Spring 2017   Fall 2017   Spring 2018  

Spring 2017

RELI 109-01

Sufism: The Islamic Quest for Intimacy with the Beloved

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 01:20 pm-02:50 pm
  • Room: MAIN 011
  • Instructor: Gregory Lipton

Notes: 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 ecstatic discourse. (4 credits)

RELI 136-01

World Religions and World Religions Discourse

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 02:20 pm-03:20 pm
  • Room: MAIN 003
  • Instructor: Hart, Laine

Notes: 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. Every 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. (4 credits)

RELI 194-04

Rhetoric and Epidemic: Christianity and the AIDS Crisis

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 08:00 am-09:30 am
  • Room: MAIN 111
  • Instructor: John Anderson

Notes: When the AIDS epidemic permeated American culture in the 1980s, some Christian churches were quick to describe the disease as God’s judgement on the gay community. Yet a counter-narrative emerged from gay Christians that used theological language to affirm their own lives in the midst of immense suffering and condemnation. This course looks at religious rhetoric from the height of the 1980s AIDS epidemic in the U.S., examining how it was used to both stigmatize and resist stigma and asking how discourse and rhetoric affect the subjectivity of individuals and communities. Theoretically, Michel Foucault provides the framework for the course, and participants will read foundational works by Foucault before turning to analyze religious texts -- both written and visual -- from this period.

RELI 200-01

The Qur'an (Koran)

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 09:40 am-11:10 am
  • Room: MAIN 003
  • Instructor: Gregory Lipton

Notes: This course offers an introduction to the Qur¿an (Koran), the central text 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 addition to considering the original context of the Qur¿an and its relationship to Biblical materials, the course will examine contemporary controversies surrounding the text and its import for living Muslim communities. (4 credits)

RELI 232-01

Religion and Food

  • Days: W
  • Meeting Time: 07:00 pm-10:00 pm
  • Room: MAIN 002
  • Instructor: Peter Harle

Notes: Why does food play such a big part in so many sacred traditions? How do people use food to make sense of the world? Why do we fast, kill animals, feed spirits, and throw potluck suppers in the name of religion? This course will introduce students to the study of religion, using food as an entry point. Through readings, lectures, slides, videos, and hands-on experiences, we will investigate case studies from many cultures and historical periods. We will explore aspects of foodways such as cooking, farming, sacrifice, aesthetics, and display as they relate to myth, magic, ritual, healing, ethics and doctrine. Students will be expected to keep up with an intensive but interesting schedule of reading, to participate in class discussions and activities, and to complete written assignments including responses, several mini-projects, and a final library or field project on a topic of their choice. (4 credits)


RELI 233-01

Hindus and Muslims

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 10:50 am-11:50 am
  • Room: MAIN 009
  • Instructor: James Laine

Notes: This class will be a reflection on the long history of co-existence of people in South Asia thought to belong to two very different religions Hinduism and Islam. We will begin by looking at the formation of classical Islam in the Middle East, and looking at the classical Hindu epic, the Ramayana. From there we will move to a survey of the history of encounter and exchange, from the early period (al Biruni), to the establishment of the great Muslim sultanates. We will critically examine the evidence of religious conflict, alongside the evidence of rich cultural exchange, and interrogate the competing historigrahic narratives, according to which South Asia either become a single Indo-Islamic civilization or a place of two cultures destined to become different modern nation states (India, Pakistan and Bangladesh). Finally, we will consider colonial and post colonial South Asia and conclude with a reflection on the Babri Masjid crisis and India's debates about secularism. (4 credits)

RELI 294-03

Women and the Bible

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 01:20 pm-02:50 pm
  • Room: ARTCOM 202
  • Instructor: Susanna Drake

Notes: *Cross-listed with WGSS 294-04* In this course we will examine the roles, identities, and representations of women in the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, and Jewish and Christian apocrypha. We will explore how biblical writers used women “to think with”, and we will consider how gender is co-constructed alongside religious, social, and sexual identities. We will ask the following sorts of questions: What opportunities for social advancement and leadership were open to women in early Jewish and Christian communities, and how did these opportunities differ from those open to women in other religious formations in the ancient Mediterranean? How did biblical regulations of sexuality, marriage, and family life shape women’s lives? What are the social and material effects of biblical representations of women? And how might current feminist theories inform our interpretation of biblical texts about women?

