Autumn 2021 Courses

Welcome! Explore our Autumn 2021 offerings below, and click the course title to register in MyPlan.

Intro to Judaism 

5 credits, I&S
TTh 2:30 – 4:20 pm
Noam Pianko

Explores Judaism’s sacred texts, holidays, and beliefs. Addresses Judaism’s impact on society, culture, and politics. Through the lens of the Jewish experience, grapples with fundamental questions about the role of individuals and members of larger communities in an increasingly multicultural, religious, and interconnected world.

Introduction to World Religions: Eastern Traditions

5 credits, I&S /  W (optional)
MW 12:30 – 2:20
David Fowler

History of religions, concentrating on religions that have developed in South Asia and East Asia. Primary attention to Hinduism and Buddhism; other important Asian religions are discussed in relation to them, with emphasis on basic conceptual and symbolic structures. Optional writing (W) credit is available. Please contact instructor for the additional W-requirement.

Religion and Conflict in International Affairs 

JSIS 478/541
5 credits, I&S
W 2:30 – 5:20
James K. Wellman

This course begins with a look at our “pre-understandings.” What do we take for granted? What assumptions do we bring to our work? We are arguing that whether we are religious or secular, our awareness of our identities is a key building block for our goal of understanding others as they understand themselves. This introduces us to the process of cross-cultural religious literacy—with our purpose being what we have come to call covenantal pluralism. Covenantal pluralism adopts a cosmopolitan view of ourselves and the other, recognizing and respecting our own and the other’s ultimate claims, whether religious or secular. We take all of this into our work to explain religious conflict, whether in the ancient origins of Western religions; in our own country’s foreign policy; in the rise of religious nationalism and authoritarianism and the spread of a strong man politics in so many parts of the contemporary world. We end with giving each student a chance to practice this craft of explaining these tensions by taking up a conflict, a region, and a religion. Our goal is to comprehend these dynamics of difference to develop strategies on how to mitigate these conflicts through strategies we study in this course. We do all of this for the sake of a more secure and just international world.

Religion Theorized: Approaches to the Study of Religion

5 credits, I&S / VLPA
M 1:30 – 4:20 pm

Christian Novetzke

Covers the major approaches to modern scholarship in the study of religion, which includes multiple approaches from history, phenomenology, anthropology, sociology, psychology, gender and sexuality studies, Marxism, and political theory. Class discusses which theories are most helpful in describing, understanding and explaining religion, enabling students to prepare their own research. Prerequisite: admission to the comparative religion MAIS program or permission of instructor.

Colloquium in Comparative Religion

1 credit
M 5:30 – 7:50 pm

James K. Wellman

Required colloquium for graduate students in comparative religion program. Introduction to faculty research and to major methods and disciplines in the study of religion.

See previous courses here.