Course Offerings

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 - Al-Ahmad, Jumana S.

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

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.

Spring 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.

Special Topics in Middle East and South Asian Studies

MESA 295 - Al-Ahmad, Jumana S.

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

Spring 2021, MESA 295-01: Special Topics in Middle East and South Asian Studies: Social Justice in Arabic Literature, Arts, Films, and Thought (3).  Prerequisites: none. The course will examine social justice issues from the vantage point of classical and modern Arab intellectuals and literary figures, in addition to contemporary artists, feminists and filmmakers. Through studying a plethora of texts chosen from across historical periods from the Arabo-Islamic tradition on justice, students having little or no academic background on the subject, will gain a new appreciation for the diversity and novelty in the social justice discourse amidst diverse ideologies in the Arab culture. The course also aims to help students develop analytic skills in order to discover and evaluate the interconnections between social movements and activism for social justice and the artistic expressions of these issues in works of literature, arts, and films. This interdisciplinary course encourages a broad-based approach to the topic, drawing upon intellectual history, sociology, religious and gender studies, literature, and films. Al-Ahmad.

 

Meditation and Self-Knowledge

REL 333 - Haskett, Christian P. (Chris)

For 2,500 years, Hindus and Buddhists have promoted meditation as a means to attain insight and liberation from suffering, a state sometimes understood in terms of divinity or Buddha-nature. Meditation has also been adopted by some in the West during the last century, often for psychological or physical benefits apart from any devotional context. What had traditionally been a practice of ordained monks was popularized in the West, a trend that then caught on in Asia as well. We look at the origins of meditative practices in Asian traditions using primary sources, social context, and personal experience of basic meditative techniques. The course concludes by noting that some contemporary neuroscientists are looking to meditation to better understand mind, brain, emotion, and cognition.

Winter 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 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.

 

Media Arabic

ARAB 220 - Edwards, Anthony

A language-focused course that provides students with vocabulary and discourse structures common in today's Arabic media coverage. Weekly topics are culled from various news outlets (e.g., Al-Jazeera, AJ-Arabiyya, BBC Arabic, YouTube, AJ-Ahram, An-Nahar, AI-Dustour) which serve to familiarize students with a broad range of current sociopolitical, economic, and cultural issues.

Art and Material Culture of Tibet

ARTH 343 - Holt, Amy-Ruth

Through a chronological presentation of sites and objects, we study Tibet's great artistic movements from the 7th-20th centuries. Our analyses of the art and material culture of Tibet, and its larger cultural zone, has an art historical and historiographic focus. This two-pronged approach encourages students to analyze not only the styles and movements of Tibetan art, but the methods by which this art world has been studied by and simultaneously presented to Western audiences.

Capstone in Middle East and South Asia Studies

MESA 393 - Kerin, Melissa R.

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.

Capstone in Middle East and South Asia Studies

MESA 393 - Cantey, Joseph M. (Seth)

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. 

Buddhist Philosophy

PHIL 223 - Kang, Li

An introduction to Buddhist philosophy. We focus on the philosophical articulation and defense of Buddhism, and reflect on issues in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, and ethics. We cover the development of major schools in both Indian and Chinese Buddhism, including Abhidharma, Madhyamaka, Yogacara, Tiantai, Huayan, and Chan/Zen. We see how different traditions can be mutually informing. We also discuss the relevance of Buddhist philosophy to Western philosophy as well as empirical research.

New Testament

REL 102 - Brown, Alexandra R.

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

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.

Seminar in Biblical Studies

REL 350A - Brown, Alexandra R.

An exploration of a topic in Biblical studies, focusing on ancient texts and their interpreters from antiquity to the present. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Winter 2021, REL 350A-01: Seminar in Biblical Studies: The Apostle Paul: Life, Legacy, Contest (3). This course offers a multidisciplinary study of the life, thought, and contested legacy of the Apostle Paul, the so-called "founder of Christianity." Beginning with the historical Paul in 1st  century Judaism, students explore significant and often controversial interpretations of his writings and influence from antiquity to the present. Principal themes supported by guest lecturers include ethnicity and race (especially African American readings of Paul) and recent inquiries into cognitive science for understanding the human person in Pauline perspective. (HU) Brown.