Class Schedules

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Fall 2015 Class Schedule - updated April 17, 2015 at 10:56 pm

Number/Section  Title
Days Time Room Instructor
RELI 100-01  Introduction to Islam: Formation and Expansion
TR 09:40 am-11:10 am MAIN 003 Brett Wilson
RELI 100-02  Introduction to Islam: Formation and Expansion
TR 03:00 pm-04:30 pm MAIN 003 Brett Wilson
RELI 111-01  Introduction to Buddhism
MWF 09:40 am-10:40 am MAIN 001 Erik Davis
RELI 141-01  Non-Classical Mythology
W 07:00 pm-10:00 pm CARN 206 Peter Harle
RELI 194-01  Lies, Life and Religious Ethics
MWF 10:50 am-11:50 am ARTCOM 102 Barry Cytron
Our study of Christian and Jewish moral perspectives has two goals: 1.) to understand how and why these inherited religious traditions are used to answer contemporary ethical problems, and 2.) to explore the extent to which, within as well as between these distinctive religious cultures, authoritative texts and community practices often yield diverse viewpoints. Issues include: abortion and biomedical parenting; organ donation; assisted suicide and euthanasia; “quality” of life and caring for the dying; scarce resources and responsibility to the other; truth telling and patient autonomy; and the environment and religious stewardship.

RELI 235-01  Theory and Method in the Study of Religion
TR 03:00 pm-04:30 pm MAIN 001 Erik Davis
RELI 238-01  Catholics: Culture, Identity and, Politics
MWF 01:10 pm-02:10 pm MAIN 002 James Laine
*First Year Course only*

RELI 245-01  Arabic Reading and Translation
W 07:00 pm-10:00 pm MAIN 003 Brett Wilson
RELI 294-01  Martin and Malcolm
TR 01:20 pm-02:50 pm MAIN 011 William Hart
*Corss-listed with AMST 294-03* In this course we explore the complicated lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.—the convergences and divergences. We analyze the intersections of racial identity, religious affiliation, and political orientation and their relations to the prevailing notions of manhood. How did Malcolm and Martin enter the black freedom movement? How did their religious affiliation facilitate or hinder entry? How did their participation in the movement inform their understanding of religion? Within their respective imaginations, what kind of “religio-political and ethical figure” is America—Egypt, or Promised Land, Zion or Babylon; messianic nation or apocalyptic, dystopian nightmare? How do Martin and Malcolm perform, enact, and embody the notion that “black lives matter?”

RELI 294-02  Sacred Madness
TR 01:20 pm-02:50 pm MAIN 001 Gregory Lipton
Traversing the borderlands between “enlightenment” and psychopathology, this course examines how charismatic spiritual “masters” often authorize the subversion of their own rational, legal, and ethical traditions. Our point of departure begins with the phenomena of ecstatic transcendence and mystical iconoclasm found in many classical religious formations, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. We then turn to explore the lives, doctrines, and communities of contemporary iconoclastic spiritual leaders such as Gurdjieff, Jim Jones, Father Yod, Chogyam Trungpa, Bhagwan Rajneesh, Frithjof Schuon, Ammachi, and Adi Da Samraj. Through the theoretical perspectives of psychology of religion and philosophy of religion, we will wrestle with the problems that arise in the dialectic of mysticism and power, including questions of spiritual “liberation” and morality, transcendent/messianic identification and megalomania, and the master-disciple relationship and individual autonomy.

RELI 394-01  Human Sacrifice
TR 09:40 am-11:10 am NEILL 228 William Hart
Though sacrifice is often viewed as the exclusive property of religion, this course is

organized around the claim that religion and statecraft (the art of governing a nation

well) are connected through practices of human sacrifice. Thus, in this course, we use

"human sacrifice" as a comparative category to understand aspects of religion and

statecraft, especially war, capital punishment, torture, terrorism, and genocide. Though

torture, terrorism, and genocide are important, our special focus is warfare and capital

punishment, which encompass the other sites of human sacrifice. The central questions

are the following: Why do gods and states demand blood; whence the impulse to

human sacrifice? What are the relations between divine sovereignty, political

sovereignty, and sacrifice? What are the modalities of human sacrifice? Is human

sacrifice inevitable?

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Spring 2015 Class Schedule - updated April 17, 2015 at 10:56 pm

Number/Section  Title
Days Time Room Instructor
RELI 102-01  Modern Islam
MWF 12:00 pm-01:00 pm MAIN 111 Gregory Lipton
In the modern period, Muslim-majority societies have faced daunting social, political, and intellectual challenges. Muslims have sought to find solutions to such challenges by rejecting Islam, transforming Islam, or returning to Islam. Through surveying a broad spectrum of Muslim voices in diverse socio-historical contexts—including traditional religious scholars, modernist intellectuals, Islamist ideologues, and progressive activists and feminists—this class explores some key ways Muslims have defined (and re-defined) themselves in response to the changes wrought by the colonial and post-colonial eras.

