Richard H. Seager, Chair
Heidi M. Ravven
S. Brent Rodríguez Plate
J. Seth Schermerhorn
Jay G. Williams, emeritus
A concentration in Religious Studies consists of nine courses including a 100 entry-level course, a 400 level seminar in which the senior project is normally completed, and 290: Theories and Methods or 291: Imagining Religions, all of which must be taught by faculty of the department. At the time the concentration is elected, the concentrator shall propose a carefully developed program of study including, if desired, study abroad, for the approval of the department. Honors are awarded on the basis of a cumulative average of at least 3.3 (88) achieved in courses approved for the concentration and the completion of 501 with a 3.5 (90) or better.
A minor consists of five courses, including at least one course at the 400 level, proposed by the student and approved by the department.
Some courses have prerequisites due to the technical nature of class material and others are reserved for juniors and seniors; however, the department is usually flexible within constraints of demand and class size, and permission is at the consent of the instructor.
Cross-cultural comparison of the parable. Emphasis given to parable as a form of religious speech. Includes selections from Jesus, Zen masters, Borges and Galeano. (Writing-intensive.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Humphries-Brooks.
118F Religion and Environmentalism.
Introduction to religious studies through contemporary spiritual ideas about and practices concerning nature and the environment. Topics may include New Age religion, ecofeminism and green ideals in visionary architecture and art. Special attention to eco-Hinduism, Aboriginal Dreamtime land management and green Buddhism. (Oral Presentations.) (Proseminar.) Open to 1st years only. Maximum enrollment, 16. Seager.
120F Religious Diversity in the USA.
Religious diversity has been noted in big cities like New York and Los Angeles. But smaller cities like Utica have also diversified, seeing unprecedented population shifts in recent years. This course will take advantage of our proximity to Utica, and explore the mosques, temples, synagogues, and churches that exist there today, as well as explore the rich religious history of Central New York, including the Great Awakenings, Utopian communities, and recent immigration patterns. Multiple field trips. Rodriguez-Plate. (Writing-intensive.) This course is only open to first years and to those who take part in the pre-orientation trip. Maximum enrollment, 16. S Brent Rodriguez-Plate.
Encountering Hinduism: Sacrifice, Soul, and Image.
This survey examines historical and current practices of Hinduism in a variety of social and religious contexts. It introduces students to essential beliefs, doctrines, institutions, and popular practices of Hinduism. Readings are drawn from the Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Epics and devotional poetry. Its multi-disciplinary approach draws upon literary, artist and performative sources including popular media and film. Not open to seniors.
Peoples of the Book: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Explores the historical, philosophical and aesthetic dimensions of the three Western monotheistic traditions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Continuity, adaptation and borrowing is stressed between the traditions. We examine a history of "The Book," including technological developments in printing and bookbinding, and how these material aspects influence beliefs and practices. (Writing-intensive.) Maximum enrollment, 20.
129F Native American Spiritualities.
In order to develop a broad understanding of the religious lives of Native Americans, we explore diverse practices and worldviews. We begin with an examination of how Native American worldviews are unique and differ from modern-Western worldviews. With this grounding, we delve into explorations of the multifaceted history of Native American traditions including the Ghost Dance, the Sun Dance, religious freedom issues pertaining to the use of peyote, struggles over sacred places, and complex native engagements with Christianity. (Writing-intensive.) Open to first year students only. (Same as American Studies 129.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Seth Schermerhorn.
131S Global Christianities.
Who owns Christianity? By the twenty-first century, the heartland of Christianity has shifted from Europe and North America to the Global South (Latin America, Africa, and Asia). Topics include the global reach of Christian missions and local appropriations of Christianity. (Writing-intensive.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Seth Schermerhorn.
133F,S American Freedom and Religious Thought.
The Bible has been used throughout American history to justify various oppressions including slavery, gender inequality, and homophobia. Through exploring the biblical material that has historically supported such injustices, and the religious thought that has contributed to liberation movements, this course will seek to discover the meanings of the defining American mantra of “freedom.” We will examine such “theological” thinkers as Jefferson, Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Reinhold Niebuhr, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and James Baldwin. (Oral Presentations.) (Proseminar.) 20 hours of a community-based internship in a local non-profit is a required component of this class. Maximum enrollment, 16. Jeff McArn.
