Reed College Catalog

Michael E. Foat

Christianity.

Kambiz GhaneaBassiri

Islam. On leave spring 2022.

Victoria Montrose

Buddhism, Japanese religions.

Kristin Scheible

Buddhism, Hinduism. On leave fall 2021.

Steven M. Wasserstrom

Judaism. On leave fall 2021.

Tobias Benedikt Zürn

Chinese religions.

The academic study of religion is an integral part of the liberal arts. The aims of the curriculum are two: to introduce students to the various religious traditions of the world—Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, for example—and to acquaint students with a variety of recognized methodologies employed in the study of religion—philosophical, social scientific, and historical. The department’s courses serve both to develop in students the capacity for critical assessment of religious thought and action, and to provide an adequate grounding for independent, analytic inquiry into the history of religious traditions.

The curriculum of the department reflects the staff’s commitment to a diversity of approaches in religious studies. Majors in religion are expected to be familiar with this methodological and theoretical spectrum, and to concentrate upon particular approaches in their research.

While the study of religion is an independent academic field, the department encourages the pursuit of interdisciplinary work in philosophy, literature, history, anthropology, sociology, psychology, and other fields.


Requirements for the Major

  1. Two 100-level introductions in different religions.
  2. Religion 201 (theories and methods).
  3. At least four additional units in at least two different religions, three of which must be at the 300 level or above.
  4. Religion 402 (junior seminar).
  5. Religion 470 (senior thesis and religion symposium).
  6. Completion of two units in a foreign language of at least the second-year level or demonstration, by means acceptable to the department, of equivalent proficiency. To satisfy this requirement a student must do one of the following: pass a second-year language course at Reed, pass a second-year language course that has been approved by the department at another accredited college or university, or pass a language placement examination at the second-year or higher level. A number of placement examinations are offered at Reed every year during orientation. Students desiring to meet the language requirement by any means other than second-year coursework at Reed should consult with their adviser in advance. The department recommends students study the sacred or scriptural language of a religion in which they are especially interested.

For students wishing to pursue the standing religion–ancient Mediterranean studies interdisciplinary major, or the standing religion–political science interdisciplinary major, please refer to the requirements in the interdisciplinary section.

Some students may wish to pursue an ad hoc program that is not listed with the regular interdisciplinary majors. Students should inquire with faculty advisers and departments regarding an ad hoc program. 

Requirements for an Ad Hoc Interdisciplinary Major

  1. Two 100-level introductions in different religions.
  2. Religion 201 (theories and methods).
  3. Three other units in religion.
  4. Course requirements as specified by the related discipline.
  5. Completion of two units in a foreign language of at least the second-year level or demonstration, by means acceptable to the department, of equivalent proficiency. To satisfy this requirement a student must do one of the following: pass a second-year language course at Reed, pass a second-year language course that has been approved by the department at another accredited college or university, or pass a language placement examination at the second-year or higher level. A number of placement examinations are offered at Reed every year during orientation. Students desiring to meet the language requirement by any means other than second-year coursework at Reed should consult with their adviser in advance.
  6. Religion 402 (junior seminar).
  7. Religion 470 (senior thesis and religion symposium).

Religion 112 - Introduction to Shinto through Anime

Full course for one semester. This course will introduce students to Japan’s “indigenous” religion by exploring the enchanted universe of Shinto through a popular cultural lens. We will utilize the rich trove of manga and anime as a window into a world full of gods and ghosts that still affects everyday life and politics in Japan. Students will encounter full-length feature movies such as Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, or Onmyoji, anime series such as Spice and Wolf or Mushi-shi, and manga series such as Dream Saga. In so doing, you will playfully learn about the structure and function of temples and their relationship to local communities, the connection between Japan’s political elite and kami worship, miko and bodily possessions, and the complex relationship between Buddhism and Shinto. At the same time, we engage in these popular cultural materials as a means to problematize the modern yet anachronistic construction of Shinto as a “national” religion that is thought to preserve and reflect “authentic” and “essential” aspects of what it means to be Japanese. Conference.

