R S 302 • History Of Religions Of Asia
• Freiberger, Oliver
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am UTC 3.134
(also listed as ANS 301R, CTI 310)
This course offers a survey of the major religious traditions of Asia (Hinduism, Buddhism in South and East Asia, Confucianism, Daoism, and Shinto). It focuses on the historical development of their beliefs, practices, rituals, and customs in social context. The course will combine lectures with class discussions on readings.
- Willard G. Oxtoby, Roy C. Amore, eds. World Religions: Eastern Traditions. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.
- R. K. Narayan, The Mahabharata: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2000.
- Zhuangzi: Basic Writings, translated by Burton Watson. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003.
- Readings provided as PDF files on CANVAS
Two quizzes: 20% (10% each)
Two short essays: 20% (10% each)
Midterm exam: 20%
Final exam: 20%
R S 304 • Judaism, Christianity, Islam
• Newman, Martha G.
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am CLA 0.112
(also listed as CTI 304, HIS 304R, ISL 311, J S 311)
This course explores the principal beliefs and practices of Jews, Christians and Muslims and the historical development of the religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In so doing, it will fulfill the Cultural Diversity Flag by increasing your familiarity with the beliefs and practices of different cultural groups in the United States. At the same time, it will provide an introduction to the field of religious studies by exposing you to some of the interdisciplinary methods used to understand religion as a central component of human culture. These will include historical methods, the study of ritual, and the analysis of ideas. Finally, this class has an ethics component that will encourage your reflection about the ways you speak about religion, and the implicit definitions you use, and the implications of these choices for real-life situations.
John Corrigan, Frederick Denny, Carlos Eire, Martin Jaffe, Jews, Christians, Muslims: A Comparative Introduction to Monotheistic Religions (Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, Second Edition, 2012)I>clicker+ (this is an electronic device, not a book. If you already have an i>clicker – any model – you do not need to purchase another; check to see if you need new batteries. This syllabus has the pages numbers for the Second Edition. I will post on Blackboard a syllabus with the page numbers for the First Edition. Noted readings can be found on the Blackboard site. Materials will be placed in folders under “Course Documents.”Strongly Recommended:The HarperCollins Study Bible, ed. Wayne Meeks (New Revised Standard Version, also known as NRSV)The Qur’an. Trans. M. A. S. Abdel Haleem. (Oxford, 2004).You do not need to by a Bible or a Qur’an if you already own one. Be aware, however, that translations differ, and we will occasionally discuss the implications of this. On-line resources:The NSRV is also available on line at: http://www.devotions.net/bible/00bible.htm .If you are interested in comparing translations of the (Christian) Bible, see http://ntgateway.com/multibib/bible.htm. For an English (JPS) translation of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), see http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Bible/jpstoc.htmlFor the Qur’an on line see: http://www.hti.umich.edu/k/koran/browse.html M.H. Shakir, trans. (Tahrike Tarsile Qu’ran, 1983),; to compare translations, see http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/quran/All websites on this syllabus can be found as “hot links” on Blackboard, in a folder under “Course Documents.”
•Class participation: 10% = 100 pts. You will receive 1 point for every i>clicker question you answer. There will be approximately 110 questions over the course of the semester). You will get 10 free points to compensate for lost i>clickers, sick dogs, broken cars, and other unforeseen disasters. No excuses or makeups except for documented absences. •In-class i>clicker quizzes 10% = 100 pts. Expect one question a day, starting Jan 23. There will be at least 35 questions @3pts per question. Again, you will receive at least 5 extra points. No excuses or makeups except for documented absences. •Intellectual journal 20% = 200 pts Graded as acceptable or unacceptable; you get 9 pts per acceptable entry for a total of 20 entries. 20 pts reserved for quality. See below for further information. Due weekly.•Midterm essay 20% = 200 pts Due March 25.•Ritual observation assignment 20% = 200 pts Due April 15•Final Exam 20% = 200 pts. TBA once the exam schedule is posted.
R S 310 • Intro To The Study Of Religion
• Seales, Chad
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm ECJ 1.204
This course offers a thematic introduction to the study of religion by focusing on narrative, ritual, and artifact at Christian, Buddhist, and Muslim pilgrimage sites. Using one Latino Catholic pilgrimage site in New Mexico to orient our opening discussion, the course begins by thinking about the meaning of key terms— including religion, shrine, and pilgrimage. To get our bearings and map the field, we consider some leading theories of pilgrimage and influential ways of studying it. Then we turn to Japan and analyze one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites there. We next shift our focus to Islam and Mecca, including Malcolm X’s account of his journey to the holiest Muslim site. Finally, we focus on a Christian site, a Cuban American shrine in Miami dedicated to Our Lady of Charity. The course meets the criteria for the Cultural Diversity in the U.S. flag because a bit more than one third of the course deals with an underrepresented cultural group in the U.S.—Latinos. It also meets the standard for the Global Cultures flag because more than half, and almost two thirds, of the course material deals with cultures of non-U.S. communities—Buddhists in Japan and Muslims in the Middle East.
