Undergraduate Courses

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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
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 such as scriptures, monuments, the body, law, place, and holidays. 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 Stream 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.

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
Great Books of the Jewish Tradition (HA)
Subject associations
JDS 202 / REL 202

This course is intended to introduce students to the classical Jewish tradition through a close reading of portions of some of its great books, including the Hebrew Bible, the Midrash, the Talmud, the Passover Haggadah, Maimonides's Guide for the Perplexed, the Zohar, and Spinoza's Theological-Political Treatise. We will pay particular attention to the role of interpretation in forming Jewish tradition.

Instructors
Ra'anan S. Boustan
Great Books of the Jewish Tradition (HA)
Subject associations
JDS 202 / REL 202

This course is intended to introduce students to the classical Jewish tradition through a close reading of portions of some of its great books, including the Hebrew Bible, the Midrash, the Talmud, the Passover Haggadah, Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed, the Zohar, and Spinoza's Theological-Political Treatise. We will pay particular attention to the roles of reading and interpretation in forming the Jewish tradition.

Additional description

Area of Study Requirement: Ancient Judaism, Christianity, and Greek and Roman Religions

Instructors
Ra'anan S. Boustan
Great Books of the Jewish Tradition (HA)
Subject associations
JDS 202 / REL 202

This course is intended to introduce students to the classical Jewish tradition through a close reading of portions of some of its great books, including the Hebrew Bible, Midrash, Talmud, the Passover Haggadah, medieval Bible commentaries (Rashi, Nahmanides), Maimonides's Mishnah Torah (code of Jewish Law), and the Zohar, the central work of Kabbaah (medieval Jewish mysticism). We will pay particular attention to the role of interpretation in forming Jewish tradition.

Additional description

Department Area Requirement: Ancient Mediterranean

Instructors
Martha Himmelfarb
Great Books of the Jewish Tradition (HA)
Subject associations
JDS 202 / REL 202

An introduction to some of the major works of Jewish thought and literature that survive from antiquity until the early modern era. We'll closely read a wide array of primary texts in translation, from the Hebrew Bible to Spinoza, discuss the worlds in which the people who produced them lived, and consider some of the ways in which they add up to an ongoing tradition across time and space - and some of the ways in which they don't. Students with reading knowledge of Hebrew and Aramaic are warmly encouraged to use them, but this is optional; nor prior knowledge of Judaism is required.

Instructors
Eve Krakowski
Great Books of the Jewish Tradition (HA)
Subject associations
JDS 202 / REL 202

This course is intended to introduce students to the classical Jewish tradition through a close reading of portions of some of its great books, including the Bible, the Midrash, the Talmud, Maimonides's legal and philosophical work, the Zohar, and Spinoza's Theological-Political Treatise. We will pay particular attention to the role of interpretation in forming Jewish tradition.

Instructors
Yaacob Dweck
Moulie Vidas
Great Books of the Jewish Tradition (HA)
Subject associations
JDS 202 / REL 202

This course is intended to introduce students to the classical Jewish tradition through a close reading of portions of some of its great books, including the Hebrew Bible, the Midrash, the Talmud, the Passover Haggadah, Maimonides's Guide for the Perplexed, the Zohar, and Spinoza's Theological-Political Treatise. We will pay particular attention to the role of interpretation in forming Jewish tradition.

Instructors
Ra'anan S. Boustan
Great Books of the Jewish Tradition (HA)
Subject associations
JDS 202 / REL 202

This course is intended to introduce students to the classical Jewish tradition through a close reading of portions of some of its great books, including the Hebrew Bible, the Midrash, the Talmud, the Passover Haggadah, Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed, the Zohar, and Spinoza's Theological-Political Treatise. We will pay particular attention to the roles of reading and interpretation in forming the Jewish tradition.

Additional description

Area of Study Requirement: Ancient Judaism, Christianity, and Greek and Roman Religions

Instructors
Ra'anan S. Boustan
Introduction to Jewish Cultures (EM)
Subject associations
COM 202 / JDS 203 / REL 203

This course explores the relationship between culture, history, religion, and ethics in global Jewish experience from the Bible to the present. Following representations of themes such as sexuality, suffering, and mysticism, we'll debate the boundaries between religion and culture and see how ethical questions play out in cultural forms. How does Jewish law, ritual, and custom inform Jewish culture, and how does culture sometimes push back against religious norms? Topics include Bible and Talmud, kabbalah, sexuality, Yiddish, Arab Jews, Zionism, Jewish music, food, literature, cinema, and comics. No background required; readings in English.

Instructors
Lital Levy
Jewish Mysticism, Magic, and Kabbalah from Antiquity to Middle Ages (HA)
Subject associations
JDS 204 / REL 204

This course traces the history of Jewish mysticism and magic from the Hebrew Bible to the flourishing of the Kabbalah in medieval Europe. We will consider such historical problems as: the roots of the Jewish mystical tradition in Israelite prophecy; rabbinic attitudes toward secret knowledge and ecstatic practice; and the emergence of the Kabbalah against the background of Jewish rationalist philosophy. The course also considers such thematic questions as: the relationship between literary expression and mystical experience; the power of speech and language in Jewish magic; and gender, sexuality, and the body in Jewish mysticism.

Instructors
Ra'anan S. Boustan
Brujería is (not) Witchcraft: Religiosity, Power, and Performance in LatAm and Caribbean Imagination (CD or LA)
Subject associations
LAS 228 / SPA 244 / THR 233 / REL 204

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
Religion and Ethics in Environmental Justice Activism (CD or SA)
Subject associations
ENV 204 / REL 204 / AMS 204

To what degree has religion shaped the environmental justice movement? This course in environmental humanities and social sciences examines the impact of religious ideas, persons, practices, and institutions on the values and strategies of environmental, food, and climate justice activists. It also grapples with the significance of this impact for environmental thought and policy. Students engage with primary sources, media, scholarship, and community organizations to study cases in the US South, New Jersey, the tropics, and the planet as a whole, culminating in a collaborative project with a community partner.

Instructors
Ryan Juskus
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
Jews Across the Americas (CD or HA)
Subject associations
AMS 257 / JDS 257 / REL 205

This course examines the diversity of the American Jewish experiences in South America, North America, and the Caribbean. Moving from the early colonial era to the present, we will examine Jewish life using historical, literary, religious, and cultural evidence. This course offers an introduction to the methods of digital humanities and will culminate in each student creating an online digital exhibit using ArtSteps. Special attention will be paid to the experiences of women as well as multiracial Jews and Jews of color.

Instructors
Staff
Buddhist Cosmology and Rebirth (EM)
Subject associations
REL 210

Concepts of reincarnation - rebirth as a god, human, animal, hungry ghost, or hell being -have been central to Buddhism. How have Buddhists imagined the afterlife? Are men and women treated differently? What does cosmology imply about vegetarianism and animal welfare? Is Buddhism possible without belief in the otherworld? This course surveys the Buddhist otherworld across history, from ancient to modern, Asia to the West. Sources include paintings of heaven and hell, philosophical tracts, meditation manuals, tales of the Buddha's past lives, ghost stories, anime, Buddhist theme parks, and modern ethical debates.

Additional description

Area of Study Stream Requirement: Religions of Asia

Instructors
Kelly M. Carlton
Stephen F. Teiser
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
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