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Religion and its Modern Critics (EC)
Subject associations
REL 263

The most penetrating critiques of religion have the power to challenge our whole way of being and are often just as unsettling to atheists as to believers. After all, religions are more than just sets of beliefs - they are complex weaves of values, practices, narratives, social structures, and more - which tend to leave their stamp long after people have deserted their explicit creeds. This course explores some of the key critiques of Christianity - and Christian-moulded culture - to emerge in post-Enlightenment Europe, and will involve opening ourselves up to the painfully sharp critical scalpels of Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Kafka, and others.

Instructors
Gabriel M. Citron
Religion and its Modern Critics (EC)
Subject associations
REL 263

The most penetrating critiques of Christianity have the power to unsettle our sense of self and disrupt our most natural ways of being - for Christians and non-Christians alike. For these critiques don't focus on attacking religious beliefs alone; rather, they target many of the deepest values, attitudes, and tendencies at the core of Christianity and Christian-molded cultures, and perhaps even at the core of our humanity. This course explores some of the key 19th and 20th century critiques of Christianity. It will involve opening ourselves up to the self-reckoning demanded by the likes of Kierkegaard, Emerson, Nietzsche, Baldwin, and Butler.

Instructors
Gabriel M. Citron
Religion and its Modern Critics (EC)
Subject associations
REL 263

The most penetrating critiques of Christianity have the power to unsettle our sense of self and disrupt our most natural ways of being - for Christians and non-Christians alike. For these critiques don't focus on attacking religious beliefs alone; rather, they target many of the deepest values, attitudes, and tendencies at the core of Christianity and Christian-molded cultures, and perhaps even at the core of our humanity. This course explores some of the key 19th and 20th century critiques of Christianity. It will involve opening ourselves up to the self-reckoning demanded by the likes of Kierkegaard, Emerson, Nietzsche, Baldwin, and Butler.

Additional description

Area of Study Requirement: Philosophical and Ethical Approaches to Religion

Instructors
Gabriel M. Citron
Religion and Reason (EC)
Subject associations
REL 264 / CHV 264 / PHI 264

An examination of the most influential theoretical, pragmatic, and moral arguments regarding the existence and nature of God (or gods). Along the way, we consider debates about whether and how we can talk or think about such a being, and about whether mystical experience, miracles, and the afterlife are intelligible notions. Finally, we consider whether religious commitment might be rationally acceptable without any proof or evidence, and whether the real-world fact of religious diversity has philosophical implications. Course readings will be taken from both historical and contemporary sources.

Additional description

Area of Study Stream Requirement: Philosophical and Ethical Approaches to Religion

Instructors
Austen D. McDougal
Religion and Reason (EC)
Subject associations
REL 264 / CHV 264 / PHI 264

An examination of the most influential theoretical, pragmatic, and moral arguments regarding the existence and nature of God (or gods). Along the way, we consider debates about whether and how we can talk or think about such a being, and about whether mystical experience, miracles, and the afterlife are intelligible notions. Finally, we consider whether religious commitment might be rationally acceptable without any proof or evidence, and whether the real-world fact of religious diversity has philosophical implications. Course readings will be taken from both historical and contemporary sources.

Instructors
Denys A. Turner
Religion and Reason (EC)
Subject associations
REL 264 / CHV 264 / PHI 264

An examination of the most influential theoretical, pragmatic, and moral arguments regarding the existence and nature of God (or gods). Along the way, we consider debates about whether and how we can talk or think about such a being, and about whether mystical experience, miracles, and the afterlife are intelligible notions. Finally, we consider whether religious commitment might be rationally acceptable without any proof or evidence, and whether the real-world fact of religious diversity has philosophical implications. Course readings will be taken from both historical and contemporary sources.

Additional description

Area of Study Requirement: Philosophical and Ethical Approaches to Religion

Instructors
Denys A. Turner
Religion and Reason (EC)
Subject associations
REL 264 / CHV 264 / PHI 264

An examination of the most influential theoretical, pragmatic, and moral arguments regarding the existence and nature of God (or gods). Along the way, we consider debates about whether and how we can talk or think about such a being, and about whether mystical experience, miracles, and the afterlife are intelligible notions. Finally, we consider whether religious commitment might be rationally acceptable without any proof or evidence, and whether the real-world fact of religious diversity has philosophical implications. Course readings will be taken from both historical and contemporary sources.