Michael Wolfe, ed., One Thousand Roads to Mecca (Grove Press, 1997);
homas A. Tweed, Our Lady of the Exile: Diasporic Religion at a Cuban Catholic Shrine in Miami (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997)
Ian Reader, Making Pilgrimages: Meaning and Practice in Shikoku (University of Hawaii Press, 2006).
1) Intellectual Journal (20%)- a journal of up to 20 entries that includes analysis of the assigned readings on Latino Catholics, Japanese Buddhists, and Middle Eastern Muslims; 2) Midterm Exam I and Midterm Exam II (25% each): One exam focuses on Latinos in the U.S. The other exam focuses on Muslims in the Middle East; 3) Cummulative Final Exam (25%): About half of the final exam focuses on Buddhists in Japan and the rest concerns material from throughout the course; 4) Class Participation (5%)
R S 313 • Intro To The Hebrew Bible
• Pat-El, Na'ama
Meets MWF 900am-1000am WAG 201
(also listed as CTI 310, J S 311, MES 310)
This class aims to introduce students to the modern study of the Hebrew Bible. The class will focus on the study of the Bible's history and literature and will explore the main methodologies used in its study. The final goal is to equip students for more advanced classes and research on the Hebrew Bible.
English Bible. The New Oxford Annotated Bible: New Revised Standard Version With the Apocrypha, Oxford University Press. OR: HarperCollins Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version, Harper One. Textbook:Coogan, M. D. (2011). The Old Testament: A Historical and Literary Introduction to the Hebrew Bible. 2nd Edition. New York, Oxford University Press.
25% Class attendance, participation and preparation
25% Final exam
R S 313N • Jewish Civ: 1492 To Present
• Bodian, Miriam
Meets TTH 930am-1100am GAR 1.126
(also listed as EUS 306, HIS 306N, J S 304N)
This course deals with Jewish civilization in the period from 1492 (the year of the expulsion of the Jews of Spain) to the present. It will give students a grasp of major trends and episodes in Jewish history in this period, including the rise of eastern European Jewry, Hassidism, emancipation, modern antisemitism, nineteenth-century Jewish nationalism, the development of American Jewry, the Holocaust, the establishment of the State of Israel, and the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Eli Barnavi, A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People: From the Time of the Patriarchs to the Present.
Paul Mendes-Flohr and Jehuda Reinharz, eds., The Jew in the Modern World: A Documentary History.
Assignments and grading:
Participation (10%), two quizzes (10%), mid-term (30%), final exam (50%).
R S 316U • History Of Religion In The US
• Graber, Jennifer
Meets MWF 900am-1000am CLA 0.128
(also listed as AMS 315, HIS 317L)
This class explores how religious people and communities in the United States affirm their worldviews, understand the ethical life, engage in ritual acts, and organize their communal relations. It also looks at the way the American social environment has shaped these practitioners and their communities. In particular, this class explores an ongoing tension: the dominance achieved by majority religious groups and the religious diversity that marks the population and is protected by law. We will observe how this particularly American dynamic shapes religious communities. We will explore this tension through a historically organized survey of majority and minority religious groups. We begin with the continent’s original diversity in its hundreds of Native American traditions. We then move to dominant varieties of Protestant Christianity in relation to smaller groups, including colonial-era Jews, upstart Mormons, newly immigrated Catholics, African-American believers, and more recently arrived immigrants who practice Hinduism and Islam. While the class cannot cover the entire history of religion in United States history, it offers students greater historical understanding and tools for analyzing the ongoing dynamics of religious dominance and religious diversity in this country.
Daniel K. Richter, “War and Culture: The Iroquois Experience, ” The William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 4 (Oct., 1983), 528-559.
Jonathan Sarna, “Colonial Beginnings” from American Judaism: A History
James Homer Williams, “An Atlantic Perspective on the Jewish Struggle for Rights and Opportunities in Brazil, New Netherland, and New York,” from The Jews and the Expansion of Europe to the West.
S. Scott Rohrer, “An American Exodus: Mormons and the Westward Trek,” from Wandering Souls: Protestant Migrations in America, 1630-1865
Paul Harvey, “Day of Jubilee: Black Churches from Emancipation to the Era of Jim Crow,” from Through the Storm, Through the Night: A History of African American Christianity
Sylvester Johnson, “The Rise of Black Ethnics: The Ethnic Turn in African American Religions,” from Religion and American Culture, Vol. 20, No. 2 (Summer 2010), 125-163
Vasudha Narayanan, “Hinduism in Pittsburgh: Creating the South Indian ‘Hindu’ Experience in the United States,” from The Life of Hinduism
Susan Slyomovics, “The Muslim World Day Parade and ‘Storefront’ Mosques of New York City,” from Making Muslim Space in North America and Europe
4 short exams (15% each for 60%)
short paper (10%)
mapping assignment (10%)
final short essay (20%)
R S 318 • The Rise Of Christianity
• White, L. Michael
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm SAC 1.402
(also listed as C C 318, CTI 310, J S 311)
An introduction to the origins and development of Christianity from the earliest days of the Jesus sect in first century Judea through the second century, when it emerged as a religion of the Roman empire. The course is designed to acquaint students with the sources, issues, and methods of studying this historical development, primarily as reflected in the New Testament and contemporaneous literature. Special attention will be given to the social, political, and religious backgrounds within the development of early Judaism and in the larger Græco-Roman environment. The study will focus on reconstruction of the religious beliefs, practices, and social organization of the early Christian movements and on critical examination of the New Testament documents in order to place them in their proper historical context. Lectures will be supplemented with archaeological evidence relevant to the historical and cultural setting. In addition to secondary readings in historical backgrounds and critical analysis, the primary sources for the course will be the New Testament writings themselves. Students will be expected to have a good modern translation of the New Testament and preferably the entire Bible with the Apocrypha. The format of the course will be primarily lecture, but it will also encourage discussion.
