Undergraduate Course Archive

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Introduction to Islamic Theology (HA)
Subject associations
NES 339 / REL 339

This course is a general survey of the main principles of Islamic doctrine. It focuses on the Muslim theological discourse on the concepts of God and His attributes, man and nature, the world to come, revelation and prophethood, diversity of religions, and the possibility and actuality of miracles.

Additional description

Does NOT satisfy sub-field requirement; does NOT count as departmental. Majors may petition to count this as a cognate course (in addition to the 9 required courses for the major).

Instructors
Hossein Modarressi
Introduction to Islamic Theology (HA)
Subject associations
NES 339 / REL 339

This course is a general survey of the main principles of Islamic doctrine. It focuses on the Muslim theological discourse on the concepts of God and His attributes, man and nature, the world to come, revelation and prophethood, diversity of religions, and the possibility and actuality of miracles.

Instructors
Hossein Modarressi
Introduction to Islamic Theology (HA)
Subject associations
NES 339 / REL 339

This course is a general survey of the main principles of Islamic doctrine. It focuses on the Muslim theological discourse on the concepts of God and His attributes, man and nature, the world to come, revelation and prophethood, diversity of religions, and the possibility and actuality of miracles.

Instructors
Hossein Modarressi
Marriage and Monotheism: Men, Women, and God in Near Eastern Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (EM)
Subject associations
NES 379 / JDS 378 / GSS 380 / REL 376

The decline of marriage in recent decades is often tied to the decline of religion. But why should marriage, a contractual relationship centered on sex and property, be seen as a religious practice? This seminar considers the varied and surprising ways in which the great monotheistic traditions of the Near East came to connect certain forms of human marriage - or their rejection- to divine devotion, and considers how marriage worked in societies shaped by these traditions. Spanning biblical Israel to the medieval Islamic world, this course will introduce you to the historical study of Near Eastern religions and to the field of family history.

Instructors
Eve Krakowski
Marriage and Monotheism: Men, Women, and God in Near Eastern Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (EM)
Subject associations
NES 379 / JDS 378 / GSS 380 / REL 376

The decline of marriage in recent decades is often tied to the decline of religion. But why should marriage, a contractual relationship centered on sex and property, be seen as a religious practice? This seminar considers the varied and surprising ways in which the great monotheistic traditions of the Near East came to connect certain forms of human marriage - or their rejection- to divine devotion, and considers how marriage worked in societies shaped by these traditions. Spanning biblical Israel to the medieval Islamic world, this course will introduce you to the historical study of Near Eastern religions and to the field of family history.

Instructors
Eve Krakowski
Philosophy, Religion, and Existential Commitments (EM)
Subject associations
PHI 211 / CHV 211 / REL 211

The choice of a kind of life involves both fundamental commitments and day-to-day decisions. This course is interested in zooming out and zooming in: how should we adopt commitments, and how do we realize them in ordinary life? What is the purpose of life, and how can you fulfill it? Should you live by an overall narrative, or is your life just the sum of what you actually do? Are commitments chosen or given to you? Are the decisions we think of as high stakes important at all? When should you relinquish what you thought were your deepest commitments? What should you do when commitments clash?

Additional description

Area of Study Requirement: Philosophical and Ethical Approaches to Religion

Instructors
Lara M. Buchak
Andrew Chignell
Kierkegaard Everywhere (EM)
Subject associations
PHI 367 / REL 392 / HUM 367

We will study the life and work of Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855). His mission as an author begins with a journal entry he wrote while overlooking the sea north of Copenhagen: "What I really need is to get clear about what I must do, not what I must know, except insofar as knowledge must precede every act. What matters is to find a purpose." We will follow in Kierkegaard's footsteps, both literally and figuratively.

Instructors
Hans P. Halvorson
Kierkegaard in Copenhagen (EM)
Subject associations
PHI 367 / REL 392

We will study the life and work of Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855). His mission as an author begins with a journal entry he wrote while overlooking the sea north of Copenhagen: "What I really need is to get clear about what I must do, not what I must know, except insofar as knowledge must precede every act. What matters is to find a purpose." We will follow in Kierkegaard's footsteps, both literally and figuratively.

Instructors
Hans P. Halvorson
Kierkegaard in Copenhagen (EM)
Subject associations
PHI 367 / REL 392 / HUM 367

We will study the life and work of Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855). His mission as an author begins with a journal entry he wrote while overlooking the sea north of Copenhagen: "What I really need is to get clear about what I must do, not what I must know, except insofar as knowledge must precede every act. What matters is to find a purpose." We will follow in Kierkegaard's footsteps, both literally and figuratively.

Instructors
Hans P. Halvorson
Kierkegaard Everywhere (EM)
Subject associations
PHI 367 / REL 392 / HUM 367

We will study the life and work of Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855). His mission as an author begins with a journal entry he wrote while overlooking the sea north of Copenhagen: "What I really need is to get clear about what I must do, not what I must know, except insofar as knowledge must precede every act. What matters is to find a purpose." We will follow in Kierkegaard's footsteps, both literally and figuratively.

Instructors
Hans P. Halvorson
Politics and Religion (EM)
Subject associations
POL 309 / REL 309

We revisit some of the basic normative questions to do with religion and democratic politics: how can democratic polities be protected from religion, and how can religion be protected from politics? Might certain forms of democratic politics depend on religious sources? In particular, might liberal democracy actually "live off" religious sentiments in ways that many liberal theorists fail to acknowledge? Does even the religiously neutral state need a "civil religion" of some sort or other to preserve its moral foundations?

Instructors
Jan-Werner Müller
Politics and Religion (EM)
Subject associations
POL 309 / REL 309

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)
Subject associations
REL 100

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.

Additional description

Area of Study Requirement: Does NOT satisfy sub-field requirement; does count as departmental.

Instructors
Jenny Wiley Legath
Religion and the Public Conversation (CD or SA)
Subject associations
REL 100

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)
Subject associations
REL 100

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 law. 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.

Additional description

Area of Study Requirement: Does NOT satisfy sub-field requirement; does count as departmental.

Instructors
Jenny Wiley Legath
An Introduction to Indian Philosophy and Religion (EC or EM)
Subject associations
REL 205 / PHI 206

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?

Additional description

Department Area Requirement: Religions of Asia

Instructors
Katie Javanaud
Religions of India (EM)
Subject associations
REL 210

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)
Subject associations
REL 214 / CHV 215

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.

Additional description

Department Area Requirement: Does NOT satisfy sub-field requirement; does count as departmental.

Instructors
Andrew Chignell
Shaun E. Marmon
A Survey of some theologies in the Middle Ages (EC)
Subject associations
REL 215

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)
Subject associations
REL 216 / SAS 216 / PHI 216

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