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Politics and Religion (EM)

Is there an affinity between particular religions and particular forms of politics? Is religion a necessary basis for any stable politics, as many canonical authors in the history of political thought asserted, or is it in fact a threat, as religion provokes strife and poses a danger to modern ideals of autonomy - including democracy? The course addresses such broad questions by engaging classic works as well as recent sociological writings, studies in comparative politics, and legal theories on politics and religion.

Instructors
Jan-Werner Müller
Religion and the Public Conversation (CD or SA)

This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary study of religion and its engagement with society and culture. We will identify where and how religion operates in the public conversation, especially in, but not limited to, the United States. Classes will be focused around topics that intersect with religion in the public conversation such as place, media, race, body, art, and ethics. Students will develop recognition of the different ways people use religion to construct meaning, boundaries, and identity and will demonstrate the ability to engage in informed dialogue around issues of religion.

Instructors
Jenny Wiley Legath
Religion and the Public Conversation (CD or SA)

This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary study of religion and its engagement with society and culture. We will identify where and how religion operates in the public conversation, especially in, but not limited to, the United States. Classes will be focused around topics that intersect with religion in the public conversation such as place, media, race, body, art, and ethics. Students will develop recognition of the different ways people use religion to construct meaning, boundaries, and identity and will demonstrate the ability to engage in informed dialogue around issues of religion.

Instructors
Jenny Wiley Legath
An Introduction to Indian Philosophy and Religion (EC or EM)

This course introduces some of India's most important traditions, covering topics in metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics from a non-Western philosophical perspective. We will examine some of India's most significant contributions to debates on personal identity, free will, spiritual liberation, and the nature of truth itself. We will also explore the implications of religious doctrines for contemporary moral philosophy. For example, how might belief in inter-dependence shape attitudes towards the environment? And what explains the misogyny of some Indian philosophers given their commitment to non-violence and inclusivity?

Instructors
Katie Javanaud
Religions of India (EM)

This course traces the historical development of the major religious traditions of India, with special emphasis on Hindu traditions, but also treating Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. We will investigate how these traditions have shaped their religious practices and worldviews in an ongoing contest for Indian hearts and minds.

Instructors
Karin L. Meyers
Religion, Ethics and Animals (EM)

How have religious traditions addressed the relationship between human and non-human animals, and between non-human animals and the divine? What is the connection between representations of dominion over animals in religious texts, and the subjugation of women, the "racial" other, and marginalized peoples? Our focus will be on the ways in which non-human animals, real or imagined, have figured in the religious and moral traditions, as well as the cultural practices, of the Middle East and the west, from ancient times to the present. Course includes guest speakers and engagement with animal welfare groups that focus on religion/animal welfare.

Instructors
Andrew Chignell
Shaun E. Marmon
A Survey of some theologies in the Middle Ages (EC)

A survey of themes central to theologies in the period from Augustine to the end of the Middle Ages, issues of theological method, genre, and linguistic medium; doctrines of God, the Trinity, Incarnation and grace; the place of the Bible and its interpretation in medieval theology. Throughout all of these, it will be necessary to bear in mind in general terms, and explore in each of these texts in some detail, a series of overarching, and governing, connections: between the theological and the 'mystical', contemplation and action, intellectual enquiry and holiness, knowledge and love.

Instructors
Denys A. Turner
Philosophical Debates between Buddhists and Jains (EC)

This course introduces two of India's most sophisticated religious-philosophical traditions: Jainism and Buddhism. We will cover familiar topics - e.g. the free will problem, the possibility of omniscience, and the nature of reality - but will use less familiar, non-Western, concepts to shed light on seemingly perennial problems. Our initial focus is on metaphysics and epistemology but we will explore the ramifications of these theories for ethics. For example, how does the idea of inter-dependence shape Buddhist views on the environment? And why do Buddhists and Jains share commitment to non-violence yet disagree over strict vegetarianism?

Instructors
Katie Javanaud
Business Ethics and Modern Religious Thought (EM)

The course objective is to equip future leaders to successfully navigate ethical dilemmas in their future careers. Students will learn basic ethics theory, classical ethical schools, and develop practical tools for business ethics. The course focuses on the role of religion and spirituality as a resource for ethical formation, frameworks, and decision-making. This will be applied to contemporary business ethics case studies and wider issues surrounding faith and work, and will include guest CEO visitors.

Instructors
David W. Miller
Theories and Methods in the Study of Religion (EC)

This course explores major theories and methods in the study of religion, starting with Enlightenment thinkers (Spinoza, Hume), before turning to the rise of social sciences in the study of religion (Durkheim, Weber), and ending with contemporary topics in the study of religion. Topics to be explored include rationality and religion; secularism; the effects of colonialism on the study of religion; gender and sexuality; religion and psychology; the conflict between freedom of religion and the state.

