All RLST undergraduate classes satisfy the Arts & Sciences General Education: DistributionArts & Humanities.

Jewish History Since 1492

RLST/HIST/JWST 1828-001 | 3.0
Hilary Kalisman, TTH 11:00–12:15, HUMN 135   

Surveys the major historical developments encountered by Jewish communities beginning with the Spanish Expulsion in 1492 up until the present day. Studies the various ways in which Jews across the modern world engaged with the emerging notions of nationality, equality and citizenship, as well as with new ideologies such as liberalism, socialism, nationalism, imperialism and antisemitism. 

Holocaust and Global Genocide

RLST/HIST/JWST 1830-001 | 3.0
Thomas Pegelow, TTH 3:30–4:45, 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.

A&S Core: Historical Context
Arts & Sciences General Education: DiversityGlobal Perspective

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 
Loriliai Biernacki, TTH 12:30–1:45, HLMS 241

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.

Asia Content
A&S Core: Ideals and Values

Paganism to Christianity

RLST 2614-001/CLAS 2610-001 | 3.0 
Tyler Denton, MWF 2:30–3:20, HLMS 229

Offers a cultural history of Greek and Roman religion. Students read ancient texts in translation and use evidence from archaeology to reconstruct the shift from paganism to Christianity in antiquity. No Greek or Latin required.

A&S Core: Ideals and Values

Meditation: Ancient and Modern 

RLST 2650-010 | 3.0 
Holly Gayley, MW 11:15–12:05, HALE 230   (*Note you must also sign up for a recitation section.)

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 2700-010/ETHN 2703-010 | 3.0
Natalie Avalos, MW 10:10–11:00, HLMS 199   (*Note you must also sign up for a recitation section.)

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.

A&S Core: Human Diversity
A&S Core: Ideals and Values

Arts & Humanities: Literature and Humanities

Women and Religion

RLST 2800-001/WGST 2800-002 | 3.0 
Celene Lillie, MWF 11:15–12:05, MUEN E431

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.

A&S Core: Human Diversity
Arts & Sciences General Education: DiversityU.S. Perspective
Arts & Humanities: Literature and Humanities

The Quran

RLST 3040-001 | 3.0 
Aun Hasan Ali, TTH 12:30–1:45, HLMS 267

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. 

Asia Content
Arts & Sciences General Education: Diversity–Global Perspective

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

RLST 3070-001
Aun Hasan Ali, TTH 2:00–3:15, 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 | 3.0
Samuel Boyd, TTH 11:00–12:15, ENVD 120

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

Asia Content
A&S Core: Historical Context

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

RLST/JWST 3150-001 | 3.0
Samuel Boyd, TTH 9:30–10:45, HLMS 267  

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 questions, 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.

Yoga, Castes and Magic: Hindu Society and Spirituality

RLST 3200-001
Loriliai Biernacki, TTH 2:00–3:15, HLMS 141

Addresses yoga, religious asceticism and practices of magic in Hinduism from ancient India up to the modern period. Gives an overview of the variety of traditions in Hinduism, focusing on how spiritual practices affect social roles. Looks at how spritual practices approach happiness and social change, from ancient India’s secret Upanisads through medieval mystic poets like Mirabai, through Gandhi in the 20th century, focusing on figures using mystical experience to overturn social and political powers.

Asia Content

Women, Gender & Sexuality in Jewish Texts and Traditions

RLST/JWST 3202-001  WGST 3201-002 | 3.0
Rebecca Wartell, TTH 2:00–3:15, HLMS 267

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.

A&S Core: Human Diversity

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

RLST/HUMN 3801-001 | 3.0
Brian Catlos, TTH 11:00–12:15, MUEN E064  

Through contemporary documents and artifacts trace the evolution of western society and culture from the emergence of Islam to the "Age of Discovery," revealing a world shaped by the contact, conflict and collaboration of Muslims, Christian and Jewish men and women from Africa, West Asia and Europe in the Mediterranean world over the course of a thousand years.

Contemporary Issues in the Study of American Religions

RLST 4030/5030-001 | 3.0
Deborah Whitehead, M 3:30–6:00, HUMN 270

This seminar for advanced undergraduate and graduate students will explore contemporary theoretical and methodological issues in the study of North American religious history, with attention to such topics as narrative and myth, settler colonialism, lived religion, metaphysical religion, space and place, race/ethnicity, gender, law, and secularism.

Topics in Buddhism: Buddhist Literature in Tibet

RLST 4250/5250-001 | 3.0
Holly Gayley, TH 3:30–6:00, HUMN 270

Tibet has a vast literary heritage in which Buddhist texts hold a prominent place. In creating this literature, Tibetan authors adopted a number of literary models from India and also integrated Buddhist concerns into indigenous Tibetan oral styles. This course takes a thematic approach to the study of Buddhist literature in Tibet. This semester we will pay special attention to the interplay between literary style and doctrinal content in texts related to meditation advice and ritual performance. This will include advice texts (both poetry and prose), ritual manuals, as well as contemporary fiction, allowing us to explore how literature and associated practices can shape, transform, and critique social worlds, associated worldviews, and embodied experience. Throughout the course, we think critically about rhetorical strategies, genre conventions, and ways of reading Buddhist literature in Tibet.

Asia Content

Medieval Spain – Land of Three Religions

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

This course surveys the history of Islamic Spain (al–Andalus) from the last years of the Visigothic kingdom through the Muslim conquest, to the era of Christian domination and ultimately the expulsion of Spain's Moriscos (approximately 650 to 1620 CE). Emphasis is placed on interactions of Christian, Muslim and Jewish peoples and cultures, including Europeans, North Africans and Middle Easterners and the historical impact of Spanish Islam on the history and culture of the larger West.