Bible with Apocrypha (recommended: Harper Collins Study Bible, student edition) L. M. White, From Jesus to Christianity
W.A. Meeks, The Moral World of the First Christians
A.F. Segal, Rebecca's Children: Judaism & Christianity in Roman World
A Reading Packet.
Three quizzes (in class): 20% Each
Final exam: 40%
R S 335 • Jesus In Hist And Tradition
• Landau, Brent
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm JES A215A
(also listed as C C 348)
This course explores the possibilities and pitfalls inherent in reconstructing the life, teachings, self-understanding, and death of the first-century historical individual known as Jesus of Nazareth. We will begin by considering both the gospels as historical sources and the actual processes through which human beings remember past events. We will then trace the history of the scholarly quest for the historical Jesus from the eighteenth century until the present day. After examining the range of opinions that biblical scholars hold about the contours of Jesus’ life and teachings, we will conclude by evaluating two significantly different but highly influential reconstructions of the historical Jesus.
- 10%: class participation and attendance
- 30%: three short response papers
- 25%: midterm examination
- 35%: final examination
L. Michael White, Scripting Jesus: The Gospels in Rewrite
Anthony Le Donne, Historical Jesus: What Can We Know and How Can We Know It?
Catherine Murphy, The Historical Jesus for Dummies
John Dominic Crossan, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography
N.T. Wright, Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters
Jewish Annotated New Testament
Coursepack of additional readings
R S 341 • Muslim Sainthood Practices
• Mohammad, Afsar
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm GAR 2.128
(also listed as ANS 340, ISL 372)
This course aims at introducing various classical, popular and modern Muslim saints in South Asia. We will read the life stories of these saints and focus on their contribution to religions in South Asia. We will try to understand various major concepts communicated and circulated by these saints and their ways of dealing with spiritual aspects. While focusing on their sainthood practices, we also study the nature of the dialogue which addresses the questions such as pluralism, localism and a new paradigm of spirituality that continually interacts with diverse modes of everyday life in South Asia. In order to understand their impact on visual and media cultures, we also watch two documentaries and compare these visual sources with sainthood literature.
1. Bellamy, Carla. The Powerful Ephemeral: Everyday Healing in an Ambiguously Islamic Place, University of California Press, 2011. ISBN-13: 978-0520262812.
2. Renard, John. Friends of God: Islamic Images of Piety, Commitment, and Servanthood, University of California Press. ISBN-13: 978-0520251984
3. Kugle, Scott. Sufis and Saints' Bodies: Mysticism, Corporeality, and Sacred Power in Islam. The University of North Carolina Press ISBN-10: 080783081X
4. Mohammad, Afsar. Following the Pir: Shared Devotion in South India, New York: Oxford University Press.
5. Ernst, Carl. Sufism: An Introduction to the Mystical Tradition of Islam. Shambhala. ISBN-13: 978-1590308844
Weekly responses (500 words) 10%
Book review (800 words) 15%
Midterm paper (2500 words) 15%
Peer-review of the mid-term papers 10%
Final paper (2500 words) 25%
Class presentation: 15 minutes (plus 10 minutes Q&A) 25%
R S 341 • Gandhi And Gandhism
• Minault, Gail
Meets MW 330pm-500pm GAR 0.132
(also listed as ANS 361, HIS 350L)
This course will begin with a biographical account of Mahatma Gandhi, and proceed from there to various interpretations of the man, his life, his philosophy, and his influence. We will look at his role in the Indian nationalist movement, his influence on the course of race relations in South Africa, and his impact on the thought of such leaders as Martin Luther King, Jr. We will also look at such topics as his techniques of non-violent protest, his views on women, and his economic and social impact on modern India.
Requirements for the course include the weekly readings, which will be discussed in class. Each student will also have to give occasional oral reports in class. Such reports will then be written up in 2-3 pp. and submitted one week following the class presentation. There will be a mid-term paper of approximately 8 pp. (a book report), and a final research paper of approximately 15 pp.
