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University Catalog

Religion (RELI)

1000 Level | 2000 Level | 3000 Level | 4000 Level

USP Codes are listed in brackets by the 2003 USP code followed by the 2015 USP code (i.e. [QB<>Q]).

JumpLink1000. Introduction to Religion. 3. [CH,G<>H] Introduces world religions and shared characteristics. Draws on various academic approaches to religion study, emphasizing similarities and differences among wide variety of religions.

1101. First-Year Seminar. 3. [{none}<>FYS]

JumpLink2040. Religions of the Middle East: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. 3. [CH,G<>{none}] Analyzes origins and early years of three major religions that arose in the Middle East: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Looks at historical development, political and cultural context, and structure of each religion.

2050. Religions of Asia. 3. [CH,G<>H] Introduces students to the religions of Asia. Primary focus on Hinduism and Buddhism, but also addresses several smaller religions. Emphasis on beliefs, sacred texts and tales, practices, ethics and worship, as well as historical development and contemporary issues.

2070. Gender and Religion. 3. Aims at understanding how religion constructs and reinforces gender roles in religion and society. Looks at traditional gender roles in Christianity and the transformation they have undergone in the past century or so. Cross listed with WMST 2070.

2080. Holocaust. 3. [CH<>{none}] Surveys the destruction of European Jewry, 1933-1945. Cross listed with HIST 2080. 

2110 [1010]. Introduction to the Old Testament. 3. [CH<>H] Introduces students to the books of the Old Testament and people whose way of life they describe. Pays particular attention to religion of the Israelites, their history and culture. Focuses on different historical circumstances in which the books were written.

2150. New Testament Survey. 3. [{none}<>H] Introduces the academic study of the New Testament. Concentrates on the analysis of Jesus, Paul and other New Testament figures by studying the textual evidence within its historical, religious and cultural contexts. Key foci also include the composition of the New Testament’s books and the theological development of early Christianity.

2175. The Life and Teaching of Jesus. 3. Explores life and teachings of Jesus within religious, cultural and political context of first-century Palestine. Studies Jewish, Greek and Roman influences on Palestine; then, examines effect of those influences on the gospels (both canonical and non-canonical).

2200. Contemporary American Religion. 3. [CH,D<>COM2] The U.S. is home to more world religions and to more versions of those religions than any other nation on the planet. This course examines how the U.S. has shaped these religions and the impact these religions have had in turn on U.S. society and culture.

2225. History of Christianity. 3. Traces Christianity from its beginnings to late 20th century. Cross listed with HIST 2225.

2250. American Religious History I (To 1865). 3. [CH,D<>H] Traces the history of religion in America through the Civil War. We will pay particular attention to the intertwining of religion and colonialism; the tension between emerging Protestant hegemony and religious pluralism; and the roles religion has played in justifying oppression and pursuing liberty in American history. Cross listed with HIST 2250.

2252. American Religious History II (1865-1945). 3. [CH,D<>H] Traces American religious history from the Civil War through WWII. Focuses on how race/ethnicity, class, gender, and national origin affected religion, and explores how Americans used religion in oppressing and liberating people; marking and erasing difference; and exporting values abroad as well as reforming society at home. Cross listed with HIST 2252.

2315. History of Non-Western Religions. 3. [CH,G<>H] Introduces students to religions outside the Judeo-Christian realm familiar in the west. Each religion analyzed in its world views, its ways of life, and in its social organization. History of each religion and its changes. Cross listed with HIST 2315.

2320. History of Islam. 3. [CH,G<>COM2] Focuses on the origins of Islam and its early formation, its growth and spread across the world, and its intellectual, spiritual and historical character. Time will also be spent on the formation of Islam in the modern world and how that impacts the views and actions of its members. Cross listed with HIST 2320.

2330. Islam in the Modern World. 3. [{none}<>H] How does Islam interact with Modernity? This course extends beyond the news to study contemporary trends and movements among the world’s Muslims. Includes a general introduction to the history and religion of Islam, and discusses contemporary Islamic topics, reflecting current issues, instructor research and student choices.

2410. Varieties of Non-Belief in the Western World. 3. [CH<>H] A broad, chronological survey of different types of non-belief, primarily from the Renaissance onwards. It examines critiques by philosophers, politicians, poets, and novelists aiming to understand their objections to religion and analyzing how these objections shaped the modern religious landscape and the way we understand religion itself.

2450. Traditional African Religion. 3. [CH,G)<>COM2] Surveys traditional African religions, both ancient and contemporary. Cross listed with AAST 2450.

2500. Special Topics in Religion. 1-3 (Max. 6). Permits occasional investigation of different subjects in academic study of religion.

JumpLink3090. Middle East and Israel in Film. 3. [{none}<>H] Focus on film representations of Isreal, the Arab world, Turkey and Iran. Studies religion and society, common human aspirations, modalities of social and other conflicts through screening of feature and short films and discusses issues raised by historical, political, social, cultural and religious tensions and considerations in this region. Prerequisite: WA or COM1.