RELI 394-01

Colonial Rites: Anguish, Otherness, and the Study of Religion

  • Days: W
  • Meeting Time: 07:00 pm-10:00 pm
  • Room: MAIN 010
  • Instructor: William Hart

Notes: *Cross-listed with INTL 394-01* This course explores colonialism as an ensemble of ritual performances. To what extent, we ask, is colonialism the interpretive context for the study of religion? And how is this context related to historical and contemporary questions of anguish and otherness? Drawing on developments in theater, ritual, and performance studies, we explore five modalities of colonialism: colonialism as charisma, violence, gender, race, and writing. After explicating these colonial modalities, we turn our attention to specific cases, which are drawn from the triangulation of India, Africa, and America in the modern, European imperial/colonial imagination.

RELI 394-02

Slaves, Animals, and Fetuses

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 09:40 am-11:10 am
  • Room: MAIN 011
  • Instructor: William Hart

Notes: This courses addresses ethical “rhetoric.” We explore the construction of animals and fetuses as slaves. We focus on the use of the metaphors of enslavement and abolition by advocates of animal welfare, rights, and liberation and by opponents of abortion, associated reproductive technologies, and of the very notion of reproductive freedom. We explore the chain of associations that emerge between religion, slavery, race, humanity, and animality. The “religious unconscious” of this course revolves the fact that all humans as far as we know grapple with the relations among humanity, animality, and divinity. Thus the central thesis of this course is that the racialization of slavery occurred within Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions and that the historical enslavement of people of African descent provides the model for the ethical rhetoric of animal rights advocates and opponents of abortion. Among the questions we explore is the following: how does the appropriation by animal rights and anti-abortion activists of the image of the enslaved black person and the metaphors of slavery and abolition affect our understanding of racialization?

RELI 469-01

Approaches to the Study of Religion

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 03:00 pm-04:30 pm
  • Room: ARTCOM 202
  • Instructor: Susanna Drake

Notes: An advanced seminar required for religious studies majors, open to minors. Both classic and contemporary theories on the nature of religion and critical methods for the study of religion will be considered. (4 credits)

Fall 2017

RELI 100-01

Introduction to Islam: Formation and Expansion

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 12:00 pm-01:00 pm
  • Room: MAIN 009
  • Instructor: Gregory Lipton

Notes: *First day attendance required; cross-listed with INTL 194-01*

This course charts the formation of Islam and the expansion of Muslim peoples, from the life of the Prophet Muhammad to the Mongol conquest of Baghdad. It will examine Muslim institutions, beliefs, and ritual practices in their historical contexts. In addition to the basics of Muslim practice and belief, the class will introduce students to mystic traditions (Sufism), Islamicate statecraft, and intellectual/legal traditions as well as cultural trends including art, architecture, and literature. (4 credits)

RELI 111-01

Introduction to Buddhism

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 10:50 am-11:50 am
  • Room: CARN 208
  • Instructor: Erik Davis

Notes: Buddhism is increasing well-known in the USA, but what is it, and how does Buddhism encourage people to organize and think about their lives? Organized on the basis of the Eightfold Noble Path, with a focus of 'morals, the Buddhist psychology of mind, and meditation,' this course offers an introduction to the personalities, teachings, and institutions of Buddhism. Beginning in India at the time of the Buddha, this course focuses on Theravada Buddhism, asking students to think historically, philosophically, and anthropologically. Many Friday sessions will be dedicated to an exploration of the variety of Buddhist meditative techniques. (4 credits)

RELI 194-01

Who Wrote the Bible?

