Course Offerings

Fall 2023

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.

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.


REL 132 - Lubin, Timothy (Tim)

This course surveys Hindu religious traditions with a focus on 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.

Jesus in Fact, Fiction, and Film

REL 153 - Brown, Alexandra R.

A study of representations of Jesus in history, fiction, and film and the ways in which they both reflect and generate diverse cultural identities from antiquity to the present. The course begins with the historical Jesus and controversies about his identity in antiquity and then focuses on parallel controversies in modern and postmodern fiction and film. Readings include early Christian literature (canonical and non-canonical), several modern novels and works of short fiction, and theoretical works on the relationship of literature to religion. In addition, we study several cinematic treatments of Jesus dating from the beginnings of filmmaking to the present.

Body and Soul in India

REL 231 - Lubin, Timothy (Tim)

Seeking to understand the innermost self and its relation to the mind, the body, and the world, yogis and ascetics pursue extraordinary paths that invert the normal aims and values of society. This course surveys ideas on mental and physical training; their conceptual basis; the range of techniques used; and their philosophical development. Course material is drawn from a diverse range of religions that may include Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Islamic, and Christian. The course seeks to answer such questions as: “How can we live in our bodies while realizing spiritual potential?” “What roles do yogis and ascetics play in society?” and “What is their ethical status in the world?”

Special Topics in Religion: Christian Visionary and Mystical Traditions

REL 295D - Brown, Alexandra R.

An inquiry into the history and development of mystical and visionary Christian expression from antiquity to the present. In addition to reading classic texts associated with Christian mysticism, students will be encouraged to explore contemplative practices associated with mystics and visionaries both intellectually and experientially. There will be a comparative religions component.

Senior Seminar

REL 399 - Kosky, Jeffrey L.

This course begins with consideration of the nature of the study of religion. The remainder of the course is devoted to the writing of an independent research project. Students will continue to meet for discussion of work in progress and instruction in the craft of researching and writing a long, multi-source independent research project.

Spring 2023

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.

Muslims in the Movies

REL 172 - Atanasova, Kameliya N.

Same as HIST 172. 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 2023

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.

Hebrew Bible/Old Testament

REL 101 - Filler, Emily A.

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

Secularity, Disenchantment, and Religion

REL 104 - Kosky, Jeffrey L.

A study of the decline, transformation, and/or displacement of religious thought and practice in the west. Students explore depictions of religion and secularity in the modern west from the perspective of a variety of disciplines, including some or all of the following: sociology, psychology, philosophy, theology, literature, art. These explorations address the disenchantment that is supposed to have pervaded modern secularity, and they ask if secularity offers alternatives to such disenchantment.

Approaches to the Study of Religion

REL 210 - Brown, Alexandra R.

A study of approaches to understanding religious life and thought as found in selected writings in anthropology, philosophy, psychology, sociology, theology, and comparative religion.

Religion and Violence

REL 211 - Filler, Emily A.

Is "religion" a significant source of violence in the world - and if so, why? In this discussion-intensive course, students consider the question from many perspectives: classical religious texts, modern theories of violence and the nation-state, historical and contemporary case studies, and more.

Heidegger and Being in the World

REL 218 - Kosky, Jeffrey L.

Same as PHIL 218.

Law and Religion

REL 222 - Lubin, Timothy (Tim)

Drawing on examples from diverse periods and legal cultures, this seminar addresses "law" and "religion" as two realms of life that have much shared history and continue to intersect in the modern world. Several important topics in comparative law and jurisprudence are covered, including authority and legitimacy, the relation between custom and statute, legal pluralism, church-state relations, and competing models of constitutional secularism. A selective survey of legal systems and practices rooted in particular religious traditions is followed by an examination of how secular legal systems conceptualize religion and balance the protection of religious freedom with their standards of equity and neutrality.

Magic, Science, and Religion

REL 225 - Lubin, Timothy (Tim)

How do religious and scientific explanations and methods of inquiry differ? What are the roles of reason and authority in each case? This course draws together materials from antiquity to the present, from the West and from Asia, to illustrate a variety of types of systems of "knowledge." Theoretical readings are balanced with diverse case studies from diverse contexts: religious doctrines, mystical practices, alchemy, astrology, sorcery, "traditional medicines," and modern religious movements. Students research a system of their choice and analyze its claims and methods in comparison with those of other traditions covered in the course.

Women and Gender in Islam

REL 284 - Atanasova, Kameliya N.

How have issues of gender and sexuality in Medieval and Modern Islamic societies been debated across the Middle East, South Asia, and the West? Students examine scholarly and public discussions of gender and Islam, and they build a vocabulary in which to talk about women. queer, and intersex history as they concern Muslim societies and their foundational sources in their regional and historical contexts. No prior knowledge of Islam is necessary.

Seminar in Biblical Studies: The Letters and Legacy of the Apostle Paul: Ancient to Modern

REL 350A - Brown, Alexandra R.

This course focuses on the letters and legacy of Paul of Tarsus, a key and enduring figure in the origins of Christianity. It also considers other documents and material culture pertinent to the Roman world and the Jewish Diaspora in which his writing took shape. Special attention will be given to trends in recent Pauline studies, including feminist, queer, and post-colonial readings of Paul as well as works of contemporary political theology that arise from his writings.