Instructors
Andrew Chignell
Daniel K. Rubio
'Cult' Controversies in America (HA)
Subject associations
REL 271 / AMS 341

In this course we examine a variety of new religious movements that tested the boundaries of acceptable religion at various moments in American history. We pay particular attention to government and media constructions of the religious mainstream and margin, to the politics of labels such as "cult" and "sect," to race, gender, and sexuality within new religions, and to the role of American law in constructing categories and shaping religious expressions. We also consider what draws people to new religions and examine the distinctive beliefs, practices, and social organizations of groups labeled by outsiders as "cults."

Additional description

Area of Study Stream Requirement: Religion in the Americas

Instructors
Judith Weisenfeld
'Cult' Controversies in America (HA)
Subject associations
REL 271 / AMS 341

In this course we examine a variety of new religious movements that tested the boundaries of acceptable religion at various moments in American history. We pay particular attention to government and media constructions of the religious mainstream and margin, to the politics of labels such as "cult" and "sect," to race, gender, and sexuality within new religions, and to the role of American law in constructing categories and shaping religious expressions. We also consider what draws people to new religions and examine the distinctive beliefs, practices, and social organizations of groups labeled by outsiders as "cults."

Instructors
Judith Weisenfeld
'Cult' Controversies in America (HA)
Subject associations
REL 271 / AMS 341

In this course we examine a variety of new religious movements that tested the boundaries of acceptable religion at various moments in American history. We pay particular attention to government and media constructions of the religious mainstream and margin, to the politics of labels such as "cult" and "sect," to race, gender, and sexuality within new religions, and to the role of American law in constructing categories and shaping religious expressions. We also consider what draws people to new religions and examine the distinctive beliefs, practices, and social organizations of groups labeled by outsiders as "cults."

Additional description

Area of Study Requirement: Religion in America

Instructors
Judith Weisenfeld
Religion and Social Change in Early Latin America (HA)
Subject associations
REL 275 / LAS 275 / GSS 275

In this course, we will grapple with the many paradoxes in the historical role of "religion" in people's lives and society in colonial Latin America. Subjects will include: religious change; Native American cosmologies; Indigenous Christianities; women and men's daily encounters with church institutions and their participation in devotional culture; historical dynamics of race, gender, and spiritual status; and the changing relationship between the church and state.

Instructors
Jessica Delgado
Zen Buddhism (EM)
Subject associations
REL 280 / EAS 281

Are Zen and other religions stable entities with identifiable essences? Or do they lack a core, gradually vanishing as each layer is peeled away? Do they take on different forms in relation to cultural and power configurations? Or can they themselves shape social and political structures? In order to understand these questions and ask better ones, we will examine Zen in diverse contexts, including China, Japan, Korea, Germany, and the United States, to consider the tensions between romanticized ideals and practice on the ground. We will grapple with studying complex religious traditions with complicated and sometimes troubling histories.

Instructors
Bryan D. Lowe
Zen Buddhism (CD or EM)
Subject associations
REL 280 / EAS 281

Most people have heard of Zen Buddhism, but what is it? Who gets to define it? This class looks at Zen in China, Korea, Germany, Japan, Vietnam, and the United States through a range of methods from reading classic texts to studying ethnographic accounts. By considering Zen in different times and places, we explore how a religion is shaped by its political and cultural environs. We examine tensions between romanticized ideals and practices on the ground and grapple with how to study complicated and sometimes troubling traditions. Topics include myths, meditation, mindfulness, monastic life, gender, war, and death.