143F The Sacred in South Asia.
What constitutes the sacred in south Asia? Is it a person, place, river, hill, temple or nature/ecology? Where and how did the notion of sacrality emerge in South Asia? Is it linked exclusively to religious institutions or is it found in the daily lives of people? This course will examine these questions by exploring the multiple religious traditions of South Asia and examining their essential beliefs, doctrines, institutions, rituals and popular practices through a study of texts, material culture, films and ethnographic accounts. (Oral Presentations.) (Proseminar.) Open to 1st years only. Maximum enrollment, 16. Abhishek Amar.
144S Indian Buddhism.
The course explores Indian Buddhism by studying essential beliefs, doctrines, institutions, and popular practices. The origins and establishment of Buddhism in ancient India, traditional interpretations of the Buddha’s teachings (Dharma), growth and development of the Buddhist community (Sangha), Buddhist practices and transmission in different areas of South Asia, and the revival of Buddhism are among the topics. Participants engage with analysis and discussion of readings from secondary textbooks as well as original literary, epigraphic, and archaeological sources. (Writing-intensive.) (Same as History 144.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Abhishek Amar.
World Films, World Faiths.
Introduces the practices and beliefs of several major world religions (including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism) through the medium of film. Exploring Japanese anime, Indonesia documentaries, videofilms from Ghana, Bollywood mythologicals, Jesus-films from Latin America, Korean-Buddhist films, contemporary fictional glimpses into Jewish life, and more, shows how religious people live and struggle and find joy, by using the audio-visual medium of film. Evening film screenings.
Christianity to 1500.
A survey of the origins and development of the Christian religion in its social, political, and cultural contexts from the first century CE to the eve of the Protestant Reformation. Special consideration will be given to questions of orthodoxy versus heresy, the cult of saints, and the impact of Christian theology on the construction of class, gender, and identity in medieval Europe. Stress on basic skills in the study of history. (Writing-intensive.) (Same as History 146.) Maximum enrollment, 20.
Pop Culture/Pop Religion.
Looking at graphic novels and comics, listening to music, watching television and playing video games can all lead us to understand religion. Religion may be about ancient texts and doctrines, but it is also reconceived in the present day through popular cultural texts. Alternates between popular culture artifacts and theories of religion, allowing students to rethink the religious underpinnings of much "secular" popular culture, but also to rethink the idea of religion as well.
Religion in the Wild.
Jesus, Moses, Siddharta, and Mohammed all had significant experiences in the wilderness. These experiences shaped their lives and the religious traditions that they helped found. We will read from and about philosophers, mystics, and spiritual seekers who have gone to untamed spaces for inspiration. We will then turn toward the modern world, and its ongoing spiritual/secular impact, reading works by H.D. Thoreau, John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Gary Snyder, Sara Maitland, and Jonathan Franzen, and look at films including Into the Wild and The Straight Story. (Writing-intensive.) (Oral Presentations.) Instructor's Permission Only. (Same as Environmental Studies 155.) Maximum enrollment, 20.
289F Introduction to Arabic Literature: Texts and Contexts.
An analysis of the emergence of Arabic literature from its mythological genesis in a cave of Mt. Hira’ in the 7th century to high literary works produced in the thriving cities of Baghdad, Damascus and Córdoba from the 8th-12th centuries. We will then move to Arabic texts transcribed from oral works told in markets, homes and make-shift mosques in and around the Mediterranean in the 16th century. We will conclude our survey with a select group of contemporary novels produced by writers in Egypt, Palestine and Morocco. (Writing-intensive.) Not open to students who have taken CPLIT/RELST 189. (Same as Comparative Literature 289.) Maximum enrollment, 20. A Peck Mescall.
Modern Jewish Thought: Politics and Religion.
Examination of the rise of pluralism and democracy as Jews became full citizens of the modern Western state. (Writing-intensive.) Maximum enrollment, 20.
202F Ancient Jewish Wisdom.