Instructors
Liane F. Carlson
The Buddhist World of Thought and Practice (HA)

This course surveys the development of Buddhism from its beginnings in India through some of its later forms in East Asia, Tibet, and the West. Attention will be given to continuity and diversity within Buddhism, its modes of self-definition as a religious tradition, the interplay of its practical and trans-worldly concerns, and its transformations in specific historical and cultural settings.

Instructors
Jacqueline I. Stone
The Religions of China (EM)

A thematic introduction to Chinese religion, ranging from ancient to contemporary. The first half focuses on classics of Chinese thought (Book of Changes, Analects of Confucius, Daoist classics, etc.). The second half utilizes journalism, ethnography, and history to consider topics such as contemporary China, state control of religion, cosmology, gods and saints, divination, gender, and ritual.

Instructors
Stephen F. Teiser
The Religions of China (EM)

A thematic introduction to Chinese religion, ranging from ancient to contemporary. The first half focuses on classics of Chinese thought (Book of Changes, Analects of Confucius, Laozi's Dao de jing, etc.); the second half utilizes ethnography and history to consider topics such as cosmology, ancestors, gods and saints, mythology, ethics, divination, gender, and ritual.

Instructors
Stephen F. Teiser
The Religions of China (EM)

A thematic introduction to Chinese religion, ranging from ancient to contemporary. The first half focuses on classics of Chinese thought (Book of Changes, Analects of Confucius, Daoist classics, etc.). The second half utilizes journalism, ethnography, and history to consider topics such as contemporary China, state control of religion, cosmology, gods and saints, divination, gender, and ritual.

Instructors
Stephen F. Teiser
The Religions of China (EM)

A thematic introduction to Chinese religion, ranging from ancient to contemporary. The first half focuses on classics of Chinese thought (Book of Changes, Analects of Confucius, Daoist classics, etc.). The second half utilizes journalism, ethnography, and history to consider topics such as contemporary China, state control of religion, cosmology, gods and saints, divination, gender, and ritual.

Instructors
Stephen F. Teiser
Tibetan Buddhism (EM)

This course is a survey of the Buddhist traditions of Tibet, focusing on the doctrines and practices of the main schools of tantric ritual and meditation. Topics covered include: the formation and maintenance of institutionalized lineages; lives of Buddhist saints, scholars and reincarnate lamas; politics and religion; and Tibet through the lenses of the Chinese, and the West.

Instructors
Jonathan C. Gold
Religion in Japanese Culture (HA)

What does religion mean for a culture in which the majority of people identify as nonbelievers but still regularly engage in seemingly religious acts? By looking at practices and teachings that do not easily map onto monotheistic traditions, we will question commonly held assumptions about religion. This course introduces major themes and issues in Japanese religions from ancient to modern times, focusing on the role of religion in culture and history. We will examine aspects of Buddhist, Shinto, Christian and other traditions, as well as topics such as myths, ghosts, the environment, politics, secularism, and violence.

Instructors
Bryan D. Lowe
Religion in Japanese Culture (HA)

This course will provide an introduction to major themes and issues in Japanese religions from ancient to modern times, focusing on the role of religion in culture and history. We will examine representative aspects of Buddhist, Shinto, Kirishitan (Christian) and other religious traditions, as well as such topics as myth, ritual, death, politics, and violence.

Instructors
Bryan D. Lowe
Who Wrote the Bible (HA)

The course will introduce students to the Hebrew Bible ("Old Testament") in its ancient Near Eastern setting. Key concepts such as God, worship, the afterlife, and history, will be scrutinized through a careful reading of a selection of Biblical texts including the Creation and Garden of Eden narratives in Genesis, the laws of Deuteronomy, the prophecies of Isaiah, and the poetry of Psalms. Particular attention will be paid to questions of authorship--possible dating, social setting, and original audience; and to transformations that the texts underwent through a continuous process of transmission and interpretation.

Instructors
Laura E. Quick
Who Wrote the Bible (HA)

The Hebrew Bible (Christian "Old Testament") is a collection of diverse books that is central to worldwide social, political, and religious experience. Despite this centrality, there are many mysteries and misconceptions about how the Bible came into being and what it really says. In this class, we will explore the Bible's historical context and ancient meaning, with a focus on matters of composition and early reception. Moving beyond the project of identifying texts with authors, we will use biblical and ancient non-biblical sources to situate biblical authors with respect to institutions, class, gender, and more.

Instructors
Madadh Richey