Course Offerings

Spring 2022

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Health: A Social Science Exploration

ECON 376 - Blunch, Niels-Hugo (Hugo)

Much of the work done by consulting companies, banks, insurance companies, think tanks, non-governmental organizations, government agencies, etc., is based on applied statistical and econometric analysis. This course helps prepare students for careers in these environments using a hands-on approach and emphasizing the use of data and student-directed research in the specific context of health-related issues. Example of these issues include obesity, vaccinations, pre- and post-natal care, contraceptive use, or child mortality; possible determinants include poverty, education, or distance to the nearest health clinic or hospital. An interdisciplinary perspective is highlighted, as is the use and importance of quantitative analysis for public policy.

Special Topics in Middle East and South Asian Studies

MESA 295A - Al-Ahmad, Jumana S.

Prerequisites vary with topic.  Topics vary with instructor and term. Repeatable for credit if topics are different.

Spring 2022, MESA 295A-01: Modern Arab Culture.  The Arab world covers a large geographical area that has more than 400 million inhabitants combined. It is characterized by cultural and linguistic diversity and a long literary tradition. This interdisciplinary course is a survey of the rich modern Arab culture from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century mainly in the Middle East and North Africa from the standpoints of history, sociology, literature, and academic writings in cultural studies. It also covers some of the cultural experiences of Arab-Americans. Topics include Arab Renaissance, music, folklore, cinema and TV shows, cuisine, humor, family relations, social change, uprisings, migration, and minority issues. Through scholarly readings and analysis of authentic cultural productions, students will develop critical thinking and analytical and intercultural skills. Students may go on a field trip to a cultural site. The class is taught in English. Al-Ahmad. 

Muslims in the Movies

REL 172 - Atanasova, Kameliya N.

An examination of the history of visual representation of Islam and Muslims in classical and modern cinema. We approach movies produced by both Muslims and non-Muslims over the last century as historical sources: visual monuments that have captured the specific cultural and political context in which they were produced. We examine a selection of these movies through the lens of critical theory and the study of religion in order to pay attention to how questions surrounding identity and representation, race and gender, Orientalism and perceptions of difference have historically influenced and continue to influence cinematic images of Islam.

Winter 2022

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

First-Year Arabic II

ARAB 112 - Edwards, Anthony

This course builds communicative skills in written and spoken Arabic, emphasizing foundational grammar and speaking. Continued introduction to cultural practices of the Arab world.

Second-Year Arabic II

ARAB 162 - Edwards, Anthony

A continuation of Second-Year Arabic focused on speaking and writing, in addition to listening comprehension and reading. Increased familiarization with popular Arab culture.

 

Special Topics in Arabic Literature and Culture

ARAB 395A - Al-Ahmad, Jumana S.

An advanced seminar on a particular author, period, or genre. Topics may include Arab Short Stories, Classical Arabic Poetry, Travelogues in Arabic Literature, Arabic Pop Culture and Music, and Arabic Media. The subject changes annually. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.
 

Winter, 2022, ARAB-395A-01: Love & Law in the Arab World (3).
Prerequisite: ARAB 211 or equivalent.  Love is rich in Arabic language, literature, music, films, and history. The goal of this course is to become familiar with diverse Arab discourses on issues related to love, gender, and law. Through studying a plethora of texts chosen from across historical periods from the Arab-Islamic heritage, students will gain appreciation for the diversity and novelty in the love and law discourse. Through selected films and other media sources, they will also learn about contemporary social and legal issues. The course expands on grammar concepts and vocabulary knowledge with practical applications of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Al-Ahmad.

Ancient Cultures, New Markets: Modern and Contemporary Asian Art

ARTH 245 - Kerin, Melissa R.

Meets simultaneously with ARTH 394B-01. Students may not register or receive credit for both. This course examines the art movements of the last one hundred years from India, China, Tibet, and Japan primarily through the lenses of the larger sociopolitical movements that informed much of Asia's cultural discourses: Colonialism, Post-Colonialism, Socialism, Communism, and Feminism. We also address debates concerning "non-Western" 20th-century art as peripheral to the main canons of Modern and Contemporary art. By the end of the course, students have created a complex picture of Asian art/artists, and have engaged broader concepts of transnationalism, as well as examined the roles of galleries, museums, and auction houses in establishing market value and biases in acquisition practices.