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 10:50 am-11:50 am
  • Room: MAIN 111
  • Instructor: STAFF

Notes: This course is an introduction to the literature, history, and religious life of the Israelite people from its beginnings through the Persian period (fifth century BCE), with a focus on discerning the identities and motivations of the biblical composers. The course will focus on learning to read the books of the Hebrew Bible (=HB) in the light of two academic methodologies: the comparative method (reading the HB alongside other texts from the ancient Near East) and the historical-critical method (use of historians’ methodology, including archeology) to ascertain the human circumstances of the religion, life, and literature of ancient Israel. Emphasis will be on coming to understand imaginatively Israelite religion as an aspect of the total life situation of the people. As such, we will be concerned with the ancient Near Eastern background of the Hebrew Bible, the permutations of the social and political life of ancient Israel, and the various forms of thought and piety that arose during the periods in question.

RELI 194-02

Psychedelics and Religious Experience

  • Days: M
  • Meeting Time: 07:00 pm-10:00 pm
  • Room: MAIN 111
  • Instructor: Gregory Lipton

Notes: Centered around theories in the study of religion, this course interrogates the use of psychedelics as purported entheogens—substances that “generate the divine within.” Taking a multidisciplinary approach that surveys the history and effect of psychedelics on physiological processes and states of human consciousness, this course cuts across scholarly research in cognitive science, biology, psychology, psychopharmacology, philosophy, anthropology, theology, and religious studies in order to explore whether the contemporary use of psychedelics can help us understand more clearly the fraught category of religious experience. Does the entheogenic use of psychedelics allow for “true” religious experience and knowledge of the noumenal—i.e., reality as it is—or does such use simply perpetuate the illusory realm of phenomena?

RELI 223-01

Orthodoxy and Heresy in Early Christianity

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 09:40 am-11:10 am
  • Room: ARTCOM 202
  • Instructor: Susanna Drake

Notes: The critical study of ancient Christian texts involves making strange texts familiar and familiar texts strange. In this course, we will consider non-canonical texts alongside canonical texts in order to develop insight into the formation of Christian identity in the first through fourth centuries. Special emphasis will be given to the development of the discourses of orthodoxy and heresy, the diversity of Christian beliefs and practices, and the examination of early Christian writings within their social and political contexts. Instead of investigating the material in strict chronological order, we will consider how different people (Jesus, Mary Magdalene, James, Paul, etc) serve as authorizing figures for the texts. Using this organization, we will investigate issues at stake in the development of Christian "canon," including theology, Christology, apostolic authority, women's roles, and the relation of Christianity to the state and to other religious traditions. (4 credits)

RELI 226-01

Martyrdom Then and Now

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 01:20 pm-02:50 pm
  • Room: NEILL 400
  • Instructor: Susanna Drake

Notes: From Socrates to suicide bombers, martyrs have been forced to give up their lives, or chosen to risk them and even to die, rather than renounce their beliefs or practices. Of course, we know their stories only second hand. This course explores how narratives about martyrs ("martyrologies") relate to the formation of religious identities and communities. Over the course of the semester, we will analyze martyrologies from the early Christian and Jewish periods, the beginnings of Islam, the sixteenth century, and modernity. We will pay special attention to the social and political contexts with which martyrs often found themselves at odds (including the Roman Empire in the ancient past, and the U.S./Middle East conflicts of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries). In class discussions, readings, and written work, you will have the opportunity to reflect on the following questions (among others): How do the stories we tell about martyrs shape the way we understand religious practices and beliefs? How do narratives of bearing witness, suffering, and death help to illumine relationships between religious and political domains? How might our current understanding of martyrdom be informed for better and for worse by a study of history?

