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ABOUTACADEMICSADMISSIONSTUDENT LIFEATHLETICSALUMNAERIDINGNEWSGIVINGDIRECTORY
 

Courses

 

RELG 111 (3): Good and Evil

 

What do the world’s religions say about war and 

peace, hunger and poverty, death and dying,

science, technology, medicine, the environment, the 

political and economic order, sexuality, civil rights, 

and business? This course will examine the ways 

that religions deal with principal moral issues in the 

modern world. Offered alternate years. V.5.

 

RELG 177 (3): Introduction to the Study of Religion

 

An introduction to the broad field of religious 

studies from a variety of perspectives drawn from 

anthropology, psychology, sociology, philosophy, 

the fine arts, gender studies, and history. The 

course will consider what the elements of religion

are (myth, doctrine, ritual, ethics, world view,

human community, and destiny), how they 

are to be interpreted vis-a-vis modern academic 

perspectives on culture, and whether religion as 

a concept makes any sense in an age of scientific 

rationalism.  May be counted as an adjunct course 

toward the minor in gender studies. V.1, V.5.

 

RELG 178 (3): Introduction to World Religions

 

A comparative survey of the world’s major 

religious traditions from the time of their

foundation to the present. Emphasis will be placed 

on understanding how religious traditions both 

reflect and are formative in the cultures and 

societies in which they appear. V.5.

 

RELG 221 (3): Hindus, Jainas, and Sikhs

 

A comprehensive survey of the major religious 

movements of India. This course will examine 

Indian notions of truth, ritual, family life, social 

organization, human destiny and salvation,

literature, and arts as they have developedwithin 

the Hindu, Jaina, and Sikh communities. Students 

will also examine the role of these communities 

in the development of modern Indian nationalism

and ethnicity. Offered alternate years. V.4.

 

RELG 222 (3): Buddhism

 

A broad historical study of the development of 

Buddhism in India and its adoption and adaptation

in Tibet, China, and Japan. This course will

examine the Buddhist world view, Buddhist 

forms of spirituality (Mahayana, Hinayana, and 

Tantrayana), Buddhist rituals, philosophy,

literature, arts, organizations, and Buddhism’s

relation to political and economic systems. Offered 

alternate years. V.4.

 

RELG 231 (3): Taoism

 

A broad comparative study of the development 

of Taoism in China, Korea, and Japan. This 

course will examine the origins of Taoism in 

China, its development of cosmological, political,

ritual, gymnastic, alchemical, and monastic 

forms, and the regional understandings and uses 

of these forms in Korea and Japan. V.4.

 

RELG 235 (3): Latin American Religion

 

The study of religion in Latin America includes the 

diverse cultures of indigenous, African-American, 

and Hispanic peoples from South America, Central 

America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. The course 

may consider: indigenous religions from

geographically distinct regions (from the Yahgan

of Tierra del Fuego to the Pueblos and Yaquis of

Mexico); Catholicism in its many cultural forms;

African cultures from Brazilian  condomblé to

Afro-Caribbean ritual; and contemporary religious

movements. Critical approaches include precontact,

colonial and post-colonial issues; cosmovisiones,

conflict and mestizaje, religion and society, modernity

in Latin American perspectives. Offered alternate

years. V.4.

 

RELG 236 (3): Multicultural Religious America

 

This course explores a diversity of new approaches 

to religion in pluralistic America, considering new 

historical understanding of Protestant, Catholic, 

and Jewish traditions, and many non-mainstream 

religions. The study will include Native American 

religion, African American Christianity and Islam, 

Hispanic Catholicism, Asian American traditions,

Mormonism, and new religious movements. 

Pluralistic religious America will be examined in 

light of colonialism, post-colonial interpretations, 

cultural and regional diversity, gender issues, ethics 

and social issues. Offered alternate years. III.O, V.5.

 

RELG 241 (3): Judaism

 

An historical study of the origins and development

of Judaism down to the present. The course will

deal with Jewish ethics, gender, literature, law,

ritual, and notions of history and ethnic identity

as they developed in various Jewish communities

throughout the world. Offered alternate years. May

be counted as an adjunct course toward the minor

in gender studies. III.W, V.1.

 

RELG 244 (3): Christianity

 

An historical survey of the development of 

Christianity from its beginnings in the Greco-

Roman empire through its global establishment 

in the modern era. The focus of the course will 

be on how Christianity in its literature, rituals, 

institutional forms, and intellectual traditions 

changes and develops as it encounters new 

peoples and new cultures. May be counted as an 

adjunct course toward the minor in gender studies.

III.W, V.1.

 

RELG 248 (3): The Religions of Africa

 

Students will examine religions of Africa both 

in their indigenous expressions and in the 

Diaspora. Methodological issues such as what 

constitutes a “traditional” religion will be examined,

as will questions of ritual, cosmology, myth-making,

and the place of women. The effects of colonialism

and the situation of postcolonialism will be discussed

in-depth in the context of both continental and

diaspora religious experience. The relationship of

colonialism to syncretism will be explored in the

examination of diaspora religions in the Caribbean 

and American settings. Movements such as 

Voodoun and Rastafarianism will be studied 

with a view to understanding how new religions 

are created as a process of inter-cultural contact 

and adaptation to historical events. III.O, V.4.