Required texts (subject to change):
Judith Brown, Gandhi: Prisoner of Hope
MK Gandhi, Autobiography
R. Mukherjee, Penguin Gandhi Reader
Joan Bondurant, Conquest of Violence
Class participation: 25%
Oral Reports and short papers: 25%
Mid-term paper: 20%
Research paper: 30%
R S 345 • Islamic Spain/N Afr To 1492
• Spellberg, Denise A.
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm WAG 101
(also listed as HIS 375D, ISL 373, MES 343)
This survey course provides an introduction to the Islamic impact on Spain and North Africa. Emphasis will be placed on political, social, and intellectual history. Spain provides a case study for the interactions between Muslims, Christians, and Jews within varied constructs of violence, tolerance, and coexistence. The course includes an emphasis on the diffusion of science and philosophy from Islamic Spain to Western Europe. European ideas about Islam in the medieval period will also be explored.
First exam: 25%Second exam: 25%Third exam: 25%Last exam (in class): 25%
J. Brown, Muhammad: A Very Short History.O. Constable, Medieval Iberia. 1997 edition ONLY. Buy used on Amazon.Maribel Fierro, `Abd al-Rahman III: The First Cordoban Caliph.Ibn Khaldun, ed. and trans. Franz Rosenthal, The Muqaddimah.H. Kennedy, Muslim Spain and Portugal. *All readings on reserve in the Perry-Castaneda Library and all but Constable for purchase at the Co-op.
R S 346 • Debating The Bible In 21st Cen
• Landau, Brent
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am BEN 1.122
(also listed as AMS 327, CTI 375)
This course investigates the ongoing controversy in the United States about the meaning and continued relevance of the Bible. No knowledge of the Bible is assumed, and the course will begin with a short overview of the Bible’s content. Topics to be discussed include: the variety of perspectives within mainstream academic biblical scholarship; debates within evangelical scholarship about what it means for the Bible to be “inerrant”; the creationism-evolution controversy; the use of the Bible in “hot button” social and political issues (gay rights, for example); “End-Times prophecy”; and the movement to have the Bible taught in American public schools, including in Texas.
- 20%: class participation and attendance
- 30%: three short response papers
- 20%: take-home midterm examination
- 30%: take-home final exam
The New Interpreter’s Study Bible
Bart Ehrman, Jesus, Interrupted
Luke Timothy Johnson, The Real Jesus
Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy
Jason Rosenhouse, Among the Creationists: Dispatches from the Anti-Evolutionist Front Line
Dale Martin, Sex and the Single Savior: Gender and Sexuality in Biblical Interpretation
Barbara Rossing, The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation
Coursepack of additional readings
R S 346 • History Of Islam In The US
• Spellberg, Denise A.
Meets W 300pm-600pm GAR 2.112
(also listed as HIS 350R, ISL 372)
This course is intended to do three things: provide a brief introduction to Islam; define the role of Islam and views of Muslims in the early history of this country; and introduce students to major issues concerning contemporary American Muslims. The course surveys the presence of Islam in the United States from the colonial era to the twenty-first century through the use of historical documents and contemporary media.
The course is divided into three sections. The first explores the origins of Islam through primary textual examples. The second section focuses on early American views of Islam in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with an emphasis on the earliest Muslims in the United States. The final section of the course analyzes the diversity of the contemporary American Muslim population. The course is designated as a Writing Flag with a series of assignments designed to improve written communication, including one peer review exercise.
Robert J. Allison, The Crescent Obscured: The United States and the Muslim World, 1776-1815
Kambiz GhaneaBassiri, A History of Islam in America
Jonathan Brown, Muhammad: A Very Short History
John Esposito, What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam, first edition
John Esposito, Islam: The Straight Path, 4th edition
Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad, Jane I. Smith, and Kathleen M. Moore, Muslim Women in America: The Challenge of Islamic Identity Today
Michael Muhammad Knight, Blue-Eyed Devil: A Road Odyssey
Xerox documents in a course packet
All books on sale at the University Co-op and on reserve at PCL
Xerox document packet available at Speedway in Dobie Mall and on reserve at PCL
First Essay 20%
Second Essay 20%
Biography peer-reviewed first draft, 5%
Biography final version 20%
Final Essay 20%
R S 346 • Literature Of Islamophobia
• Shingavi, Snehal
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm PAR 105
(also listed as AAS 320, E 360S, ISL 372)
Instructor: Shingavi, S
Unique #: 36110
Semester: Spring 2014
Cross-lists: AAS 320, ISL 372, R S 346
Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.
Description: This class will consider how fiction from the post-9/11 era (widely called the “Global War on Terror”) has produced a particular vision of Islam and Muslims that both reproduces and challenges the ideology of Islamophobia and refines and critiques prior understandings of Muslims. We will be interested in thinking about the deployment of Islam in political rhetoric; depictions of Islam and Muslims in popular culture; debates about Islam that have entered national life in the US; and novelistic representations of Islam over the last decade. We will be particularly interested in understanding how ideas about religion intersect but do not overlap with ideas about race, and how the question of opportunities for Muslim women has become a contemporary preoccupation.