RELI 235-01

Theorizing Religion

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 01:20 pm-02:50 pm
  • Room: MAIN 003
  • Instructor: Erik Davis

Notes: The course is an introduction to some of the important theoretical and methodological work conducted by scholars in various disciplines who hope to better define and understand religious phenomena. This seminar begins with some of the early twentieth century texts that are often cited and discussed by contemporary scholars of religion (e.g., Durkheim, Weber, Freud) and then turns to a number of investigations stemming from engagement with earlier theorists or refracting new concerns. The course inquires into the problems of defining and analyzing religious cultures, and the researcher's position or positions in this analysis, as this has been approached from anthropological, sociological, and religious studies perspectives. (4 credits)


RELI 236-01

Sanskrit and Classical Religion in India

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 09:40 am-10:40 am
  • Room: NEILL 227
  • Instructor: James Laine

Notes: *Cross-listed with ASIA 236-01, CLAS 202-01 and, LING 236-01*

Like Latin and Greek in Europe, Sanskrit is a highly inflected language of scholarship and revered as the perfect medium for discourse on everything from science and sex to philosophy and religion. It flourished in its classical form after the age of the Buddha (5th century BC) and served as a scholarly lingua franca in India until the Islamic period. This course serves as an introduction to the grammar an script of Sanskrit, and we will advance to a point of reading simplified texts from the classical epic Ramayana.Students will be expected to attend class regularly and spend at least ten hours a week outside class studying the grammar and vocabulary. Without this sort of effort, no progress is possible in such a complex language. In addition to the rigorous study of the language, we will consider both the role of the language in classical Indian culture and religion, and some texts from the Ramayana, looking at both English translation and Sanskrit originals. (4 credits)

RELI 238-01

Catholics: Culture, Identity, Politics

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 02:20 pm-03:20 pm
  • Room: CARN 304
  • Instructor: James Laine

Notes: *First Year Course only* The study of Christian traditions in general, and Roman Catholicism in particular, has often emphasized the study of theology and the history of the institutional Church. Scholars studying non-Western religious traditions, however, have in recent decades given close attention to the culture of which any given religious tradition is a part, studying as much the popular culture as elite and institutional expressions. This course is an attempt, in part, to apply the approaches developed by comparative historians of religion and anthropologists to the study of some of the cultures influenced by Catholicism, and to understand current issues and debates on, for example, sexual politics, liturgy, or theology and Church authority, in that context. We will begin with a consideration of the place of Catholicism within American culture, some of the conflicts between American and Catholic values, in light of the long history of the Catholic Church in the West. We will then turn to particular cultural and ritual expressions of Catholic faith. There will also be opportunities to study various aspects of Catholic culture in Minnesota through field trips, and independent projects. Here some of the ethnic diversity among Catholics in Minnesota --Germans, Irish, Latin Americans, Native Americans, Poles, African-Americans, Vietnamese, Koreans—may be considered. We’ll begin with a visit to a big lefty church that meets in a school gym with a stage full of old hippies playing electric guitars at mass. Then we’ll attend a conservative Latin mass with full orchestra and choir performing one of Mozart’s masses. Are these two churches part of the same religion? The theologian might say yes, the anthropologist might disagree.

Class meets MWF, 2:20 pm - 3:20 pm in Carnegie 304

Writing designation: WC


RELI 238-02

Catholics: Culture, Identity, Politics

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 03:30 pm-04:30 pm
  • Room: CARN 304
  • Instructor: James Laine

Notes: A study of the religious tradition of Roman Catholicism. Some attention will be given to the theology and historical development of the Roman Catholic Church, but major emphasis will fall on the relationship of the Catholic religion to various Catholic cultures, including Ireland, Mexico, Poland and the United States. (4 credits)


RELI 294-01

Vodou and Santeria: African Diasporic Religious History

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 03:30 pm-04:30 pm
  • Room: MAIN 111
  • Instructor: Tiffany Gleason