3110. Bible and Archaeology. 3. An archaeological survey illuminating the historical, theological, and cultural landscape of ancient Near East and the Mediterranean world.  Examines how archaeology contributes to the understanding of the peoples, texts and religious movements of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. Prerequisite: RELI 1000 or RELI 2110 or RELI 2150 or ANTH 1300 or ANTH 1450.

3200. Religion and American Culture. 3. [{none}<>H] Explores the role of religion in the history of American culture. It considers how developments in American religious history have reflected larger trends in American society, and how those developments have in turn helped shape American society and culture. Prerequisite: one lower-level course in religious studies, American history, or American studies.

3220. History of the Modern Middle East. 3. [G<>{none}] Surveys the Middle East from 1700 to the present. Emphasizes the demise of the Ottoman Empire, the rise of domination by European colonial powers, transformations in political, social, religious and cultural life, the rise of nationalist movements, the influence of oil, the growth of Islamist political groups and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Cross listed with HIST 3220. Prerequisite: 6 hours of HIST, RELI, or INST.

3225. Apocalypse: The History of the End. 3. The apocalyptic End of Time has become the subject of much speculation, especially since the beginning of the new millennium. Analyzes such speculation as a religious phenomenon in both ancient and modern religions, and attempts to understand its social, cultural and personal impacts. Prerequisite: junior standing.

3230. Early Christianity: From Jesus to Church. 3. Considers the development of the Christian religion from a small Jewish sect to its place as the official religion of the Roman Empire and beyond. It examines the development of creeds, doctrines, and institutions, placing them within their historical context. Cross listed with HIST 3230. Prerequisites: RELI 1000, RELI/HIST 2225, or HIST 2113.

3235. Medieval Christianity. 3. Traces the development of ‘Christendom' in Europe between about 500 - 1500 CE, concentrating on the Latin West. It examines the growth of Christian institutions and practices, the Church's role as sole governing entity, along with conflicts with secular governments as they developed in later centuries. Cross listed with HIST 3235. Prerequisites: RELI/HIST 2225, HIST 1110, or RELI 1000.

3240. Reformation and Enlightenment Christianity. 3. The years between about 1500 and 1800 saw the permanent dismantling of Christianity in the West as a unified force, as Protestantism brought new ways of viewing the relationship between God and humanity. Once the fragmentation began, it accelerated rapidly as Enlightenment thinking challenged Christianity in new and complex ways. Cross listed with: HIST 3240. Prerequisites: RELI 1000, RELI/HIST 2225.

3245. Christianity Since Darwin. 3. [{none}<>COM2] Christianity has faced many challenges since the mid-nineteenth century, including the thought of Darwin, Marx and Freud, to name a few. Christianity has faced those challenges in various ways and its practitioners continue to re-examine its understandings of a vastly changed and continually changing world. Prerequisites: COM1, and RELI 1000 or RELI/HIST 2225 or HIST 1120 or consent of instructor.

3260. African Spirits in the New World. 3. [CH,G<>H] Begins with Yoruba roots in Africa and travels with the African Diaspora focusing on spirit possession in Haitian Vodou, Cuban Santeria, Jamaican Revival Zion, Jamaican Rastafarianism, Brazilian Candomblé,  and "Black Church" in the United States using ethnography and postcolonial theory of religious studies. Cross listed with AAST 3260. Prerequisites: AAST 1000 or any AAST 2000-level course or RELI 1000.

3275. World Christianities. 3. [CH,G<>{none}] Examines the development of Christianity primarily in Africa, Asia and South America.  Cross listed with HIST 3275. Prerequisites: WB and CH.

3320. Eastern Thought. 3. Surveys some of the major concepts in Zen, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. Cross listed with PHIL 3320. Prerequisite: 3 hours of philosophy.

3340. Mysticism, Yoga, and Enlightenment in the East. 3. Explores Hindu and Buddhist concepts of enlightenment and the means for reaching them through mysticism and yoga. Study the texts and beliefs and their translation into practice. Prerequisites: WB and CH.

3350. Religion and Globalization in India. 3. Learn about religious pluralism in India. In particular, how globalization has impacted the ways people from many different religions, caste, class, and educational backgrounds, ethnicities, and regions experience and practice their religions in 21st century India. Prerequisite: RELI 1000 or RELI 2050.

3400. Religion in the American West. 3. [CH,D<>{none}] Considers the religious history of the American West from Pre-Columbian times to the present, paying special attention to the ways the West affects religious belief and practice. Themes of contact and conflict will be particularly important in our study, as will the changing perceptions of the West. Prerequisite: USP WB course.

JumpLink4000. Theories of Religion. 3. [WC<>COM3] Investigates different theories proposed to explain religion and methods used to investigate them. Pays primary attention to influential thinkers and theorists of the past century. Prerequisites: RELI 1000, and 12 additional hours in Religious Studies, at least 6 of which must be at the 3000-level or above, junior standing.