RELI 111-01  Introduction to Buddhism
MWF 09:40 am-10:40 am MAIN 009 Erik Davis
RELI 130-01  Folklore and Religion
W 07:00 pm-10:00 pm MAIN 111 Peter Harle
RELI 194-02  Jews and Christians: The First Two Thousand Years
MWF 09:40 am-10:40 am CARN 06A Cytron, Drake
*This class is part of a Spring 2015 cluster in the department focusing on the theme of religion and conflict. Classes will meet at the assigned time, but there will also be a few joint meetings for outside speakers and dinners.* For twenty centuries, Jews and Christians have mostly argued with one another, as each community formed its respective identity in relation to the other. In the aftermath of World War II, academics and interfaith activists attempted to understand and overturn this history of hostility and set the relationship onto a new path. More recently, however, political events, newer church teachings, and media events have threatened to upend these attempts at harmony and interfaith understanding. In this course we will examine the diverse relations between Jews and Christians from the ancient world to today, and we will explore the complex theological and social history between the two "religions," tracing the repercussions into this new century

RELI 194-03  World Religions and World Religions Discourse
MWF 01:10 pm-02:10 pm MAIN 010 James Laine
Our goal will be to make an effort to comprehend just what cultural literacy would mean when studying the major religious traditions of the world, while at the same time developing an appreciation of some of the blind spots and problems in this enterprise. To a large extent, we will do some serious construction before we feel ready for de-construction. Ever couple of weeks, we will cover one of five major areas (South Asia, East Asia, Judaism, Christianity, Islam) and each student will read a different author's treatment of this material.

RELI 194-04  Sufism: The Islamic Quest for Intimacy with the Beloved
TR 01:20 pm-02:50 pm CARN 06A Gregory Lipton
With attention to both classical texts and contemporary contexts, this course examines the formative development of Islamic mysticism, or Sufism, and its rich legacy of embodied piety and mystical intimacy. Drawing on the teachings of key Muslim mystics, we will explore the sacred sources, unitive doctrines, and metaphysical cosmology of Sufism, as well as its devotional practices, celebrated poetry, and contested tradition of ecstatic discourse.

RELI 200-01  The Qur'an (Koran)
TR 09:40 am-11:10 am OLRI 170 Gregory Lipton
This course is an introduction to the Qur’an as the textual crystallization of the Prophet Muhammad’s religio-historical legacy and the principal source of divine guidance for Muslims since the inception of Islam. Students will read the Qur'an in translation, explore traditions of Qur'anic interpretation, and engage recent academic approaches to understanding the text in terms of its history, structure, main themes, and prophetology.

RELI 294-01  Buddhist Fascists
TR 01:20 pm-02:50 pm MAIN 111 Erik Davis
*Cross-listed with ASIA 294-01; this class is part of a Spring 2015 cluster in the department focusing on the theme of religion and conflict. Classes will meet at the assigned time, but there will also be a few joint meetings for outside speakers and dinners.* This mid-level seminar explores modern expressions of what might be called "Buddhist Fascism:" a form of social activism and organization which explicitly places Buddhist and national institutions together, and opposes them - usually violently - to non-nationals and non-Buddhists. This course will examine the development of Fascism as a broad set of modernist ideologies, usually from the point of view of sociological studies of fascist movements.

Beginning with the early Orientalist and race-theories emerging from Europe and South Asia in the Nineteenth Century, this class proceeds to mid-Twentieth Century Imperial Japan, and then to examples in Southeast and South Asian Buddhist countries, including contemporary Buddhist Fascism Movements in Burma/Myanmar and Sri Lanka

RELI 294-02  Banned Books in South Asia
MWF 10:50 am-11:50 am MAIN 001 James Laine
*This class is part of a Spring 2015 cluster in the department focusing on the theme of religion and conflict. Classes will meet at the assigned time, but there will also be a few joint meetings for outside speakers and dinners.* Since Salman Rushdie’s novel, The Satanic Verses, was banned in India and Pakistan as blasphemous in 1989, the banning of books in South Asia has become a regular part of politics and the discourses of tolerance, respect, post-colonialism, and freedom of expression. In this course, we will read several such books, first to understand what their opponents saw as threatening and misguided in them, and then to understand what the authors themselves were attempting to communicate. Among the primary books under review will be: Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses; Wendy Doniger’s The Hindus; James Laine’s Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India; and Harjot Oberoi’s The Construction of Religious Boundaries. We will also look at the question of censorship and view some censored or banned films.

RELI 294-03  Making Sacred: Religious Images and Spaces in Asia
TR 01:20 pm-02:50 pm ARTCOM 102 Kari Shepherdson-Scott
*Cross-listed with ART 270-01 and ASIA 294-02; counts as fine arts distribution*

RELI 325-01  Conquering the Flesh: Renunciation of Food/Sex in the Christian Tradition
TR 09:40 am-11:10 am NEILL 111 Susanna Drake
RELI 394-01  Metaphysics in Secular Thought
TR 03:00 pm-04:30 pm NEILL 214 Kiarina Kordela
*Cross-listed with GERM 394-01 and POLI 294-03; for description see German Studies listing*

RELI 469-01  Approaches to the Study of Religion
TR 03:00 pm-04:30 pm MAIN 003 Susanna Drake

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