Notes: *Cross-listed with HIST 294-01* How did a complex religious pantheon come to represent bad Hollywood zombie movies and New Orleans-style voodoo dolls? In this course, we will find out by investigating the history of complex religious practices such as Haitian Voudou, which originated with West African Vodou and Kongolese religious practices as the slaves from these regions were brought to the island of Hispaniola during the trans-Atlantic slave system and changed over time as people continuously interacted across the Atlantic world. We will also explore other African-based religions. For example, the orisha religions of Yoruba peoples in West Africa came to places such as Brazil and Cuba at various points in both the legal and illicit slave trading periods. Peoples of African descent experienced a bricolage of cultural impacts and remade themselves in the Americas but did not forget ties to the homeland. Religions such as Christianity and Islam also inserted themselves into these communities and emerged intertwined. The movements of Africans and their descendants came to North America adapting and adopting even more of their practices to meet specific needs. We will learn about the values, attitudes and norms that historically shaped the cultures of peoples across the Atlantic. The Caribbean, Brazil and West Africa, will be our primary focuses. Specifically, you will come to understand the complexity of religious practices commonly known as Santeria, Candomble, Vodou, Palo Mayombe, Ifa, and Hoodoo, among others. By placing these systems in an appropriate historical context, we will identify and analyze key elements, biases and influences that shape the disciplines of History and World Religions.

RELI 294-02

Comparative Muslim Cultures

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 03:30 pm-04:30 pm
  • Room: CARN 404
  • Instructor: Jenna Rice Rahaim

Notes: *Cross-listed with ANTH 253-01 and INTL 253-01*


RELI 359-01

Religion and Revolution: Case Studies

  • Days: W
  • Meeting Time: 07:00 pm-10:00 pm
  • Room: MAIN 111
  • Instructor: Erik Davis

Notes: An examination of five revolutions and their religious engagements: The Diggers and the English Civil War, The Taiping Rebellion in China, Buddhism and the Cambodian Revolution, Cultural Rebirth and Resistance in Native America, and the Algerian Islamist Revolution. All participants will read one work about each example, and then will focus more deeply on the examples in group and individual work. The course intends to develop critical skills in comparing the radical social changes implied by the word revolution with the differing revolutionary impulses that are sometimes drawn from religion, and sometimes opposed to it. (4 credits)

Spring 2018

RELI 102-01

Modern Islam

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 12:00 pm-01:00 pm
  • Room:
  • Instructor: Gregory Lipton

Notes: Situated within the overlapping socio-political contexts of the so-called Muslim World and the West, this course examines the Islamic engagement with modernity through both secondary scholarly analysis and primary texts representing seminal modern Islamic discourses (including modernist, Islamist, traditionalist, and progressivist). After a brief introduction to the academic study of Islam and Islamic history, we will explore key ways Muslim thinkers and activists have defined (and re-defined) themselves in response to the changes wrought by the colonial and post-colonial eras.

RELI 121-01

Peter, Paul and Mary: The Beginnings of Christianity

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 09:40 am-11:10 am
  • Room:
  • Instructor: Susanna Drake

Notes: This course examines the diverse literature of the New Testament along with some other early Christian texts that did not become part of the Christian “canon.” We will employ historical-critical approaches in order to situate New Testament texts in their social, political, and historical contexts. We will pay special attention to how the various authors of the New Testament produced Jewish-Christian difference and how they understood the role of women within their communities. Contemporary modes of interpretation will be employed to explore the formation of identity in the first and second centuries of Christianity. (4 credits)

RELI 136-01

World Religions and World Religions Discourse

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 02:20 pm-03:20 pm
  • Room:
  • Instructor: James Laine

Notes: 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. Every 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. (4 credits)

RELI 194-01

Fascism and Sacred Community

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 01:20 pm-02:50 pm
  • Room:
  • Instructor: Davis, Samman

Notes: *Cross-listed with SOCI 194-02*


RELI 194-02

Women and Spirituality in Islam

  • Days: M
  • Meeting Time: 07:00 pm-10:00 pm
  • Room:
  • Instructor: Gregory Lipton

Notes:

RELI 277-01

Metaphysics in Secular Thought

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 01:20 pm-02:50 pm
  • Room:
  • Instructor: Kiarina Kordela

