Spring 2021 Courses

REL 102. Violence and Religious Ethics. 3 hours.

This course will examine the connection between violence and religion from an ethical perspective. It will focus primarily on Jewish, Christian and Muslim ethical theories, which will be compared and applied to specific cases. We will also consider the ethical justifications for inter-religious conflict and the impact violence has had on targeted religious communities. The course will begin with an interrogation of the meaning of religion, ethics and religious violence—exploring questions like: Are religions inherently violent? Are theories derived from religious ethics used to justify violence? How are acts of violence morally justified? We will then consider these questions in more depth by comparing ethical theories within Judaism, Christianity and Islam, such as just war theory and jihad theory, to see whether religions encourage or seek to curb violence. In addition, each moral theory will be studied in light of specific historical or present cases. Case studies include the Crusades, Medieval Spain, ISIS, white nationalism in America, and recent killings in places of worship. The course will end on a positive note, by examining ethical theories within religions that promote peace, and comparing theories that justify peace with theories that justify war. LEC.

ONLINE. 1/25-3/19.  Instructor: Jacquelene Brinton. GTA: Maryam Abid.


REL 104. Introduction to Religious Studies. 3 hours.

This course introduces students to the academic study of religions. It acquaints students with key methods and issues in religious studies, and provides an introductory survey of selected religions. Not open to students who have taken REL 105. LEC.

ONLINE. 3/22-5/14.  Instructor: Michael Zogry.


REL 106/EALC 105 Asian Religions. 3 hours.

A basic introduction to religion in India, China, and Japan with emphasis upon religions that affect the modern period. Not open to students who have taken REL 108/EALC 108. (Same as EALC 105.) LEC.

ONLINE. 3/22-5/14. Instructor: William Lindsey. GTA: Maryam Abid.


REL/JWSH 107. Jews, Christians, Muslims. 3 hours.

A basic introduction to the major religious traditions of the Near East, Europe, and the Americas, with an emphasis on their development through the modern period and their expressions in contemporary life. Not open to students who have taken JWSH 109 or REL 109. (Same as JWSH 107.) LEC.

ONLINE. 1/25-3/19. Instructor: Molly Zahn. GTA: Ahmad Mustafa.


REL/JWSH 124. Understanding the Bible. 3 hours.

An introduction to the literature of the Bible, exploring the relationships among the various types of literature present and the function of each type in the history and religious life of the people who produced and used them. Cannot be taken concurrently with REL 311 or JWSH 321 or REL 315. Not open to students who have taken REL 125 or JWSH 125. (Same as JWSH 124.) LEC.

ONLINE. 3/22-5/14. Instructor: Molly Zahn. GTA: Ahmad Mustafa. 


REL 171/AMS 290. Religion in American Society. 3 hours.

A broad introduction to religion in American culture. This class emphasizes the well-established religions with large followings (viz. Judaism, Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism). Some attention is also given to other religions active in America. Other topics covered include the relationship of church and state, religion in ethnic and racial minority groups, and women and religion. Not open to students who have taken REL 172. (Same as AMS 290.) LEC.

ONLINE. 2/1-5/14. Instructor: Rachel Schwaller. GTA: Dev Mahaffey. 


REL 360/GIST 502. The Buddhist Tradition in Asia.

A historical and geographical survey of the Buddhist tradition from its origins in India to modern day developments in the three major regional Buddhist cultures of Southeast Asia, Tibet, and East Asia (China, Korea, and Japan). Prerequisite: Prior coursework in Asian studies or permission of instructor. LEC.

ONLINE. 1/25-3/19. Instructor: Daniel Stevenson.


REL 404/JWSH 300/REL 761. Undergraduate Seminar in Religion/Seminar in Western Religious Thought: Prophets and Profits. 3 hours.

The course will examine what religious traditions have had to say about controversies in economic ethics, focusing on how religious thinkers develop arguments on the basis of methods particular to their traditions. At the same time, it presents these traditions alongside secular approaches to economic ethics. Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism will be considered, as will liberalism, Marxism, feminism, and natural law theory. Topics include economic inequality, wealth accumulation, licit and illicit commerce, slavery, and profit. Attention will also be paid to the methodological challenges of the study of the topic, which necessarily brings together political economy, ethics, economic history, and hermeneutics. Students will work with a diverse array of primary sources, from ancient scriptures to modern thinkers. The ultimate goal will be to understand how it is possible for thinkers within the same religious tradition to take differing stances on economic ethics, while considering themselves wholly grounded in tradition, depending on their relationships to the modern secular approaches we discuss.

ONLINE. 2/1-5/14. TR 1:00-2:15pm. Instructor: Samuel Brody.


REL 404/HIST 316/AMS 316/AAA 316. Undergraduate Seminar in Religion: African American Religious Movements in the US/Ministers and Magicians: Black Religions from Slavery to the Present. 3 hours.

This course examines the history and diversity of African American religious expression from slavery until the present, emphasizing both mainstream and alternative faiths. It covers the religious world views of enslaved Africans, and examines faiths inside and outside of Christianity. Topics may include: independent black churches, magical practices, the Holiness and Pentecostal movements, black Islam, religious fremasonry, and esoteric faiths. The class emphasizes the influence of gender, class, race, migration, and urbanization on black religion. 

ONLINE. 2/1-5/14. Instructor: Rachel Schwaller. GTA: Daniel Chmill. 


REL 404/EALC 431/EALC 590/REL 776. Undergraduate Seminar in Religion/Seminar in Religion and Society in Asia: The Sacred Feminine in Korea & Japan. 3 hours. 

This course focuses on women as activists, thinkers, and practitioners in the shaping of religion in modern Korea and Japan (late 19th-21st centuries). The course covers topics such as women and Christian missions, New Woman movement, temperance, shamanism, and religious feminism, to name a few.

TR 2:30-3:45pm. SMI 208. Instructor: William Lindsey.


REL 490. Capstone Seminar on Theories and Methods. 3 hours.

A capstone course for religious studies majors to survey methods and theories in religious studies. Prerequisite: Religious Studies major or permission of the instructor. LEC.

ONLINE. 2/1-5/14. Instructor: Daniel Stevenson.



Calendar of Events

Religious Studies Success Stories

Interested in the intersection of religion and economics? Check out Dr. Sam Brody's "Prophets and Profits" next Spr… https://t.co/yPP0aRjdPO