Religion 115 - Introduction to Chinese Religions

Full course for one semester. This course introduces fundamental features of several religious traditions in China. We will focus on the idea of ritual as a transformative tool and observe its manifold manifestations in three religious communities: Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism. We will encounter such diverse practices as ritualized self-immolation, moral self-cultivation, and biospiritual self-cultivation. These techniques are all linked to the idea that a ritual performance may trigger a transformative process in practitioners and/or their surroundings. In our case, they transform practitioners into an enlightened being (Buddhism), into a sage ruler that may magically attract people from near and far (Confucianism), and into a powerful catalyzer that exudes the nourishing and ordering powers of the cosmos (Daoism). While this course is a general introduction to Chinese religions, it is also a course in critical thinking. Drawing upon examples from premodern China, we will consider ways people have thought about their worlds and have acted on those thoughts in the world. We will also examine the ways other people (including ourselves) have thought about those people’s ideas and activities. To inspire such moments of reflection, we will regularly engage in experiential and experimental exercises as a means to create moments in which one may personally and sensually relate to some aspects of these religious practices. Hence, we strive to learn from these religious communities’ distinctiveness in this course in order to engage with our own prejudices and convictions, a transformative goal we may only achieve through direct involvement with their practices and ideas. Lecture-conference.

Religion 121 - The Rise and Formation of Islam

Full course for one semester. This course is an introduction to the rise and formation of Islam as a prophetic religious tradition. Focused thematically on revelation, empire, ritual, and tradition, it examines the emergence of Islam in late antiquity and studies the development of Muslim intellectual traditions and sociopolitical institutions through the eleventh century. Lecture-conference.

Religion 123 - Islam in the Modern World

Full course for one semester. This course introduces students to how Muslim institutions and conceptions of authority changed in the modern era in relation to such historical developments as industrialization, scientific progress, European colonialism, the rise of nation-states, and feminism. Readings include literary works and autobiographies of Muslims from different cultural backgrounds as well as ethnographies and historical studies of social groups and institutions. Conference.

Not offered 2021–22.

Religion 131 - Introduction to Hinduism

Full course for one semester. This conference will explore the foundations and developments of the South Asian religion called Hinduism. Our sources draw from the vast corpus of mythic and epic literature: cosmogonic Vedas, philosophically speculative Upanishads, duty-focused (dharma) epics, and later devotional (bhakti) poetry. Through primary sources as well as ethnographic accounts of diverse lived traditions we will familiarize ourselves with several gods, goddesses, heroes, ideas, and practices that persist throughout South Asian history. Conference.

Not offered 2021–22.

Religion 132 - Introduction to South Asian Buddhism

Full course for one semester. This course is designed to explore the foundational “three jewels” of Buddhism: the Buddha, the dharma (the teaching), and the samgha (the Buddhist community). This survey of Buddhist thought and practice in its Indic context will introduce various philosophical and practical currents that have made an indelible mark on the variety of Buddhisms historically practiced throughout the world. The emic “three jewels” framework will organize our inquiry: special attention will be given to 1) the centrality of the Buddha biography; 2) the canonical teachings, speculative abhidharma literature, philosophical systems of the Mahāyāna, and scholasticism; and 3) the practical impact of the samgha in history, including Buddhist nationalism and activism today. Conference.

Religion 141 - Christianity: The First Seven Centuries

Full course for one semester. The course serves as an introduction to the Christian religion in the ancient world until the rise of Islam. After an introduction to the earliest Christian writings, translated from the Greek, Latin, Coptic, and Syriac, the course traces the development of Christian institutional forms, the religion’s manifold interpretive strategies and theological debates, its ritual practices and associated material cultures, and its expansion from its origin in Roman Iudaea eastward to the greater Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, and China; southward to Egypt and the Horn of Africa; and westward to Europe and North Africa. The course assumes no prior knowledge of the Christian religion and is open to first-year students. Lecture-conference.

Religion 151 - Introduction to Judaism

Full course for one semester. This course is an introduction to the self-definition of Judaism. The course will analyze Judaism’s understanding of itself by examining such central concepts as God, Torah, and Israel. This central self-definition will then be tested by close readings of selected representative texts and investigation of the varieties of Jewish history, as manifested in such phenomena as mysticism, sectarianism, and messianism. Lecture-conference.

Religion 201 - Theories and Methods in the Study of Religion

Full course for one semester. An introduction to various interpretive frameworks and methodological issues that inform religion as a critical, reflexive, academic discipline. Texts pertaining to the definition and scope of the inquiry and methods of investigation will be critically engaged and their applicability tested with an eye toward their utility for understanding religion and religious phenomena. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 and at least one 100-level course in religion. Lecture-conference.