Notes: *Cross-listed with GERM 277-01 and POLI 277-01*

A widespread tendency in contemporary Western societies is to associate metaphysics with religion, if not with what is often dismissively called the "irrational." This course will dismantle this myth by reading closely European philosophy and political theory, mostly since the seventeenth century, in their relation to theology and their reception by twentieth-century critical theory. This will allow us to examine the ways in which secular thought emerges not as an alternative to metaphysics—something which thought cannot supersede anyway—but rather as a different way of dealing with the very same metaphysical questions and issues that concern religion, from the meaning of life to the imminence of death, and from (actual or imagined) guilt to the hope for redemption. We shall endeavor to identify the similarities and differences between the 'secular' and the ‘religious’ ways, including their respective relations to rationality. Readings will include: Aristotle, Talal Asad, George Bataille, Walter Benjamin, Kenneth Burke, Richard Dienst, Emile Durkheim, Michel Foucault, Sigmund Freud, Peter Harrison, Jacques Lacan, Karl Marx, Marcel Mauss, Carl Schmitt, Baruch Spinoza, Alberto Toscano, Max Weber, Slavoj Zizek.

All readings in English. No pre-knowledge required. Cross-listed with German Studies 277 and Political Science 277. 4 credits

RELI 294-01

Mormons, Muslims and American Identity

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 01:10 pm-02:10 pm
  • Room:
  • Instructor: William Hart

Notes:

RELI 294-02

Sacred Madness: Exploring Religious Traditions of Transgression

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 03:00 pm-04:30 pm
  • Room:
  • Instructor: Gregory Lipton

Notes: 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. Through primary writings, accounts of disciples, and secondary scholarly analysis, we will wrestle with problematics arising at the intersections of global modernity, charismatic power, and transgressive spirituality, such as the tensions between non-dualism and antinomianism, intimacy and sexual exploitation, monism and megalomania, and ego dissolution and coercive power.

RELI 311-01

Ritual

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 09:40 am-11:10 am
  • Room:
  • Instructor: Erik Davis

Notes: This seminar-style course concentrates on the concept of ritual in approaches to the study of religion, and examines examples of rituals in practice. We will eschew focus on any single religious tradition for a focus on ritual across traditions. This will require students to 'work with' concepts ¿ forming a conception of what they mean by ritual, and be willing to change that conception when faced with contradictory evidence. (4 credits)


RELI 325-01

Conquering the Flesh: Renunciation of Food/Sex in the Christian Tradition

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 01:20 pm-02:50 pm
  • Room:
  • Instructor: Susanna Drake

Notes: *Cross-listed with WGSS 325-01*

This course explores how bodily practices of fasting and sexual abstinence have shaped Christian identities from the first century, C.E. to today. From Paul of Tarsus’ instructions about sexual discipline to the True Love Waits® campaign, from the desert fathers’ rigorous bodily regimens to the contemporary Christian diet movement, Christians have often understood the practice of renunciation as a necessary feature of spiritual perfection. In this course we will consider several ascetic movements in Christian history, including the development of ascetic practice in late antiquity, the rise of fasting practices among women in medieval Europe, and the culture of Christian dieting and chastity in the U.S. We will pay special attention to how Christian practices of piety both draw upon and contribute to cultural understandings of gender and the body. Cross-listed with Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies 325. (4 credits)

RELI 336-01

Gender, Caste, Deity

  • Days: M
  • Meeting Time: 07:00 pm-10:00 pm
  • Room:
  • Instructor: James Laine

Notes: Since sociologists and anthropologists have long argued that people think about religion and the divine in categories that correlate closely to their social system, it is not surprising that they have been especially interested in the religion and society of India. Beginning with the classic account of the caste system by social anthropologist Louis Dumont, we will examine is view of the hierarchical nature of society and its relationship to religious views that affirm and assume hierarchy in human and divine worlds. From there we will go on to consider the many responses to Dumont's view, including studies of gender roles; sexuality in mythology and ascetic traditions; untouchability; religious hierarchy and political power; and, resistance to and inversions of hierarchical systems in India. (4 credits)

RELI 469-01

Approaches to the Study of Religion

  • Days: W
  • Meeting Time: 07:00 pm-10:00 pm
  • Room:
  • Instructor: William Hart

Notes: An advanced seminar required for religious studies majors, open to minors. Both classic and contemporary theories on the nature of religion and critical methods for the study of religion will be considered. (4 credits)