Texts: Readings will include: Edward Said’s Covering Islam; Junaid Rana’s Terrifying Muslims; Afzal-Khan; Updike; Amis; Hamid.
Requirements & Grading: Midterm exam – 25%; Final exam – 30%; Course blog (250 words weekly) – 15%; Short research essays (4, 2 pages each) – 20%; Participation – 10%.
R S 346 • US Catholic History
• Martínez, Anne M.
Meets TH 330pm-630pm GAR 2.128
(also listed as AMS 321, HIS 365G, MAS 374)
This course examines the experiences of Catholic in the United States, with an emphasis on the twentieth century. We will examine how Catholicism and national identity work for U.S. Catholics, with an emphasis on Catholic women and Latina/os.
75% of grade will be based on writing
25% of grade will be based on attendance and participation
R S 346 • Religion In Amer Pol Thought
• Budziszewski, J.
Meets MW 500pm-630pm MEZ 1.102
(also listed as GOV 335M)
Prerequisites, Flags, and Field
If the course is taken as Gov 335M, enrollment requires six semester hours of lower-division government; it may also be taken as RS 346, but seats in that section are limited. It carries a writing flag and fulfills part of the basic education requirement in writing. Within the Government Department, its field is Political Theory.
Religion in politics is an emotional issue for believers and nonbelievers alike, and there is a great temptation to simply clobber one's neighbor with a slogan like "Separation of church and state" or "In God we trust." The purpose of this course is to help you get beyond the slogans.
We will be studying a large number of sources, mostly primary, mostly short, from the colonial period right up to the present. Typically, we will read the religious arguments on each side of each of the issues we discuss. Some sources discuss issues like whether faith should be enforced or whether revolution is consistent with the law of God. Others discuss issues like the meaning of the Establishment and Free Exercise clauses in the Constitution. Still others discuss particular historical controversies, such as whose side God was on in the Civil War, what God thinks of war in general, or what God requires by way of racial justice. A final set of readings concerns the quarrel between secularism and its critics.
For Unit 1, the requirement is a set of analytical outlines (20%); for Units 2, 3, and 4, the requirement is a 4-page take-home essay (20% each). Fourteen short-answer-format quizzes are administered on scheduled dates (20%). There is no cumulative final examination. Attendance and participation do affect grades.
Unit 1 analytical outlines (uncurved) 20%
Unit 2 essay plus extra credit (uncurved) 20%
Unit 3 essay plus extra credit (uncurved) 20%
Unit 4 essay plus extra credit (uncurved) 20%
Curved quiz average 20%
The required readings will be in a packet available for purchase at the UT Copy Center, McCombs 3.136, phone: 471-8281. You must have a personal copy of the packet, not only for study but also for use in class.
The packet includes 36 short readings by me, Nathaniel Ward, Roger Williams, John Locke, Jonathan Mayhew, Julia Ward Howe, Abraham Lincoln, Pope Benedict XVI, Dorothy Day, Abraham Kuyper, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Jack English, Everett E. Gendler, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Milton R. Konvitz, Joseph Storey, Thomas M. Cooley, the Framers of the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court, Russell Hittinger, Alexis de Tocqueville, Reinhold Niebuhr, Paul Kurtz, and Francis Schaeffer.
An entirely optional reading, Evangelicals in the Public Square (Budziszewski), will be on reserve at the PCL.
Topical outline of the course
Issues in Early America
Religion and civil authority
Resistance to the English
Natural Rights arguments
The Civil War
"God is with the North" (Howe)
"No, North and South are both guilty" (Lincoln)
Issues in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century America
The problem of the all-encroaching state
Catholic social thought
Protestant social thought
War and peace
Just war doctrine
A Jewish view
Civil rights and black power
"The enemy is injustice" (King)
"No, the enemy is white people" (Malcolm X)
The original understanding
Early constitutional thinkers
A roadmap of contemporary jurisprudence
Free Exercise Clause cases
Establishment Clause cases: Neutralism
Hostility to religion?
Secularism and its critics
Influential arguments about democracy, secularism, and Christianity
The "culture wars"
A secular humanist manifesto
An evangelical Protestant manifesto
A Catholic perspective
R S 352 • Japanese Concepts Body/Self
• Traphagan, John W.
Meets TTH 930am-1100am BUR 228
(also listed as ANS 372, ANT 324L)
In this course, we will endeavor to navigate some of the extensive anthropological literature that has been written on Japanese conceptualizations of self and body and explore how these concepts intersect with ideas about religion and morality. The "self" has been one of the central themes in ethnographic writing about Japan since Ruth Benedict's work The Chrysanthemum and the Sword was published in the 1940's. We will consider how Japanese educational approaches contribute to the formation of paritcular forms of behavior; how selves change over the life course; Japanese conceptualizations of the body and person; and how Japanese ideas about self and body are expressed in medical practices. The course is discussion-based and will incorporate films in addition to ethnographic writings. Grading will be based upon five response papers and mid-term take-home and final take-home exams.