Exploration of major themes in the Jewish Bible (Old Testament). (Writing-intensive.) (Oral Presentations.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Ravven.
The Politics of the Bible.
Close reading of selections from the Bible (Old Testament) that address the nature of political leadership, of the political community, of justice and the best form of government. Comparison with works from other cultures that focus on justice, the political life, or offer biographies of political leaders. (Writing-intensive.) (Oral Presentations.) Not open to students who have taken RELST 242W: Rise and Fall of David. Maximum enrollment, 20.
204F The Education of Desire.
A close reading of Spinoza's masterpiece, The Ethics, with a view to understanding its contemporary implications in the light of the new brain sciences. (Writing-intensive.) (Oral Presentations.) Prerequisite, One course in Religious Studies or Philosophy. Maximum enrollment, 20. Ravven.
207F Borderland Religion.
An examination of expressions of religion and spiritual politics on and around the Mexican / US frontier. Topics include the Spanish conquest and expansion north; pre-Columbian and Catholic elements in Mexican and Mexican-American religion; folk healing; the ethos of New Mexico; and Chicano ideology and art. Some theoretical attention to boundaries, border crossing, and inner and outer frontiers. (Oral Presentations.) Not open to those who have taken 107. Richard Seager.
210S Intermediate Greek: The World of Greece and the Ancient Mediterranean.
Reading and discussion, with grammar review, of intermediate-level passages from classical, Hellenistic or New Testament Greek selected to illuminate the history, society and culture of Greece and the ancient Mediterranean. Readings from the New Testament and from writers such as Xenophon and Lucian. Prerequisite, knowledge of elementary Greek. (Same as Classics 210.)
211F Readings in World Literature I.
Exploring the space and time continuum from 3,000 B.C. to 1700 A.D, this course will examine narrative, poetry and drama from Europe, the Near and Far East. Beginning with cave drawings and Babylonian myths of creation, we will question the ways that women and men have recorded the story of humankind through relationship with one another and the divine across linguistic, literary, political, and spiritual divides. Special attention to marginality, violence, innovation and damnation in Plato, the Qur’an, Augustine, Ibn ’Arabi, Ibn Hazm, Dante, Rojas, Cervantes and Sor Juana, among others. (Writing-intensive.) (Same as Comparative Literature 211.) Maximum enrollment, 20. A Peck Mescall.
215F Religion in Film.
Study of the religious in film. Focus on the relationship between myth-making in film and post-modern culture. (Same as American Studies 215.) Humphries-Brooks.
The Word and the Spirit.
Poetry in translation from China, Japan, India, and Persia. What are the essential spiritual problems that humans face and what answers to them do these poets discover? What can we learn about the Sacred from these ancient and medieval writers? (Same as CompLit 218.) (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, One course in Religious Studies or Comparative Literature. Maximum enrollment, 20.
Buddhist Worlds in the USA.
Introduction to the Buddhist religion with primary focus on different forms of Buddhism in U.S. history and on the contemporary scene. Attention to Buddhist spirituality in both the Euro-American and Asian immigrant communities.
Study of Milton’s English poetry and major prose, with particular attention to Paradise Lost. Topics for consideration include Milton’s ideas on Christian heroism, individual conscience, the relations between the sexes and the purpose of education (1660-1900). Not open to those who have taken English 228 or to first-year students. (Same as English and Creative Writing 226.) Thickstun.
From Different to Monstrous: Muslim (and Christian) Subversions and Coercions.
The Iberian Peninsula (now home to Spain and Portugal) was the site of over 700 years of medieval Jewish, Muslim and Christian exchanges. A look into this textual space of Iberian difference after it was officially labeled as dark, evil and monstrous by the Renaissance Catholic Church State. A consideration of marginal Muslim writers like Ibrahim de Bolfad, Muhammad Rabadan and al-Wahrani exposes so-called proponents of Catholic orthodoxy like Don Quijote de la Mancha — not as enemies, but as fellow skeptics of the Monarchy’s attempts to extinguish difference. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one course in literature. (Same as Comparative Literature 228.) Maximum enrollment, 20.