Additional description

Area of Study Requirement : Religions of Asia

Instructors
Bryan D. Lowe
Buddhist Philosophy (EM)
Subject associations
REL 281 / SAS 281

An introduction to the Indian Buddhist philosophical tradition from the time of the Buddha until its decline (c. 400 B.C.E - 1200 C.E.). Topics include Buddhism's view of the world, the person, and the path to nirvana; equanimity, compassion and meditation as core elements in Buddhist ethics; early Buddhist metaphysics; the doctrine of "emptiness" and its various interpretations in the Great Vehicle schools; Buddhist epistemology and philosophy of language; and modern attempts to apply Buddhist philosophy to contemporary philosophical issues.

Additional description

Area of Study Requirement: Religions of Asia

Instructors
Jonathan C. Gold
Jesus and Buddha (EM)
Subject associations
HUM 290 / REL 282

This course invites us to compare the stories, teachings, lives, deaths, and communities associated with Jesus and Buddha. While respecting each tradition's unique and distinctive sources, cultures, ideas and legacies, it invites us to deepen our understanding of each tradition by looking through the lens of the other. Course readings include accounts of the lives of Jesus and Buddha, what each taught about how to live and create society, and how they articulate the meaning of life and death, suffering and salvation.

Additional description

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

Instructors
Jonathan C. Gold
Elaine H. Pagels
Jesus and Buddha (EM)
Subject associations
HUM 290 / REL 282

This course introduces the study of religion by juxtaposing the narratives, teachings, careers and legacies of the founders of Christianity and Buddhism. While respecting each tradition's unique and distinctive texts, rituals, philosophies, and histories, the course invites us to deepen our understanding of each tradition by looking through the lens of the other. Course readings will include accounts of the lives of Jesus and Buddha, what each taught about how to live and create society, and how each understood the meaning of life and death, suffering and salvation.

Instructors
Jonathan C. Gold
Elaine H. Pagels
Jesus and Buddha (EM)
Subject associations
HUM 290 / REL 282

This course invites us to compare the stories, teachings, lives, deaths, and communities associated with Jesus and Buddha. While respecting each tradition's unique and distinctive sources, cultures, ideas and legacies, it invites us to deepen our understanding of each tradition by looking through the lens of the other. Course readings include accounts of the lives of Jesus and Buddha, what each taught about how to live and create society, and how they articulate the meaning of life and death, suffering and salvation.

Additional description

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

Instructors
Jonathan C. Gold
Elaine H. Pagels
Hip Hop, Reggae, and Religion (EM)
Subject associations
REL 292

In this course, we will examine music and the religio-political imagination of the Black Atlantic, focusing on Jamaica and the US. We will examine the ways that the various cultures of hip-hop and reggae offer critique to our contemporary religious and political arrangements. Listening to the perspectives expressed in these cultural formations we will question whether the music provides a prophetic challenge to the status quo. Giving attention to the music, from the Negro Spirituals, to contemporary Hip Hop and Dancehall, we will contextualize it with an interest in understanding the relationship between their religious and political visions.

Instructors
Kevin A. Wolfe
Hip Hop, Reggae, and Religion (EM)
Subject associations
REL 292

In this course, we will examine music and the religio-political imagination of the Black Atlantic, focusing on Jamaica and the US. We will examine the ways that the various cultures of hip-hop and reggae offer critique to our contemporary religious and political arrangements. Listening to the perspectives expressed in these cultural formations we will question whether the music provides a prophetic challenge to the status quo. Giving attention to the music, from the Negro Spirituals, to contemporary Hip Hop and Dancehall, we will contextualize it with an interest in understanding the relationship between their religious and political visions.

Instructors
Kevin A. Wolfe
Hip Hop, Reggae, and Religion (EM)
Subject associations
REL 292

In this course, we will examine music and the religio-political imagination of the Black Atlantic, focusing on Jamaica and the US. We will examine the ways that the various cultures of hip-hop and reggae offer critique to our contemporary religious and political arrangements. Listening to the perspectives expressed in these cultural formations we will question whether the music provides a prophetic challenge to the status quo. Giving attention to the music, from the Negro Spirituals, to contemporary Hip Hop and Dancehall, we will contextualize it with an interest in understanding the relationship between their religious and political visions.

Instructors
Kevin A. Wolfe