Religion 226 - Islam in America

Full course for one semester. This course will examine the history of Islam in America from the colonial period to the aftermath of 9/11. Through examination of select primary sources, the course will contextualize the phenomenon of American Islam at the intersection of both American religious history and modern Islamic history. It will inquire into how the history of American Islam could enrich conventional understandings of religious pluralism in the United States and the relationship between Islam and modernity. Topics to be discussed include the relationship between race, ethnicity, and religion in the United States; the influence of comparative theology and religious studies on American conceptions of religious diversity; the relationship between missions, colonialism, and industrialization in the late nineteenth century; the role of Islam in the civil rights movement in the United States and in nationalist movements in Muslim-majority societies; and the rise of militant Islam as a matter of global concern. Prerequisite: Humanities 110, sophomore standing, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Religion 227 - Erasure and Location of Muslims in “Western” Humanities I

Full course for one semester. This is the first of a two-semester sequential course. Enrollment in the first semester of the course does not require enrollment in the second. The course locates Muslims within the context of exchanges and rivalries that have historically and genealogically connected Europe, Africa, and Asia. It asks how the erasure and forgetting of these connections have been central to the construction of Western humanities. The course explores the intellectual and material roots and complexities of the erasure of religious and cultural entanglements in Afro-Eurasia and the making of a racialized and civilizational “Western” humanities as a framing for understanding and explaining the modern era. It further explores the historical presence of Muslims in Europe from the Middle Ages to the early modern era. Prerequisite: Humanities 110, sophomore standing, or consent of the instructor. Conference. 

Not offered 2021–22.

Religion 242 - Christianity: Between the Ancient and the Modern

Full course for one semester. The course serves as an introduction to geographically diffuse and culturally diverse Christian literatures in the period and to a variety of associated ritual practices, material cultures, and institutional forms. Particular attention will be paid to Christian-Muslim relations, the flourishing of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the evangelization of northern and eastern European peoples, and the emergence of the practice of vernacular preaching and theological writing in Western Europe. The course is open to first-year students. Prerequisite: Religion 141. Lecture-conference.

Not offered 2021–22.

Religion 311 - Death and the Afterlife in East Asian Religions

Full course for one semester. In this conference, we will learn about spectacular heavens, grotesque hells, elaborate Buddhist burial rites, Confucian ancestor devotion, and the secret to Daoist immorality. Death and the afterlife are instructive lenses for understanding what cultures value most and how they see the world. We will draw from visual and material culture, religious texts, and rituals to explore how cultures in East Asia deal with issues of dying, death, the afterlife, and memorialization. Though some attention is paid to the differences between Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism, this course is organized thematically in order to highlight resonances and shared understandings within the three traditions. The six themes of the course are: (1) Humanity’s Place in the Cosmos, (2) Karma, Merit, and Rebirth, (3) Deathbed Rituals and “Good Death,” (4) Heavens, Immortality, and Buddha Lands, (5) Hells and Gender, and (6) Ancestor Devotion. Prerequisites: Religion 112, 115, 116, 131, 132, 201; or Humanities 231, or 232; or with consent of the instructor. Conference.

Religion 312 - The Body in Daoism

Full course for one semester. The body! There is probably no other phenomenon in the world that is as directly experienceable and tangible as our own physique, yet at the same time disconcerts and remains opaque to us due to its oftentimes unforeseeable and hardly controllable responses. In this course, we won’t try to conclusively solve the question about what the corpus truly is. Instead, we will use the diversity of responses the body has triggered throughout human history and engage in conceptualizations of sex, body, and gender that are quite distinct to our modern-day perceptions. In particular, we will explore early and medieval Daoist visions of the corpus as a micro replica of the cosmos and its effect on various practices such as inner alchemy, techniques of the bedchamber, Chinese medicine, and mountain-and-water paintings. We will use these perspectives as an opportunity to question our own understandings that are mainly influenced by a dichotomy between the body and soul/mind as developed in a Euro-Christian context and its materialization in the modern disciplines of medicine and psychology. We will delve into Daoist conceptualizations of sex, body, and gender in order to understand the emphasis and some of the limitations of our own preconceived notions that are far from being universal or exhaustive, yet heavily determine our actions. For students with background in classical Chinese, this course offers opportunities to read original texts in extra sessions. Prerequisite: Religion 115 or 116, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2021–22.