Midpterm exam: 20%
Final exam: 30%
Five 2-page response papers: 50%
R S 353 • Mysticism In Rabbinic Judaism
• Schofer, Jonathan
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm CBA 4.346
(also listed as J S 363)
This course examines topics that are arguably at the boundaries of the rational, the natural, and the conscious: Miracles, Magic, Mysticism, Myths, and Dreams. We will focus on texts (in English translation) of Classical Late Ancient Rabbinic Judaism. We will also study works of modern Europe and the United States, including writings by Michel de Certeau, Sigmund Freud, Andre Gorz, and Herman Melville. We will be reading primary sources that reward close and detailed analyses. I will give out handouts and short writing assignments on a regular basis. The payoff for our work will be a glimpse into a radically foreign culture of religious elites – a culture whose thought and practice have shaped the religious life of Jews to the present.
Jack Suggs, et al, eds., The Oxford Study Bible: Revised English Bible with Apocrypha
Primary sources and other readings
First paper (5 pages): 25%
Second paper (5 pages): 25%
Take Home Final Paper, assigned at last lecture of course (10 pages): 50%
Regular attendance, careful preparation of assigned texts, and participation in class discussions are considered to be basic requirements the course
R S 353D • The Dead Sea Scrolls
• Kaplan, Jonathan
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm BUR 220
(also listed as AHC 330, HIS 364G, J S 364, MEL 321, MES 342)
For almost seventy years, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has influenced significantly our understanding of Second Temple Judaism, the formation of the Bible, and the origins of the religious movements of Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism. This course presents an in-depth study of the Dead Sea Scrolls in order to understand better the development of law, interpretation, ritual, messianism, apocalypticism, and prayer in the late Second Temple period. This course will include discussion of the archaeology of the Qumran community, textual production and transmission in antiquity, scribal practices in antiquity, and pseudonymous authorship.
VanderKam, James C. The Dead Sea Scrolls Today. Revised Edition. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010. Vermes, Geza. The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English. London: Penguin, 1998.
Class attendance and participation 10%; Quality of midterm examination 20%; Quality of final examination 30%; Quality of two “5 page papers“ 40%.
R S 357 • The History Of Witchcraft
• Levack, Brian P.
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm WAG 201
(also listed as HIS 343P, WGS 345)
The main purpose of this lecture course is to explain the prosecution of more than 100,000 people, most of them women, for the crime of witchcraft in Europe and colonial America between 1450 and 1750. We shall study the formation and dissemination of both learned and popular witch beliefs from ancient times to the eighteenth century, the development of criminal procedures that facilitated the trial and conviction of accused witches, the religious motives for prosecuting witches during the age of the Reformation, and the social contexts within which accusations of witchcraft arose. The course will conclude with a discussion of the decline and end of witchcraft prosecutions and the revival of witchcraft practices in the twentieth century.
Brian P. Levack, The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe
Daren Oldridge, The Witchcraft Reader
Norman Cohn, Europe’s Inner Demons
Norman Gaskill, Witchfinders
Paul Boyer and Stehen Nissenbaum, Salem Possessed
Assignments: Three exams (25% each) and one final essay or term paper (25%)
R S 357 • Northern Renais Art, 1500-1600
• Smith, Jeffrey Chipps
Meets TTH 930am-1100am DFA 2.204
(also listed as EUS 347)
Art and cultural development in the sixteenth century; artists include D rer, Gr newald, Holbein, and Brueghel.
Test 1: 30% Test 2: 30% Paper 1: 20% Paper 2: 20%
Jeffrey Smith, The Northern Renaissance (London, 2004 with later re-printings) – available at UT Coop. (The readings are listed below as Smith plus page or chapter numbers.) Fine Arts Library Reserve: Among the books placed on reserve for our class is James Snyder (revised by Larry Silver and Henry Luttikhuizen), Northern Renaissance Art (2nd rev. ed., Upper Saddle River, 2005) [N 6370 S6 2005]. This provides useful background on the artists (etc.) discussed in class. On-line reading assignments (= E-R): I have placed readings on the class Blackboard website. Find and click on the appropriate reading for a pdf copy. Remember if the pdf is sideways, you can rotate it with a right click of the mouse. On-line digital image reserve: Our class has a digital image reserve. You have two options for accessing the images. Go to the class Blackboard site’s external links and click on: https://dase.laits.utexas.edu/tag/smithjc1/smith_jeff_northern_renaissance_1500_1600 Or from the UT home page, go to Libraries, next Research Tools and click on databases. Go to D and click on DASE (Digital Archive Services). At the left side of the page, click on Public and Shared Sets. Scroll down and click on Smith, Jeffrey – Northern Renaissance Art 1500-1600.