Rabbis, Mystics, and Philosophers.
Exploration of Jewish life and of Jewish philosophical, religious and political thought. (Oral Presentations.) Prerequisite, for 431, at least two courses in religious studies or philosophy. No prerequisites for 231. Maximum enrollment, 12.
234F Sacred Journeys.
What is pilgrimage? Why do people go on pilgrimages? We begin to answer these questions by exploring pilgrimage traditions from across the globe to see religions, not as static, but as dynamic, living, and in motion. In attending to movement--crawling, walking, dancing, riding, driving, or flying--we investigate how traveling across sacred landscapes connects pilgrims with the places they travel through as well as those who have gone before them. Topics may include methods and theories in pilgrimage studies from North and South America, Europe, and Asia. Seth Schermerhorn.
Sensual Religion: Seeing Gods, Hearing Drums, Touching Stones, Dancing Bodies.
Playing drums, performing stories, touching stones, creating wildly colorful altars, dancing, eating and drinking special substances, are all basic religious activities. Religions are deeply, stubbornly physical and sensual. This class aims to re-imagine approaches to religion by grounding them in physical encounters between human bodies and sensual objects. Examples will range across Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, and Jewish rituals and symbols, and readings will cross from art history to cultural anthropology to cognitive science, as well as religious studies. (Writing-intensive.) (Oral Presentations.) Maximum enrollment, 20.
239S Native Rituals and Religious Freedom.
Is American religious freedom a reality, an unfinished project, or merely a myth? This course explores how Native Americans have struggled for religious freedom in the United States, focusing on contemporary legal battles to protect sacred lands, repatriate ancestral remains and objects, and defend the ceremonial consumption of peyote. (Writing-intensive.) (Same as American Studies 239 and Government 239.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Seth Schermerhorn.
240F Classical Mythology.
An introduction to ancient mythology through readings from sources such as Gilgamesh, Egyptian mythology, Homer, Hesiod, Greek tragedy, Herodotus, Livy, Ovid and contemporary mythmakers. Origins, creation myths, divinities and heroes, and mystery religions. (Same as Classics 240.) Feltovich.
The Rise and Fall of David.
A literary reading of the biblical Book of Samuel as historical and political fiction. Comparison with other great works of literature on political themes. (Writing-intensive.) (Oral Presentations.) (Proseminar.) Maximum enrollment, 16.
Conflict and Coexistence in South Asia.
This course examines interaction, competition, conflicts and dialogues between Hinduism and Islam to study the process through which these traditions shaped the socio-religious and political landscape of South Asia. Themes include the emergence of new syncretic traditions, practices and rituals, kingship, conversion, communal conflict and riots, and modernity. The course problematizes understanding of these themes by combining secondary literature with primary (literary, epigraphic, and archaeological) sources and adopts an integrative approach. (Same as History 244.)
Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic Arts of India.
An introduction to Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic traditions of art and architecture in India, as well as the art and architecture of the colonial and post-colonial periods. (Same as Art History 245.)
246S Art and the Spiritual in America.
An examination of American art, particularly in the 19th and early 20th centuries, as an expression of the American quest for spiritual life and truth. Each student will research one particular artist from the period. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, One course in Religious Studies, American Studies, or Art History. Maximum enrollment, 20. Jay Williams.
Death, Dying and the Afterlife.
How does religion make sense of death? Can we conceptualize death? How has death been understood from cultural, social, philosophical and medical perspectives? Along with these questions, this course will examine the variety of ways in which Indian religions approach death, dying, and death related issues. The course will primarily look at historical attitudes toward death, disposal of the dead/rituals, memorialization and remembrance through a study of religious literature and archaeological materials. (Writing-intensive.) Not open to those who have taken RelSt 119 or 326 (Same as History 248.) Maximum enrollment, 20.
Jesus in the East: The Spiritual Traditions of the Byzantine and Russian Orthodox Churches.
An examination of the Byzantine Christian tradition, with focus on the practices of the Russian Church. Topics include sources of Eastern Orthodoxy, Patristics, the Ecumenical Councils, the Liturgy, the “Great Schism” and cult of the saints. Particular attention paid to Orthodox iconography and church architecture. No knowledge of Russian required. (Same as Russian Studies 255.)
