Winter 2024 Courses

Welcome! Explore our Winter 2024 offerings below, and click the course title to register in MyPlan.

Western Traditions

5 credits, SSc
MTWTh 11:00 am – 11:50 am
Mika Ahuvia

Learn about the foundational texts, beliefs and history of Judaism, Christianity and Islam to better understand history and current global events.

Religion and World Politics

5 credits, SSc /DIV
TTh 10:00 am – 11:20 am
Tony Gill

Explores the intersection of religion and politics in various world regions, including the U.S., Europe, Middle East, Latin America, and China. Focuses on the role religious diversity plays in affecting government policy, including how state power structures privilege certain faith traditions and how political actors can be captured by religious interest groups. Includes discussion of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism. Offered: jointly with POL S 307.

Biblical Prophets

RELIG 315 / MELC 305 / MELC 505
3 credits, A&H/SSc 
MW 3:30 pm – 4:50 pm
Kathryn Medill

Explores the Biblical prophets (in translation) within their Near Eastern contexts. Historicity, literary and rhetorical sophistication, and ideological agendas. Seeks to uncover the meaning and distinctiveness of Israelite prophecy within the context of the larger Near East. No knowledge of the Bible required.

Comparative Study of Death

RELIG 320 / ANTH 322
5 credits, SSc 
MW 10:30 am – 12:20 pm
Paula Saravia

Death analyzed from a cross-cultural perspective. Topics include funerary practices, concepts of the soul and afterlife, cultural variations in grief, cemeteries as folk art, and medical and ethical issues in comparative context. American death practices compared to those of other cultures. Offered: jointly with ANTH 322.

Angels: From the Bible to American Spirituality

RELIG 440 / RELIG 502
5 credits, SSc 
MW 1:30 pm – 3:20 pm

Surveys conceptions of angels in foundational texts from the Bible through the Quran and explores the significance of angels in contemporary American spirituality. Though often neglected in the study of religion, angels are integral to the faith and practice of Jews, Christians, and Muslims, transcending religious boundaries in their popularity.

Religion in Comparative Perspective

RELIG 502 / RELIG 440
5 credits
MW 1:30 pm – 3:20 pm

Analysis of selected theme or symbols in relation to several different religious traditions. Topics vary. Prerequisite: admission to the comparative religion MAIS program or permission of instructor.

Colloquium in Comparative Religion

1 credit
M 5:30 pm – 7:20 pm
James 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.

Related courses of interest:

Epic Emotions from Classical Greece to Contemporary India

5 credits, A&H
MW 1:30 pm – 3:20 pm
Heidi Pauwels and Olga Levaniouk

A co-taught upper-level seminar open to all majors. We will be discussing and comparing two major Epic poems, the Iliad on Ancient Greek side and the Mahābhārata on the Indian side, with a focus on emotions. Did you know that, according to one leading specialist on the subject, it takes “more than a life-time” to learn another culture’s emotions? We suspect that sometimes it can take “more than a life-time” to understand other people’s emotions even within one’s culture. The Iliad and the Mahābhārata took many lifetimes to be created and they can tell a lot about emotions, in Antiquity and today. So, we’ll think through emotions as we read parts of these two culturally contrasting and very different but also in some ways similar epics. There are no prerequisites and no previous knowledge of the Iliad or the Mahābhārata is assumed.

Asian Civilizations: Traditions

JSIS A 207
5 credits, A&H/SSc
MW 8:30 am – 10:20 am
Deborah Porter

Interdisciplinary introduction to the civilizations of Asia, particularly those of India, China, Japan, and Korea. Explores the religion, philosophy, literature, art, and social and political thought of these civilizations from ancient times to the 17th century.

Intro to Islamic Cultures and Thoughts

JSIS A 210 / MELC 229
5 credits, A&H/SSc
TTh 12:30 pm – 2:20 pm
Hunter Bandy

Covers major developments in the formative, classical, and modern periods of Islamic cultures and thought from seventh century Arabia to the contemporary Muslim world. Looks at the development of Islamic religious thought and legal practice as well as the Muslim polities, cultures, and intellectual traditions of Asia, Africa, Europe, and America.

Studies in Classical Hindi Literature (Braj)

5 credits, A&H/SSc
MW 11:30 am – 1:20 pm
Heidi Pauwels

Introduction to Classical Hindi literature in Braj. Readings of selected prose and poetry by Surdas, Raskhan, Bihari, and others, situated in their socio-historical context and related to popular perception, in contemporary music recordings, theatrical performances, and Bollywood films.

Archaeology of Biblical Israel

MELC 311 / MELC 511
5 credits
TTh 1:30 pm – 3:20 pm
Corinna Nichols

Archaeology of ancient Israel (southern Levant). Covers the know archaeological material and Biblical and other contemporaneous textual sources to explore this topic, covering the archaeological cultures from the Middle Bronze Age to the end of the Babylonian Exile (2000-300 BCE).

Bioethics: Secular and Jewish Perspectives

MELC 328 / JEW ST 339 / B H 339
3 credits, DIV/SSc
MW 12:30 pm – 1:50 pm
Hadar Khazzam-Horovitz

Legal, ethical, scientific, and Jewish religious perspectives on contemporary medical and biomedical research practices. Legal and civil rights of women, people with disabilities, minors and minority or marginalized groups. Key differences between secular and Biblical/Rabbinic approaches in interpretation, analysis and application of bioethics, doctor-patient relationships; reproductive methods; abortion; euthanasia; and stem cell research.

Royal Literature in the Bible and the Ancient Near East: Rebels, Kings, and Wanderers

MELC 351 / MELC 511
3 credits, A&H
MW 10:30 am – 11:50 am
Kathryn Medill

Kingship in the Bible and ancient Near East. Draws on sources from Sumer, Egypt, Babylon, Syria, Haiti, and Israel. Highlights how ideas of kingship changed over time and differed between cultures.

For Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Hebrew, and ancient Semitic language courses (including Biblical Hebrew), view the MELC course schedule. For Hindi, Urdu, Sanskrit and other Asian languages, see the Asian Languages and Literatures course schedule.

See previous RELIG courses here.