R S 357 • Satan And The Idea Of Evil
• Lang, Elon
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm PAR 302
(also listed as CTI 345)
Course Description: Since antiquity, writers have attempted to understand and define the idea of evil by giving it a voice. From the perspective of the Devil, some of the world's greatest creative thinkers have sought to challenge the intellectual resolve and rigor of their faiths while encouraging their characters and audiences to query the strength and doctrine of their own beliefs. As a result, through temptation narratives, morality dramas, cultural satires, and Faustian dilemmas, explorations of “the Adversary” have yielded some of the most compelling stories and characters ever imagined. In this course students will become familiar with the history and breadth of Satan’s role as a character (or merely background presence) in literature while developing close-reading techniques for literary analysis that can be applied across diverse eras, forms, and genres. Students will be asked to strengthen their critical reading and writing skills and to consider how our class topic can help illuminate aspects of our present-day culture and its history. Students will also attend a performance of the contemporary play, The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart, by the National Theater of Scotland and participate in a public question and answer session with the actors.
Required readings will be drawn from several periods of English and American literature and European literature in translation. Specifically, texts will include selections from:
Medieval English poetry, drama, and mystical writing
Marlowe's Dr. Faustus
Milton's Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained
William Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Charles Baudelaire's Fleurs du Mal
James Hogg’s Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner
Mark Twain's No. 44—The Mysterious Stranger
C. S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters
Glen Duncan’s I, Lucifer
David Grieg’s The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart
Students' final projects may involve the analysis of another modern novel, the development of a creative exploration of Satan’s nature, or a detailed comparative analysis of themes across several texts in our class.
Assignments and their weights*:
Class-participation, attendance, response papers, and online discussions (20%)
1 long final paper or creative project (20%)
4 short essays plus at least 1 revision (60%)
*Grading Policy: participation assignments and essay drafts are graded on the basis of completion, revision grades replace original grades when applicable, and essays are assigned point values based on their relative weight in the overall course total (e.g. for a short essay worth 15% of the final grade, an “A” essay will receive either 14 or 15 points, a “B” will receive either 12 or 13, etc.). 100 total points are possible for the course.
R S 358 • Gender And Art In Muslim World
• Shirazi, Faegheh
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm CLA 0.104
(also listed as ANS 372, ISL 373, MEL 321, MES 342, WGS 340)
This course is a survey of the development of Islamic art (inclusive of most expressive, and creative art forms) in the Muslim societies from the earliest to the present time with a focus on gender and contemporary artistic issues. Topics will include: gender and gender identities; art patronage, Orientalism, themes of power; and their influential roles in form and express formation, the dominant artistic traditions before and after 1900, the loss of traditional aesthetics due to Western influence, and the re-emergence of calligraphic art as an expression of “Universal Muslim Identity”, and themes of artistic expressions as it is related to current world events (war, occupation of land, and religious resurgence).
The Discussions incorporate analysis of historical, political, social & economical factors that gave rise to aesthetic changes in the regional cultures. Selected biographical data on some of the most influential traditional and modern Muslim artists will be discussed, to provide a basis for the appreciation of the artistic works and the important roles played by the artists in regards to the theme of “Gender”, in both the traditional and the contemporary Muslim societies.
Text: Reader Packets
Requirements: Upper Division Standing
Active Class participation 5%
Short quizzes 20%
Class Presentation 20%
First Exam 25%
Second Exam 25%
R S 365 • Ancient Greek Religion
• Perlman, Paula J
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm WAG 420
(also listed as C C 348)
This course will investigate the practices, premises, and cultural contexts of ancient Greek religion using a variety of ancient sources and modern approaches. Among the topics we will consider are:
- the nature of the evidence
- the Mediterranean context
- continuity and change
- divine poiesis
- sacred space
- religion, philosophy, and science
- personal piety
- prophecy, divination, and dreams
The format will be a combination of lectures, discussion, and student presentations. Grading:
- Daily questions: 10%
- Quizzes: 20% (10% each)
- Presentation: 10%
- Midterm 25%
- Final: 35%
- Kearns, Emily. Ancient Greek Religion. A Sourcebook. Wiley-Blackwell 2010.
- Mikalson, Jon D. Ancient Greek Religion. Blackwell. 2005.
- Price, Simon. Religions of the Ancient Greeks (Key Themes in Ancient History). Oxford. 1999.
R S 368 • Rel/Conq/Conv Col Mexico/Peru
• Deans-Smith, Susan
Meets T 330pm-630pm GAR 0.132
(also listed as HIS 363K, LAS 366)
This seminar focuses on the histories of the Catholic Church and religious devotion in colonial Latin America between 1521 and 1821. We will analyse the Church as an institution imbricated in colonial rule, its physical construction and presence in colonial Latin America, the secular and religious orders (including female religious), religious confraternities of the Spanish, indigenous, and African peoples, and the development of local devotions. Topics to be addressed include the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Spanish monarchy, and how it changed over 300 years of Spanish imperial rule, the early post-conquest work of friars among indigenous communities and their proto-anthropological characteristics, the influences of the Reconquista (the reclaiming of Christian Spain from Islamic rule and the expulsion of the Jewish population) upon the evangelization campaigns of the indigenous populations, and the enduring influences of pre-hispanic religious beliefs upon indigenous Catholic practices. We will also pay special attention to New World devotions that came into being during Spanish colonial rule and the question of how to understand the miraculous, the divine, and the mystical in colonial society. Particular emphasis will be placed on religious art and architecture as primary sources for thinking through and about these issues. Assignments include a combination of weekly informal writing responses, two short analytical essays, analysis of several primary sources, all of which will be used as the basis for a longer final research essay. A reading proficiency in Spanish is preferred but not mandatory.