4090. Film and Religion. 3. Movies use religion to convey messages; they debate religious issues and use religion to debate non-religious issues. This course analyzes how film makers use religion and religious themes to transform religions into advocates for social issues and to shape religion's role in society. Popular films drawn from many genres. Cross listed with ENGL 4090. Prerequisite: 6 hours of 2000-level or higher literature courses or religion courses.

4100. African American Religious Culture. 3. [WC,D<>COM3] This mid-level writing-intensive seminar is a comparative study of African American religious celebration, primarily in the context of Afro-Christianity, but touching on Islam, Candomblé, "Voodoo," Santeria, and Rastafarianism. Cross listed with AAST 4100. Prerequisites: WB and one of the following: AAST 1000 or any AAST 2000-level course or RELI 1000.

4113. Medieval Religious Dissent. 3. Religious dissent in the Middle Ages included what might be called heresy, but also encompasses such marginal groups as Jews and witches. Examines development of orthodoxy and persecution of religious diversity between eleventh and 16th centuries within the historical context of the times. Cross listed with HIST 4113. Prerequisite: 9 hours of HIST or RELI.

4160. Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. 3. [CH<>{none}] Examines the biographies of Moses, Jesus and Muhammad found in works of history, in sacred literature, in hagiography, ritual and popular culture. Demonstrates strategies used to recover their historical personalities and how they are portrayed in multiple religious traditions, offering insights into how each have shaped our world. Prerequisite: RELI 1000 or junior standing.

4174. Judaism from Ezra to Jesus. 3. This course focuses on the religious and historical development of Judaism during the centuries between the end of the Old Testament and the New Testament, studying the arrival of Greek and then Roman culture and the changes Judaism underwent during that time that endure today. Cross listed with HIST 4174. Prerequisites: WB or COM2, and RELI 1000 or RELI 2110.

4175. Judaism at the Dawn of Christianity. 3. Judaism is the only Mediterranean religion that was practiced in the ancient world as well as in Late Antiquity and beyond. This course helps students analyze how Judaism was able to change and adapt at key moments to provide its adherents with an active, living religion that addressed their needs. Cross listed with HIST 4175. Prerequisites: RELI 1000 or RELI 2110, and junior standing.

4190. Women and the Bible. 3. Explores depictions, roles and statuses of women found in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. Introduces ways biblical portraits of women have been used in recent centuries to develop theologies of, by and for women. Prerequisite: junior standing or permission of instructor.

4260. Judaism in the Modern World. 3. Studies Jews and Judaism from pre-modern period to present. Traces migration of Jews from Europe to the USA and Israel, while examining radical changes that transform the religion. Prerequisite: junior standing.

4310. Seminar in Asian Religions. 3 (Max. 9). Students will be introduced to a number of indigenous and analytical frameworks and interdisciplinary theories and methods in the examination of a specialized topic in the study of Asian religions. Specific focus of the course varies by semester. Prerequisite: RELI 2050 or junior standing.

4335. Women and Islam. 3. Examines women's lives in Islamic societies from the seventh century to the present in the Middle East and throughout the world. Themes include women's position in Islamic law, society and culture, Western images of Muslim women, veiling and Islamist movements, theoretical readings on power, gender and agency. Cross listed with HIST 4335 and WMST 4335. Prerequisite: 9 hours of HIST, WMST, INST, or RELI.

4500. Special Topics in Religious Studies. 1-3 (Max. 12). Presents from semester to semester a variety of important topics in the academic study of religion. Prerequisite: RELI 1000.

4635. Religious Studies Departmental Honors. 0. Satisfactory completion of this course indicates that Religious Studies Departmental Honors have been conferred on the student. Offered Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory only. Prerequisites: Consent of Religious Studies thesis chairperson; demonstration of competency in a foreign language equivalent to a fourth-semester college level or concurrent enrollment in a fourth-semester foreign language course.

4900. Independent Study in Religion. 1-3 (Max. 6). Primarily for juniors and seniors who can benefit from independent study of topics in religious studies not covered in course offerings. Guidance provided by faculty member in the appropriate field. Prerequisites: 9 hours in religious studies and consent of instructor.

4930. Thesis. 0-6 (Max. 9). Directed research and writing under the supervision of Religious Studies thesis chairperson. Results in production of Religious Studies thesis. Prerequisites: Successful completion of or concurrent enrollment in RELI 4000, advanced undergraduate status in good academic standing, consent of Religious Studies thesis chairperson and department chair.

4960. International Field Course. 1-6 (Max. 12). This course takes students away from campus to locations outside the United States to study religion on site in its geographic and cultural context. Destination and specific content varies, but the course always requires attention to the connections between world events and local experiences. Prerequisites: Junior standing; WA or COM1; other prerequisites as determined by the instructor.

4961. Domestic Field Course. 1-6 (Max. 12). This course takes students away from campus to other locations in the United States to study religion on site in its geographic and cultural context. Destination and specific content varies, but the course always requires attention to the religious, racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity of religion in the United States. Prerequisites: Junior standing, WA or COM1.

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