Global Public Health

ECON 377 - Blunch, Niels-Hugo (Hugo)

A survey of the major issues of public health, with case studies from across the world. These include water and sanitation, vaccinations, contraceptive use, obesity, child work and health outcomes, quality of medical care and provider choice, and HIV-AIDS. Further explorations of regression models, building on the material from ECON 203, using a hands-on approach. The course emphasizes understanding of the use and analysis of data and student-directed research using policy-relevant applications related to public health.

Capstone in Middle East and South Asia Studies

MESA 393 - Silwal, Shikha B.

Capstone project. Independent research project on a topic in Middle East and South Asia studies, under the guidance of a faculty adviser, including regular individual meetings and at least four group workshops, culminating in a formal presentation of the finished project to MESA faculty and students.

Special Topics in Religion and Human Rights of MESA

MESA 395A - Al-Ahmad, Jumana S.

This advanced course addresses the intersection of human rights and religion within the Middle East and/or South Asia. The course will consider the complex layers of political and legal issues as they relate to the many religious traditions of the Middle East and South Asia. The course will draw from both current and historical sources to investigate numerous case studies, e.g. the relationships between religion and women's rights, human rights and cultural heritage (often religious in content), iconoclasm and freedom of faith movements, among other concerns. The precise focus of the course will alter depending on instructor. Consequently, a student may repeat the course if the regional coverage specific to the course is different from a past offering. 

Hebrew Bible/Old Testament

REL 101 - Filler, Emily A.

An introduction to the history, literature and interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament).

The Qur'an

REL 108 - Atanasova, Kameliya N.

This course approaches the Qur'an from a range of modern and pre-modern perspectives: as an oral recitation; as a material object; as a historical document; as a literary text; as it relates to the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament; as a foundation for Islamic law, theology and mysticism; and as a source for ethics and social activism. Particular attention is devoted to issues of gender and politics raised by the Qur'an, supplemented by a number of film screenings. Prior knowledge of Islam is not required.

God and Goddess in Hinduism

REL 132 - Lubin, Timothy (Tim)

This course explores the many ways in which Hindus visualize and talk about the divine and its manifestations in the world through mythic stories, use of images in worship, explanations of the nature of the soul and body in relation to the divine, and the belief in human embodiments of the divine in Hindu holy men and women. Topics include: the religious meanings of masculine and feminine in the divine and human contexts; the idea of local, family, and "chosen" divinities; and differing forms of Hindu devotion for men and women.

Whose Law? Pluralism, Conflict, and Justice

REL 220 - Lubin, Timothy (Tim)

Society is made up of schools, corporations, religions, guilds, associations, tribes, etc., each defined by a set of more-or-less formal rules that apply in various ways depending on the status of each member. Individuals are thus subject to overlapping obligations and claims, so authorities often come into conflict. This is legal pluralism. This seminar explores the various ways in which such interactions can play out in a range of social, religious, and political environments, and how they can affect people of different statuses differently. Examples range from the Roman empire, the Middle East and South Asia, past and present, to the modern United States and Europe. In each case, we examine the ways in which legal status is defined in relation to the state, religious community, ethnicity or race, and social class. Given different, overlapping, conflicting claims to authority, rights, and obligations, how is justice to be defined, and how can it be served?

Islam in America: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

REL 271 - Atanasova, Kameliya N.

From the discourse on the War on Terror, to debates about Muslim women's dress, Islam in America has attracted the attention of journalists, activists, government officials, and scholars of religion. This course takes a critical-historical approach to the topic by examining key themes in the history of Islam in America: the lives of enslaved African Muslims in the Antebellum period and the Founding Fathers' visions of Islam; the immigrant experience of Arab Muslims at the turn of the 20th century; the role of Muslim organizations in the Civil Rights movement; and, the changing representations of American Muslims after the Gulf War and post-9/11. In interrogating the history of Islam in America, we specifically pay attention to the ways in which religion, gender, class, race, and citizenship continue to inform representations of Muslims in the U.S.

Elementary Sanskrit I

SKT 101 - Lubin, Timothy (Tim)

Sanskrit, sister to Greek and Latin and aunt to most of the languages of Europe, was used to compose most Hindu and Buddhist sacred texts. and much other literature of India, including the Mahabharata and Ramayana epics, lyric poetry, drama, fables, works on yoga and meditation, poetics, logic, political theory, law (Dharma), the exact sciences, and the erotic arts. The discovery by Western scholars of the remarkably systematic ancient grammar of Panini (around 400 BCE) led to the development of the modern science of linguistics. This elementary course presents the basic grammar of the language over the course of the year. From the very first day, students begin reading texts and using simple spoken Sanskrit. We also discuss the role of Sanskrit in religious history and in Indian and Nepali society up to the present. Meeting times are arranged.