Inga Clendinnen, Ambivalent Conquests
William B. Taylor, Kenneth Mills, and Sandra Lauderdale-Graham, Colonial Latin America. A Documentary History
William B. Taylor, Marvels and Miracles in Late Colonial Mexico and Shrines & Miraculous Images. Religious Life in Mexico Before the Reforma
Gabriela Ramos, Death and Conversion in the Andes
1. Informal weekly response paper 10%
2. Two short essays 30%
3. Analysis of primary sources 15%
4. Peer Review assignment 5%
5. Draft of research essay 10%
6. Final essay 20%
7. Seminar participation 10%
R S 373 • Sentience, Cultr, & Rlgn: Seti
• Traphagan, John W.
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm GEA 114
Humans have long wondered whether or not we are alone in the universe. Are there other civilizations? If so, how are they similar or different from ours? Or are humans virtually alone in the universe, as has been proposed in the rare Earth hypothesis. This course explores the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) and its relationship to both culture and religion. One central question we will consider is whether SETI is a producet of particular cultural and historical trends that have arisen in the US and that are evident through other cultural contsructs such as Star Trek. Our exploration will consider important key idea such as the Drak Equation and the Incommensurability Problem and will look at meanings and motivations behind issues such as Percival Lowell's quest to prove the existence of canals on Mars and the cevelopment of Scientology. Although to date there is no unequivocal evidence for the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI), contemplation of the scientific search for extraterrestrail intelligence, as well as ETI in the human imagination, provides an opportunity to contemplate humanity and ideas about its place in the universe as well as the ways in which culture shapes our concepts of alien others.
Mid-term take-home exam 30%
Internet research project 30%
Final take-home exam 40%
R S 375S • Relgn, Supernatrl, & Paranorm
• Landau, Brent
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm JES A209A
Practically all religious traditions contain accounts of extraordinary events, typically called miracles. Such events tend to be enormously important for the legitimation of these religions, since they serve to demonstrate why that religion’s view of the world is “true.” And even today, in the technologically advanced twenty-first century, the vast majority of the world’s population believes that miracles do happen. Despite the obvious importance of miracles for many religious people, miracles nevertheless remain understudied by religious studies scholars, in part out of a discomfort with how such logic-defying events can be considered possible under present-day scientific paradigms. Even more neglected by religious studies scholars are those events and experiences of people in the modern world that are termed “paranormal” or “supernatural”: sightings of UFOs, contact with ghosts, people claiming to possess extraordinary physical or mental abilities. The analysis of such phenomena by professional scholars, whether in religious studies or in other fields, has tended to be very meager, in large part due to what some writers have called the “giggle factor” surrounding these events and experiences. This capstone seminar therefore has three central goals in mind: 1) to better understand the range of miraculous phenomena found in religious traditions and the meanings that various religions ascribe to them; 2) to examine from a religious studies perspective some impressive examples of paranormal phenomena in order to see whether they have anything in common with more traditional miracles (put most simply: what is the difference, if any, between seeing an angel or an apparition of the Virgin Mary and seeing a UFO?); 3) to begin to formulate some possible answers to one of the most asked questions about miracles and the paranormal: is this stuff actually real?
- 25%: class participation and attendance
- 25%: five short response papers
- 50%: final paper (including several graded stages in the writing process and an in-class presentation of your topic)
Jeff Kripal, Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred
David Eagleman, Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain
David Weddle, Miracles: Wonder and Meaning in World Religions
Coursepack of additional readings
R S 375S • Intro To Comparatv Religion
• Freiberger, Oliver
Meets W 300pm-600pm PAR 210
(also listed as ANS 340)
This course introduces and discusses major comparative approaches in the study of religion. Note that it is NOT an introduction to world religions but rather an advanced seminar on method and theory of comparison in Religious Studies. - The act of comparison is as old as religion is. Religious individuals and groups have often compared their beliefs and practices with those of their neighbors, sometimes with a sincere religious interest, sometimes merely to demonstrate the superiority of their own religion. Since the end of the 19th century, scholars of religion have sought to develop methods of comparison that were not religiously biased. They asked: What are the differences and the similarities in the religions of the world? Why do religions have the same – or completely different – answers to the same existential questions? Why do they express their beliefs by developing very different – or strikingly similar – practices? This course surveys classical and current approaches to the comparison of religions. The guiding questions are: What are the respective goals of the comparative enterprises? What specific methods are advocated and actually carried out? Should we adopt those goals and methods for our own reflections on religion? The introduction to these issues will be illustrated by numerous examples from the history of religions. Many examples will be taken from Asian religions, but depending on the interests of students in class, we may extend our scope into any direction.
Oral presentation: 20%
Response papers: 20%
Research project: 35% (two essay drafts, presentation, final essay)