Religion 314 - The Zhuangzi, A Daoist Classic

Full course for one semester. The Daoist classic Zhuangzi, a collection of sayings and short anecdotes attributed to the mysterious Master Zhuang Zhou (trad. 369–286 BCE), has deeply influenced cultural life in East Asia. Considered to be one of the most important texts in Chinese religious and cultural history, it triggered a wide range of discourses on the nature of the universe and good living while informing diverse practices such as calligraphy, landscape painting, poetry, drama, Daoist ritual, Zen Buddhism, sitting meditation, and politics. In this course, we engage in both the Daoist classic’s multifaceted content and its diverse reception over the last two millennia. In the first half, we read the Zhuangzi as a primary source, focusing on its short philosophical vignettes on the possibility and limits of knowledge and language, its humorous anecdotes that celebrate deformed and useless bodies, and its youthful invectives against Confucians, as well as its powerful calls to live a creative and independent life as a recluse. In the second half, we will encounter concrete responses to the Zhuangzi in the form of commentaries, paintings, plays, ritual manuals, performances, and comic books that exemplify the scripture’s far-ranging cultural impact. This course provides both a focused and multifaceted avenue to the cultural history of East Asia and a personal experience of the life-changing appeal and topicality of the text. For students with background in classical Chinese, this course offers opportunities to read original texts in an extra session. Prerequisite: Religion 115 or 116, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Religion 321 - Islamic Thought in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

Full course for one semester. A chronological survey of Islamic thought during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Focusing on conceptions of God and of the ideal human relationship with God in selected Muslim religious and political writings, the course will analyze the interrelation between sociohistorical and theological developments in the Islamic tradition during this period. The geographical focus of the course will be primarily on the Middle East and South Asia. Among the authors whose theologies we will examine in depth are: Sayyid Ahmad Khan, Muhammad Iqbal, Abu‘l-A‘la Mawdudi, Jamal ad-Din Afghani, Muhammad ‘Abduh, Sayyid Qutb, ‘Ali Shari‘ati, and Ruhallah Khomeini. Prerequisite: Religion 121 or 123, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Political Science 391.

Religion 322 - Semantics of Love in Sufism

Full course for one semester. Sufism broadly refers to a complex of devotional, literary, ethical, theological, and mystical traditions within Islam. More specifically, it refers to the activities associated with institutionalized master-disciple relationships, which define the paths (turuq) through which Muslims have sought experiential knowledge of God. In both the broad and narrow sense of Sufism, love has been a prominent means of Sufi self-representation. In this course we will explore the ideas and practices semantically associated with love in the Sufi tradition and analyze the ways in which these ideas and practices have both shaped and been shaped by individual lives, religious institutions, and sociocultural contexts. Prerequisite: Religion 121 or 123. Conference. 

Not offered 2021–22.

Religion 327 - Erasure and Location of Muslims in “Western” Humanities II

Full course for one semester. This is the second semester of a two-semester sequential course that locates Muslims within the context of exchanges and rivalries that have historically and genealogically connected Europe, Africa, and Asia. It explores the historical entanglements of Muslims with other religious communities in relation to the construction of the idea of “Western civilization” in the modern era. Students will then be asked to work collaboratively to draw on recent advances made in the study of religion as well as in intersectional and decolonial studies and in the study of connected and global histories to develop methodologies and conceptual framings for a global and intercultural articulation of the humanities. Prerequisite: Humanities 110, Religion 227, or consent of the instructor. Conference. 

Not offered 2021–22.

Religion 331 - Lives of the Buddha

Full course for one semester. This course trains attention on the central story at the heart of the Buddhist tradition: the biography of the (historical) Buddha Siddhartha Gautama, as rendered in narrative and material forms. We will explore the role of hagiography, narrative, and epic poetry (kāvya) in creating and sustaining Buddhist thought and practice. Our sources include the first-century Sanskrit Buddhacarita, the fifth-century Pali Jātakanidāna, the twelfth-century Pali Jinalankara, and the twentieth-century Nepal Bhasa Sugata Saurabha, as well as bountiful sculptural examples from Buddhist sites in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. We will ask, What do the variety of retellings and representations reveal about the concerns and aspirations of their respective communities? We will find that the category of “biography” extends beyond the representation of a singular life, in terms of both content (previous lives are included) and form, as biography is the vehicle that conveys Buddhism’s central teachings, the dhamma. Prerequisites: Religion 132 or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Religion 333 - Arousing Faith in Hinduism and Buddhism