Fall 2021

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

First-Year Arabic I

ARAB 111 - Edwards, Anthony

An introductory course in written and spoken Arabic, focusing on basic grammar and speaking. Aspects of Arab culture introduced.

Second-Year Arabic I

ARAB 161 - Edwards, Anthony

Building on basic grammar and vocabulary knowledge, this course emphasizes speaking and writing, as well as listening comprehension and reading. Students introduced with popular Arab culture.

Third-Year Arabic I

ARAB 211 - Al-Ahmad, Jumana S.

This course expands on grammar concepts and vocabulary knowledge with practical applications of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Social and political aspects of Arab culture are introduced.

Arabic Dialects

ARAB 225 - Edwards, Anthony

Taught in Arabic. An introduction to three Arabic dialects, in particular those used in Morocco, Egypt, and the Emirates. Students learn the sounds, key vocabulary, and sentence structures particular to these dialects, and develop their listening comprehension abilities and communication skills. This practical course is designed to prepare students to engage in authentic interactions with Arabic speakers in North Africa and the Middle East.

Buddhist Art of South and Central Asia

ARTH 141 - Kerin, Melissa R.

This course investigates the multivalent world of Buddhist art from South and Central Asia, particularly areas that now fall within the modern-day boundaries of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, China, Tibet, and Nepal. We study the nascent forms of Buddhist imagery and its ritual functions from the Indo-Pak subcontinent, focus on monumental sculpture and cave architecture of Central Asia (Afghanistan and the Tarim Basin) and issues of iconoclasm, and study the art and iconography of the Himalayas, as well as current-day production and restoration practices of Tantric Buddhist art.

Picturing Muhammad? Perceptions of the Prophet from the Hijra to Hip-Hop

HIST 282 - Atanasova, Kameliya N.

To Muslims, Muhammad is a prophetic figure whose model life is to be emulated; to non-Muslims, a controversial figure that has stirred the imagination for centuries. Through an analysis of the earliest non-Muslim sources on Muhammad, to insider Muslim narratives of the prophet's miraculous life, to polemical medieval Christian stories about him, to Deepak Chopra and Muhammad in hip-hop, this course explores the various historical, literary, and media representations of Muhammad. We will pay special attention to recent controversies on visual depictions of Muhammad, as well as contemporary ritual practices surrounding the embodiment of Islam's most important prophet.

New Testament

REL 102 - Brown, Alexandra R.

An introduction to the history, literature and interpretation of the New Testament.

Introduction to Islam

REL 105 - Atanasova, Kameliya N.

This course familiarizes students with the foundations of the Islamic tradition and the diverse historical and geographical manifestations of belief and practice built upon those foundations. Throughout the course, the role of Islam in shaping cultural, social, gender, and political identities is explored. Readings are drawn from the writings of both historical and contemporary Muslim thinkers.

Judaism: Tradition and Modernity

REL 106 - Filler, Emily A.

This course is an introduction to the rituals, concepts, and practices of Judaism from antiquity to the present day. Through a wide variety of sources, including rabbinic debate, fiction, drama, liturgy, memoirs, film, and history, we will consider how the Jewish tradition has developed, changed, and interacted with other traditions. Particular attention will be paid to the development of modern Jewish movements and communities.  

Buddhism

REL 131 - Haskett, Christian P. (Chris)

A survey of the historical development of the doctrines and practices of Buddhism. After a discussion of the Hindu origins of Buddhism, the course focuses on the development of the Theravada, Vajrayana and Mahayana traditions. A class trip to at least one Buddhist center is included.

Picturing Muhammad? Perceptions of the Prophet from the Hijra to Hip-Hop

REL 282 - Atanasova, Kameliya N.

To Muslims, Muhammad is a prophetic figure whose model life is to be emulated; to non-Muslims, a controversial figure that has stirred the imagination for centuries. Through an analysis of the earliest non-Muslim sources on Muhammad, to insider Muslim narratives of the prophet's miraculous life, to polemical medieval Christian stories about him, to Deepak Chopra and Muhammad in hip-hop, this course explores the various historical, literary, and media representations of Muhammad. We will pay special attention to recent controversies on visual depictions of Muhammad, as well as contemporary ritual practices surrounding the embodiment of Islam's most important prophet.