256F Islam and Modernity in South Asia.
This course develops a nuanced understanding of Islam and its role in shaping socio-religious and political landscape of modern and pre-modern South Asia. Questioning misconceptions of Islam, it examines its mideast origins, Qura'n, theology, law, religious practices, Shi'i and Sufi traditions, expansion in South Asia, colonialism, and modernity. Readings include secondary, literary, architectural and archaeological sources. Not open to students who have taken RELST 213: Islam and Modernity in South Asia (Same as History 256.) Abhishek Amar.
257S The New Testament.
A critical introduction to the literature and history of New Testament Christianity. (Writing-intensive.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Humphries-Brooks.
260/460F,S The Self Beyond Itself: Ethics, Science, and Religion.
Close reading of Spinoza's great work, The Ethics. Attention to its original seventeenth century context, the many philosophical influences upon Spinoza including the Islamic and Jewish philosophical traditions, and also the recent re-discovery of Spinoza by contemporary neuroscientists. (Proseminar.) Maximum enrollment, 16. H Ravven.
260/460F The Self Beyond Itself.
The Self Beyond Itself: Ethics, Science, and Religion. Multidisciplinary Study of why and when people are ethical --and why and when they are not. Review of contemporary research of neuroscientists on the moral capacity. (Proseminar.) Maximum enrollment, 16. H Ravven. (Writing-intensive.) (Oral Presentations.) (Proseminar.) Maximum enrollment, 16.
281S Philosophy as Spiritual Quest.
Exploration of the spiritual power attributed to philosophy by religious philosophers from classical Greece to modern times through readings from Greek, Jewish, Islamic and/or Christian philosophical works. (Writing-intensive.) (Oral Presentations.) Prerequisite, One course in philosophy and/or religious studies. (Same as Philosophy 281.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Ravven.
284S From Harlot to Saint: Muslim Women, Christian Women and Other Women.
How are women portrayed in Premodern texts? Did women speak through these texts or were they spoken for? Examines these questions and others as we explore Christian and Muslim textual representations of woman, her relationships with men and society, her spirituality and particularly her corporality from 11th- 17th centuries. From harlot to saint, from poetess to mystic and enlightened one, we will examine her textual roles as a reflection of her cultural roles in Al-Jahiz, Ibn Hazam, As-Sulamii, Nafzawii, Alfonso X, Cervantes, Calderón, Santa Teresa, Zayas and Sor Juana. (Same as Comparative Literature 284 and Women's Studies 284.) A Peck Mescall.
Sociology of Religion.
Introduces the primary theories and concepts of the sociology of religion. In particular the course will emphasize how sociologists explain the organization and experience of lived religion largely in the context of North America. Topics include secularization and sacralization; the restructuring of American religion; religion and popular culture; gender, sexuality and power; race; ethnicity and immigration; and religion in the public sphere. (Writing-intensive.) (Same as Sociology 288.) Maximum enrollment, 20.
Methods and Theories in the Study of Religion.
Critically examines, through primary readings and case studies, representative methods from the history of the academic study of religion. Special attention to the theories that inform each method. (Writing-intensive.) Preference given to religious studies majors. Maximum enrollment, 20.
291S Imagining Religions.
Scholars imagine, analyze, and interpret religions in a wide variety of ways. This seminar explores phenomena from multiple world religions, drawing upon a range of disciplines including history of religion, textual studies, material and visual culture, anthropology of indigenous peoples, and ethnography. Major themes include sacred space, syncretistic knowledge systems, and the religious politics of globalization. Students will engage in inter-disciplinary interpretative projects in collaboration with faculty of the Religious Studies department. (Proseminar.) Prerequisite, One Religious Studies course or consent. Maximum enrollment, 16. R Seager and A Amar.
Christianity in America, 1600-1890.
Examination of Christianity in America from the era of European settlement to the end of the 19th century. Topics include encounters with Native American religions, revivalism, sectarianism, slavery and antislavery, religion and politics, theological developments, popular beliefs and practices, and the rise of unbelief. (Same as History 297.)
