RELG 100: CHRISTIANITY AND COLONIALISM
Kristin Bloomer, 4,5C
From its beginnings, Christianity has been concerned with the making of new persons and worlds. It has also maintained a tight relationship to power, empire, and the making of modernity. We will investigate this relationship within the context of colonial projects across the world. We will trace the making of modern selves from Columbus to the abolition (and remainders) of slavery, and from the arrival of Cook in the Sandwich Islands to the journals of missionaries and the contemporary fight for Hawaiian sovereignty.
RELG 100: ART AND RELIGION
Caleb Hendrickson, 5a
For much of recorded history, art and religion were indivisible. In the modern period, art and religion have gone their separate ways. What do Mecca and the MOMA, the Buddha and Basquiat have in common? This course will examine a number of philosophical and cultural confluences between religion and art. We will consider how both religion and art orient us in time, generate symbolic worlds of meaning, channel the power of play, and cultivate aesthetic emotions.
RELG 110: UNDERSTANDING RELIGION
Nechama Juni, 2a
What is the meaning of religion in human life? This class takes an exciting tour through selected themes and puzzles related to diverse expressions of religion around the world in politics and pop culture, to religious philosophies and spiritual practices, to rituals, scriptures, gender, religious authority.
RELG 120: INTRODUCTION TO JUDAISM
Nechama Juni, 4a
What is Judaism? Who are Jewish people? What are Jewish texts, practices, ideas? What ripples have Jewish people, texts, practices, and ideas caused beyond their sphere? These questions will animate our study as we touch on specific points in over three millennia of history. We will immerse ourselves in Jewish texts, historic events, and cultural moments, trying to understand them on their own terms. At the same time, we will analyze them using key concepts such as ‘tradition,’ ‘culture,’ ‘power,’ and ‘diaspora.’ We will explore how ‘Jewishness’ has been constructed by different stakeholders, each claiming the authority to define it.
RELG 153: INTRODUCTION TO BUDDHISM
Asuka Sango 4,5c
This course offers a survey of Buddhism from its inception in India to the present. We first address fundamental Buddhist ideas and practices, then their elaboration in the Mahayana and tantric movements. We also consider the diffusion of Buddhism throughout Asia and to the West. Attention will be given to both continuity and diversity within Buddhism–to its commonalities and transformations in specific historical and cultural settings. We also will address philosophical, social, political, and ethical problems that are debated among Buddhists and scholars of Buddhism today.
RELG 237: YOGA: RELIGION, HISTORY, PRACTICE
Kristin Bloomer, 2,3c
This class will immerse students in the study of yoga from its first textual representations to its current practice around the world. Transnationally, yoga has been unyoked from religion. But the Sanskrit root yuj means to “add,” “join,” or “unite”—and in Indian philosophy and practice it was: a method of devotion; a way to “yoke” the body/mind; a means to unite with Ultimate Reality; a form of concentration and meditation. We will concentrate on texts dating back thousands of years, from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras to the Bhagavad Gita—and popular texts of today. Come prepared by wearing loose clothing.
RELG 270: PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION
Caleb Hendrickson, 3a
A study of classic issues in the philosophy of religion and philosophical theology. Possible topics include: the existence and nature of God; the status and nature of religious experience; the problem of evil; the meaning of faith, belief, and truth; definitions of the self and salvation; and the significance of religious pluralism for claims about truth and God. Readings are drawn from the work of modern and contemporary philosophers and theologians.