Undergraduate Catalog 2018-2019


RELI 4105 Religion and the Body

Religion, arguably the most important element of culture, is often 'practiced," "enacted," or "performed" through physical means. This course will examine the role of the body in a number of traditions and contexts -- from how one dresses or gestures -- to less visible modes such as celibacy or ecstatic trance. The goal of this course is to consider the manifest ways in which the body is employed in religious traditions as well as look at individual traditions and case studies for specific examples of embodied religious practice. The first half of the course will look at broader themes of religion and the body (ritual, sexuality, performance, clothing, so forth). The second half of the course will focus on individual traditions or case studies, and a general introduction to each religion will be presented at the start of those weeks.


RELI 4110 Islam in the Modern World

Islam is the second largest religion in the world, and shares a rich history with the other Abrahamic faiths of the Middle East. Yet, it is frequently exotified or vilified, especially as it comes in conflict with "Western" culture -- despite the numerous contributions Islam has made to civilization, science, and art. This course will provide an introduction to Islam's history, beliefs, and practices, as well as examine the philosophy and literature of the tradition. We will be looking at imperialism, Orientalism, globalization, feminism, mysticism, and modernity as the tradition evolves and spreads into the global religion it is today.


RELI 4115 Liberation Theology

Liberation theology explores the relation between Christian theology and social justice. It is studying theology from the perspective of the oppressed and the disadvantaged. In this course we will look at various recent theologies of liberation: Latin American, Black, Feminist, and Queer.


RELI 4120 Economics of Buddhism

Buddhism has traditionally been viewed by many as the premier example of a "world renouncing" religion because of its monastic vows of voluntary poverty and charity. However, a critical examination of early Buddhist textual and archaeological evidence seems to reveal a much more sympathetic view towards the world of business and finance in ancient South Asia. We assess whether or not a liberal liberation theology has any impact on premodern market liberality. Class


RELI 4405 Comparative Religion

A comparative survey of major world religions through study of their scriptures and basic writings.


RELI 4940 Independent Study

Prior approval of department chairperson is required. Investigation of a topic of special interest, with reports to the instructor.

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