Full course for one semester. This course explores the affective domain of religion, training attention on the literary and material cultures that prompt and sustain Hindu and Buddhist devotional practices. An emphasis will be on the close reading of primary sources: stūpas and temples that inspire pilgrimage; the creation, use, and interpretation of devotional images of a vast pantheon of deities, Buddhas, and bodhisattvas; and literature in translation (including canonical Buddhist jātaka tales, Amitāyurbuddhānusmrti Sūtra, and seventeenth-century poet Alagiyavanna Mukaveti; from Hindu sources, the Bhāgavata Purāna, poetry of the sixth- through ninth-century Vaishnava Alvars, Jayadeva’s twelfth-century Gītagovinda, and modern poetry). Prerequisite: Religion 201, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Religion 334 - Gender and Buddhism

Full course for one semester. In this conference, we will consider the ways in which categories such as “woman,” “man,” “ubhatovyanjañaka” (“intersex”), “paṇḍaka,” “feminine,” “masculine,” “gender,” “nun,” and “monk” have been explained and imagined by Buddhist communities through various historical and cultural locations. We will begin with an examination of early Buddhist sources, including depictions of the Buddha as a sexualized “bull of a man,” and the stories surrounding the founding of the nun’s order and the songs of women saints (Pāli Therīgāthā). We will then explore gender(ed) imagery in Mahāyāna sources, with a focus on the gender transformation of the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara in India to Guānyīn in China and Kannon in Japan, as well as the feminine principle envisioned by Tibetan Vajrayāna traditions. Key questions drive our inquiry: how do Buddhists, especially those who have taken vows, understand theoretical and practical tensions inherent in the Buddhist tradition? How do sacred images relate to social realities? Prerequisites: Religion 132 and 201, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2021–22.

Religion 335 - South Asian Religious Nationalisms

Full course for one semester. This conference will explore legends and legitimacy, specifically the use of Hindu and Buddhist theologies and mythologies in the formation and perpetuation of South Asian religious nationalisms. By examining how nationalist discourse invokes and applies historical and theological sources, we will question layers of legitimacy, and explore how and why religious narratives and mythically infused histories are conceived, preserved, explained, and employed. We will focus on ideologies developed around two particular religious sources. The fifth-century Sri Lankan Buddhist chronicle Mahāvaṃsa narrates legitimating stories of three sacralizing visits of the historical Buddha, the paradigmatic authority of the third-century BCE Indian king Aśoka, and the righteous reign of the second-century BCE Sinhalese king Dutthagamini; in the present it has been employed to galvanize Sinhala Buddhist nationalist claims of religious authority. The Indian epic Rāmāyaṇa is at once a theologically complex devotional text, an inspiring guide to pilgrimage and ritual, and source for (personal and communal) identity formation whose power has been effectively harnessed for political ends. Issues to consider include how images operate in augmenting the discourse, the broader context of postcolonial identity formation, and the impact of subaltern studies on historiography and religion. Prerequisites: Religion 131 or 132, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2021–22.

Religion 336 - Buddhist Ethics

Full course for one semester. This conference will consider theoretical structures, patterns of behaviors, and societal norms operative in Buddhist communities of the past and present. East and West. We will begin with shared doctrinal foundations of Buddhist ethics, key elements and values that represent a thread of continuity among Buddhist traditions. Our focus will be on canonical formulations and examples from various genres of Buddhist literature, historical and contemporary accounts of Buddhist behaviors and motivations along thematic lines: Buddhist morality; foundational concepts (such as karma, four noble truths, the practical path or Middle Way); the three marks of existence—namely dis-ease, impermanence, no-self; key practical values; human rights; social ethics; sexuality; gender; abortion and contraception; war, terrorism, and peace; economic ethics; Engaged Buddhism; and animals and the environment. Our goal is to develop a sophisticated lexicon and confidence in our understanding that enables as to delve deeply into primary case examples, literary, documentary, scholarly, or other in nature. We seek to understand the ways Buddhist ethics shape, sustain, and reflect Buddhist worldviews and lives. Prerequisite: Religion 132 or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2021–22.

Religion 341 - Ascesis in the Benedictine and Orthodox Monastic Traditions

Full course for one semester. The course focuses on a complex set of literary, communal, and embodied practices concerned with training and self-regulation, or ascesis, that promises the possibility of self-transformation and an experience of God. With an eye toward understanding contemporary Benedictine and Orthodox Christian monastic thought and practice, the literature of ascesis will be explored in a number of contexts: the late ancient Mediterranean; the medieval West and Byzantium; and the United States, Russia, and Greece in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Academic theories of asceticism and works addressing social-historical contexts will provide the basis for critical reflection and sustained comparison. Prerequisite: Humanities 110, and Religion 141 or 201, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Religion 345 - The New Testament

Full course for one semester. Although the works comprising the canonical New Testament represent but a fraction of the extant ancient writings that attest to Christian origins, the task of understanding them has long been a discrete field for students of Christian antiquity. This course serves as an introduction to various modes of critical New Testament study and offers students the opportunity to explore the five major classes of works in the collection: the Epistles of Paul, the synoptic Gospels and Acts of the Apostles, the Deutero-Pauline epistles, the Catholic epistles, and the Johannine literature. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 and Religion 141 or 201, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2021–22.

