism: Transnational Buddhism

RLST 4250/5250-001 | 3.0
Holly Gayley, T 3:55–6:25, HUMN 270

Examines in depth central themes, schools of thought and movements in Buddhism, such as Theravada in Southeast Asia, Mahayana and Tantrayana thought, Zen and Buddhism in America. 

Interdisciplinary Seminar on Religion: Ethnicity, Race, Religion

RLST 4820/5820-001 | 3.0
Brian Catlos, TH 3:30–6:00, HUMN 270

Variable topics in religion, drawing from a variety of disciplines and methodologies as they shed light on specific traditions and issues.