 

RELG 255 (3): Islam

 

An introduction to the “world of Islam”, beginning

with an examination of its foundation in the

seventh century and concluding with a 

consideration of issues pertaining to Islam in 

the modern world. The course will deal with 

such topics as: Muhammad; the Qur’an; Islamic 

“Traditions” (hadith) and the “Law” (shariah); 

the Caliphate; sectarian divisions, especially the 

Sunni-Shiite schism; Sufi mysticism; Muslim 

influences on medieval European societies; the 

Crusades; Islamic art and literature; and the 

modern resurgence of Islam. Offered alternate 

years. V.4, V.5.

 

RELG 261 (1, 2, or  3): Directed Study

 

Prerequisites: One RELG course and permission

of the instructor. The study of introductory level

material by an individual student or by a small

group of students under the immediate supervision

of a faculty member.

 

RELG 263 (3): Asian Philosophies

 

Prerequisite: One course in philosophy or 

religion; sophomore standing. A survey of 

the major philosophers in North and South 

Asia. This course will look at the philosophical

contributions made to world philosophy 

by such philosophers as Confucius, Laozi, 

Zhuxi, Nagarjuna, Candrakirti, Shankara, 

and Ramanuja. The course will focus on the 

basic questions of human existence and nature, 

notions of truth and ultimate meaning, ethical 

obligations, and the nature of society. Offered 

alternate years. V.5.

 

RELG 301 (3): Religion, Science and

Occultism

 

Are there critical differences between scientific 

and religious ways of knowing and are there 

ways in which humans have tried to bridge the 

gap between science and religion? This course 

will examine the philosophy of science as a 

means of understanding modern intentional 

revivals of ancient religious traditions, including 

modern witchcraft, fertility practices, various 

divination and fortune-telling techniques, the 

development of parapsychology and New Age 

religion. Offered alternate years.

 

RELG 302 (3): The Comparative

Philosophy of Religion

 

Prerequisite: One course in religion.

Philosophical analysis of religious claims about 

the nature of human existence, religious notions 

of authority, religious language, ethics, and

theories of knowledge. While the categories of

analysis are drawn from the Western philosophical 

tradition, the data are drawn from the world’s 

religions. III.O, V.1.

 

RELG 316 (3): The Psychology of Religion

 

Prerequisite: One course in religion or psychology.  

This course will explore theories of the 

psychological underpinnings and functions of 

religion. Students will acquire an understanding

of Modernist and Post-modernist theories 

of psychology, religion, and their intersection. 

It will begin with the classic works of Freud and 

Jung and move through the twentieth-century 

re-interpretations of their writings in Lacan, 

French feminism, Renee Girard, James Hillman 

and David L. Miller. It will ask whether theories

designed for individuals may be accurately 

applied to religious groups. The course will 

raise questions of the applicability of archetypal 

models of psychology in a post-modern society. 

It will also examine how psychology has

contributed to increased individualism and whether

the practice of psychoanalysis has taken over some 

or many of the traditional functions of religion.

 

RELG 350 (3): Religion and U.S. Law

 

Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. An 

examination of the issues that are produced by 

religious and state interests in the United States 

from the colonial period to the present. The 

course will focus on understanding the history of 

colonial and post-colonial views of religion and 

government, the process that led to the

constitutional separation of religion and government, 

and the history of interpretations of this constitutional

doctrine by the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Offered alternate years. III.W, V.7.

 

RELG 361 (1, 2, or 3): Special Study

 

Prerequisites: 100-level RELG course and

permission of the instructor. The study of an

intermediate level topic by an individual student

or by a small group of students under the

immediate supervision of a faculty member.

 

RELG 377 (1, 2, or 3): Internship

 

Prerequisites: Three credits in RELG

and permission of instructor, department

chair, and dean. This course is graded

P/CR/NC only.

 

RELG 451 (3): Research Seminar in the

Study of Religion 

 

Prerequisite: One course in religion at the 200-

level or above. This seminar provides an

opportunity for students and faculty to collaborate 

in research that will produce a student-faculty 

publication in an appropriate academic form 

(e.g. a conference presentation, a paper journal, 

or an electronic journal). Offered alternate years.

 

RELG 452 (3): Senior Seminar

 

Fundamental problems of religion, ethics, and 

theology, such as religious authority and

experience, understandings of the world, humanity 

and history, doctrines of salvation, the study of 

sacred scriptures, phenomenology of religion, 

and the methodologies of religious studies. The 

course is the senior exercise for students who 

major in religion. III.O

 

RELG 461 (1, 2, or 3): Independent Study

 

Prerequisites: One 100-level RELG course, one 

200-level RELG course, and permission of the 

instructor. Pursuit of an upper level research 

project determined in advance by the student in 

consultation with a faculty member who will act 

as the sponsor.