Religion 348 - Works of Mercy in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Christian Traditions

Full course for one semester. This course focuses on historically important examples of Christian literature that are concerned with alleviating human suffering caused by poverty, disability, and various forms of social exclusion. With an eye toward an understanding of contemporary Roman Catholic and Eastern Christian thought and practice concerning works of mercy, contemporary scholarship addressing social-historical contexts and theoretical concerns will provide the basis for critical reflection and sustained comparison. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 and Religion 141 or 201, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Religion 349 - Christian Mysticism: Foundations

Full course for one semester. This course provides an introduction to foundational texts in the Christian mystical tradition that is centered on the thought of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite. The course situates Pseudo-Dionysius within the social-historical environment and the main intellectual currents and contemplative practices of the premodern Mediterranean world. Prerequisites: Humanities 110 and Religion 141 or 201, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2021–22.

Religion 362 - Religion and Media

Full course for one semester. This course addresses contemporary theories that attempt to explain the current intersections of religion and media. The primary focus will be on media theory which is arguably the most dynamic new approach in Religious Studies. Such theorists as Niklas Luhmann, Friedrich Kittler, and Vilém Flusser have laid the foundations for media theory today, following on the limited advances of such pioneers as Marshall McLuhan. Cybernetics, cognitive science, and systems science are each now contributing to the third stage in the development of a media theory of religion. The first half of the semester will be devoted to the foundational media theories of Marshall McLuhan, Niklas Luhmann, Friedrich Kittler, and Vilém Flusser. In the second half, we will look at case studies in religious evolution in the present age of rebelief. The operating assumption will be that the phenomena of so-called globalization and so-called fundamentalism are both functions of a primary media process, namely digitalization. Case studies to pursue will include artificial intelligence, transhumanism, the merging of communications and technology, the history of technology as religious evolution, and the history of communications as religious evolution. Prerequisite: Religion 201. Conference.

Not offered 2021–22.

Religion 365 - Understanding Religion

Full course for one semester. This course provides students with an opportunity to consider religion from a variety of perspectives employed in the contemporary study of religion. Evidence for religion and religions will be examined from multiple traditions, geographical locations, and historical periods, but the course is not intended to be a survey of “world religions” or a historical overview of classic books in the academic study of religion. Instead, exemplary humanistic and social scientific approaches to the study of religion will provide a basis for empathetically exploring religious self-understandings while critically examining them within larger social, political, cultural, and epistemological contexts. Prerequisite: Humanities 110. Conference.

Not offered 2021–22.

Religion 381 - Special Topics in Islamic Studies

Full course for one semester. This course is a research seminar devoted to the investigation of a particular topic in the contemporary study of Islam. Prerequisite: Religion 121 or 123 and Religion 201 or consent of the instructor. Conference. May be repeated for credit.

Not offered 2021–22.

Religion 382 - Special Topics in Jewish History: Moses in Abrahamic Religions

Full course for one semester. This course is a research seminar devoted to the investigation of a particular topic in Jewish history. In 2021–22, the course surveys representations of Moses across the history of the Abrahamic religions. The course will look at Moses in Jewish biblical and postbiblical traditions, Christian representations, Islamic representation, and contemporary philosophical, psychological, and religious representations (Freud, Assmann, Blumenberg). Prerequisite: Religion 201 or consent of the instructor. Conference. May be repeated for credit.

Religion 402 - The Junior Seminar in Religion

Full course for one semester. This course offers intensive study of a particular topic, drawing on various methodologies in the study of religion. While the course is intended to prepare department majors for the senior program, it is open to all qualified students. Prerequisite: junior standing, Religion 201, and three additional courses in religion, or departmental permission. Conference.

Religion 470 - Thesis and Religion Symposium

Two unit yearlong course; one unit per semester.

Religion 481 - Individual Work in Special Fields

One-half or full course for one semester. Prerequisite: approval of instructor and division.