304S Religion and Media.
Investigates the role of various media in shaping religious traditions especially Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Hinduism. Beginning with studies of orality and literacy, we move into the impact of the printing press, then electronic media including Internet and video games. Prerequisite, one course in religious studies or consent of instructor. (Same as Communication 304.) Maximum enrollment, 12. Rodriguez-Plate.
308/408F Seminar: Yoga West and East.
With 15 million practitioners in the US alone, yoga is now a global phenomena. We look at ancient and modern yoga theory and practice and processes by which they have been transmitted to the West in the last two centuries. We consider what it means to be a yogi today with attention to topics such as the Indian origins of yoga, yoga and the body, the place of yoga in western alternative spirituality, and the yoga industry today. Class culminates in individual or small group projects and presentations on a selected aspect of the phenomena. Maximum enrollment, 12. R Seager.
Seminar on Asian Temples in a Virtual World.
Examination of Asian religious practices in ritual, bodily, and spatial contexts. Discussion of textual and visual sources on ritual interactions with gods; use and layout of temples and altars, including offerings, music, dance, representations of deities; meditation and internal alchemy. In addition to reading conventional textual sources, students will be instructed in digital historical methods to collect and analyze materials on the web. Writing assignments include short essays and a final research project of the student's design to be presented with text and images in digital form. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, 100-level History course, course on Asian history or religion, or instructor's consent. (Same as History 309.) Maximum enrollment, 12.
Seminar Religion and Modern Art.
Investigates the ways religious traditions have continued to influence the visual arts into the modern and postmodern periods. Topics range from the theosophical inclinations of Kandinsky and Mondrian to the mystical inclinations of abstract expressionism, from the "blasphemous" images of Ernst and Dix to the meditational video work of Gary Hill and Bill Viola. Media covered include painting, sculpture, video, architecture, and film. Recent exhibitions such as "Negotiating Rapture," "Traces du Sacre" and "The Third Mind" will be discussed. Prerequisite, one course in religious studies or art history. Includes mandatory two-day trip to NYC. (Same as Art History 313.) Maximum enrollment, 12.
Study of pursuits of higher consciousness in social and historical context. Focus on yoga moving from India to the West, secondary attention to Aztec sacrifice, Christian asceticism, and comparable phenomena. Projects consist of individual and collaborative research into a range of media resources for a website about the interpretation of altered states. Prerequisite, two courses in religion or consent of the instructor. Maximum enrollment, 12.
Image, Style and Revolution.
An exploration of image, style, and ideology in the formation of revolutionary consciousness with special attention to the idea of “cosmic race” in modern Mexico. Topics include the use of montage in Sergei Eisenstein’s film Que Viva Mexico, the work of Mexico’s great public muralists, the Aztec image, and utopian views of matriarchal indigenous society. Basic technological training will enable students to produce media projects focused on the interpretation of images in a social and historical context. Prerequisite, two courses in religion or consent of the instructor. Maximum enrollment, 12.
Jesus and the Gospels.
A comprehensive introduction to the four Gospels, with special emphasis on the nature of early Christian views of Jesus. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one course in religious studies. Maximum enrollment, 20.
Careful study of selected Jewish biblical writings (Old Testament) as political fiction with a focus on rebels. Attention to language, characterization and genre. Prerequisite, one course in religious studies or consent of instructor.
Environmentalism as Metaphor: Spirit, Nature and Civilization in Industrial and Post-Industrial America.
The concept of environmentalism in contemporary American religion, scholarship, literature, ecology movements, and utopian and dystopian visions. Reading, research and oral and final written reports. Prerequisite, two courses in religious studies or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 12.
Religion in the United States: Pluralism, Change, Tradition.
A look at the history of the religious life of the United States within Hamilton College's geographic region. From the Onondaga traditions through 19th-century Utopian communities, to present day religious practices of immigrants from Italy, Bosnia, Thailand and elsewhere, this course relies on several site visits to the buildings and lands that various communities have considered sacred. This course has a service learning component (Project SHINE). (Same as American Studies 327.) Maximum enrollment, 12.
