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Apocalypse: The End of the World and the Secrets of Heaven in Ancient Judaism and Christianity (HA)

This course studies the rich corpus of revelations composed by ancient Jews and Christians about the end of the world, the fate of souls after death, the secrets of the cosmos, and God's heavenly abode, placing them in their historical contexts and considering them in relation to the development of Judaism and Christianity from the Hebrew Bible through late antiquity. Among the works to be considered are Enoch (an anthology of ancient Jewish apocalypses about the antediluvian patriarch), Daniel (Hebrew Bible), Revelation (New Testament), and Ezra (Apocrypha).

Instructors
Martha Himmelfarb
Spring 2020
Art and Judaism in the Ancient World (LA)

Jews have often been thought of as a "nation without art," who disparaged the visual and discouraged artistic creation. But the reality is very different: Judaism has a rich tradition of artistic production as well as a long history of reflection on the role that objects and images should play in religious life. Using both textual and artistic sources, this course explores the nature and function of art in ancient Judaism, from the Hebrew Bible to the end of late antiquity. A particular focus will be on Jewish attitudes toward and engagement with the visual and material cultures of the wider societies in which Jews lived.

Instructors
Ra'anan S. Boustan
Spring 2020
Art, Culture, and Identity in Medieval Spain (LA)

Before the suppression of non-Christians in Spain and Portugal after 1492, three vibrant medieval cultures inhabited the peninsula: Muslims based in Al-Andalus, Christians based in the northern Spanish kingdoms, and Sephardic Jews throughout both realms. Their coexistence transformed their visual culture in ways that resonated well beyond Iberian borders, from Atlantic colonialism to modern identity politics. This course asks how the contacts, conflicts and compromises provoked by "living with" each other shaped artistic traditions and cultural identity in a land both enriched and destabilized by its own diversity.

Instructors
Pamela A. Patton
Spring 2018
Asian Religions Workshop

A weekly workshop focused on disciplinary questions, professional development, and presentation and discussion of work in progress. Required for all students, pre-generals and post-generals, in Asian Religions. Open to other students with permission of the instructor. REL 527 (fall) and REL 528 (spring) constitute this year-long workshop. Students must complete both semesters to receive credit.

Instructors
Stephen F. Teiser
Fall 2020
Asian Religions Workshop

A weekly workshop focused on disciplinary questions, professional development, and presentation and discussion of work in progress. Required for all students, pre-generals and post-generals, in Asian Religions. Open to other students with permission of the instructor. REL 527 (fall) and REL 528 (spring) constitute this year-long workshop. Students must complete both semesters to receive credit.

Instructors
Stephen F. Teiser
Spring 2021
Asian Religions Workshop

A weekly, year-long workshop focused on current student and faculty research in Asian religions. The course is designed primarily for graduate students working on dissertations and general examination essays in Asian Religions subfield of the Religion Department. Note: REL 527 (fall) and REL 528 (spring) constitute this year-long workshop. In order to receive credit, students must take the course both semesters. Open to other students with permission of instructor.

Instructors
Jonathan C. Gold
Spring 2018
Atheism in America (HA)

Belief in the existence of God and non-belief are counterparts of one another and have a shared history in the United States. At the same time, those histories are distinct and have distinct features. This course is an historical exploration of non-belief in God in a country in which religion and religious faith has comprised its very core and shaped its character. What has it meant to be an "a-theist" in a country so dominated by various forms of theism? If America is, as G. K. Chesterton has said, "a nation with the soul of a church," where have been the spaces - intellectually, culturally, socially, aesthetically - for the "unchurched?"

Instructors
Wallace D. Best
Spring 2019
Black Rage and Black Power (HA)

This course examines the various pieties of the Black Power Era. We chart the explicit and implicit utopian visions of the politics of the period that, at once, criticized established Black religious institutions and articulated alternative ways of imagining salvation. We also explore the attempt by Black theologians to translate the prophetic Black church tradition into the idiom of Black power. We aim to keep in view the significance of the Black Power era for understanding the changing role and place of Black religion in Black public life.

Instructors
Eddie S. Glaude
Spring 2020
Black Religions in Slavery and Freedom (SA)

This course explores how enslaved and free Black people created and sustained religious communities in the United States during the eras of slavery and freedom. It explores the resonances of African traditions and the roles of conjure, Islam and Christianity in sustaining Black people through slavery and postemancipation transformations. The course challenges the paradigm of Black religion as always pointing toward freedom and explores how the transition in status from enslaved to free was reflected in and influenced by Black religious practices and communities.

Instructors
Nicole M. Turner
Spring 2023
Black Women and Spiritual Narrative (LA)

This course will analyze the narrative accounts of African American women since the nineteenth century. Working from the hypothesis that religious metaphor and symbolism have figured prominently in Black women's writing (& writing about Black women) across literary genres, we will explore the various ways Black women have used their narratives not only to disclose the intimacies of their religious faith, but also to understand and to critique their social context. We will discuss the themes, institutions, and structures that have traditionally shaped Black women's experiences, as well as the theologies Black women have developed in response.

Instructors
Wallace D. Best
Spring 2022
Black Women and Spiritual Narrative (LA)

This course will analyze the narrative accounts of African American women since the nineteenth century. Working from the hypothesis that religious metaphor and symbolism have figured prominently in black women's writing (& writing about black women) across literary genres, we will explore the various ways black women have used their narratives not only to disclose the intimacies of their religious faith, but also to understand and to critique their social context. We will discuss the themes, institutions, and structures that have traditionally shaped black women's experiences, as well as the theologies black women have developed in response.

Instructors
Wallace D. Best
Spring 2019
Book-History Approaches to American Religious History

No Description Available

Instructors
Staff
Spring 2018
Brujería is (not) Witchcraft: Religiosity, Power, and Performance in LatAm and Caribbean Imagination (CD or LA)

This course explores Latin American and Caribbean culture and its connections with Europe and Africa through references to witches, witchcraft, and other forms of religion and power exercised by women, including practices from Santería, Palo Monte and other Afro-Caribbean religions. With a wide lens on how many women and queer bodies have been considered deviants, dangerous, and deemed punishable, this class will look at how colonialism and its aftermath shaped discourses around religion in the Americas, and how legal documents, visual arts, film, novels, and theater, have represented and contested those discourses and bodies.

Instructors
Lilianne Lugo Herrera
Fall 2022
Buddhism and Politics (EM)

A study of Buddhist traditions of social and political thought, traditional and modern. We will ask how Buddhist thinkers and political actors have imagined, shaped, and critiqued their societies, and how Buddhists have challenged, and been challenged by, modern and contemporary political conversations. What is the role of a Buddhist ruler? Is the monastic community best understood as a model society, a social force, or an escape from politics? When is Buddhism a motivation for war, and when for denouncing violence? When have Buddhist traditions supported social divisions, and when have they sought to transcend them?

Instructors
Jonathan C. Gold
Spring 2019
Buddhism in Japan (HA)

This course will examine representative aspects of Buddhist thought and practice in Japan from the sixth century to the present. We will focus on the major Buddhist traditions--including Lotus, Pure Land, esoteric Buddhism, and Zen--as well as Buddhism and the literary arts, modern challenges to traditional Buddhism, and contemporary Buddhist movements. Readings will include scriptures, sermons, tales, and philosophical essays, as well as selected secondary sources. Some background in either Japan or Buddhism is strongly recommended.

Instructors
Jacqueline I. Stone
Spring 2018