This course exposes students to the Hindu texts to develop a sense of their historical development, key Hindu ideas, and the complex and diverse ways of expressing religiosity. The course examines selected written, oral and performed texts of the Hindu tradition in a variety of social, historical and religious contexts. Readings include translations from a variety of Indian literary genres ranging from the Vedas, Upanishads and epics to devotional poetry and modern oral narratives. Art, music, dance, and films related to the texts will supplement the primary sources. (Same as History 355.)
375S Seminar: Religion, Art and Visual Culture.
What do the visual arts tell us about religions in ways that written texts alone cannot? How do religious practices actually train religious people to see? Such questions will begin our examination of various media (including painting, calligraphy, architecture, film, and comics) in conjunction with various religious traditions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism). Prerequisite, One course in either art history or religious studies. Required weekend field trip to New York City. (Same as Art History 375.) Maximum enrollment, 12. Rodriguez-Plate.
394F Topics in American Religious History.
Topic for 2013: “Religious Communal Societies in America, 1620-1950.” Utilizing the valuable holdings of Burke Library’s Communal Societies Collection, this seminar will focus on the various religious communal experiments, especially the Shakers, and their role in American religious history. All students will conduct research in the Communal Societies Collection. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level history course or consent of instructor. (Same as History 394.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Ambrose.
395S The Crusades in History and Literature.
From the twelfth century the Crusades and crusading ideology produced a remarkable body of historiography and literature that provides insight into changing social, cultural, and religious sensibilities in Europe and the Muslim world. This seminar asks students to engage in close reading and analysis of medieval and modern sources reflecting the intellectual, religious, and political questions raised in representing the Crusades and the perceived existential struggle between Christendom and Islam. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, One 200-level history course. (Same as History 395.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Eldevik.
Seminar: History of Gods.
A comparative study of how gods have been conceived and venerated in early Mediterranean and Asian societies, principally Greece, Rome, India, China, Korea and Japan. Students read liturgical texts, hymns and myths to consider the variety of conceptions of gods and the range of ritual forms used to venerate them across the Euro-Asian continent. Draws from theoretical readings to consider such problems as polytheism and monotheism; myth and ritual; sacrifice; ritual performance; shamanism; cult; and devotion. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, consent of instructor or relevant coursework in Asian studies, classics, history or religious studies. (Same as History 396.) Maximum enrollment, 16.
Seminar in The Celluloid Savior.
A seminar on the representation of Jesus in motion pictures. Prerequisite, two courses in religious studies and/or film or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 12.
Seminar in Early Christianity.
Exploration of topics in the routinization of Christianity from sect to religion during its foundational period. Attention to literature, history and the social dynamics of change. Prerequisite, two courses in religious studies or consent of instructor.
421S Raging Gods: Scorsese and Coppola's Religious Films.
The religious in the films of Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola. As American New Wave auteurs they contribute to the emergence of a new sacramental style in American film. We pay attention to the film traditions that inform their development, e.g. Italian neo-realism, horror, film noir and French New Wave. A look at the influence of their Roman-Catholic, Italian-American religious culture. Prerequisite, two courses in religious studies and/or cinema & new media studies or consent of instructor. (Same as American Studies 421.) Maximum enrollment, 12. Humphries-Brooks.
Seminar in Early Christian Mysticism.
Examination of earliest Christian mysticism as religious experience and social movement. Consideration of antecedents and selected later developments. Prerequisite, two courses in religious studies or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 12.
Seminar in Sacred Space.
Consideration of historical and contemporary spatial expressions of religion, art, architecture, religion and other cultural forms in the old Spanish borderlands region of northern Mexico and the United States, with particular attention to cross-cultural phenomena. Prerequisite, two courses in religious studies or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 12.
501F,S Honors Program.
A project resulting in a substantial essay supervised by a member of the department. Prerequisite, consent of instructor. Open to qualified students. The Department.
502F,S Honors Program.
Continuation of the honors project resulting in a substantial essay supervised by a member of the department. Prerequisite, consent of instructor. Open to qualified students. The Department.