Department of Religious Studies

Professors Emeriti: Michael Buckley, S.J., Denise L. Carmody

Senior Lecturer Emeritus: Salvatore A. Tassone, S.J.

Professors: Paul G. Crowley, S.J. (Santa Clara Jesuit Community Professor), David B. Gray (Department Chair and Bernard J. Hanley Professor), Diane E. Jonte-Pace, Gary A. Macy, Frederick J. Parrella, David J. Pinault, John David Pleins

Associate Professors: James B. Bennett, Teresia Hinga, Akiba J. Lerner, Dorian Llywelyn, S.J., Catherine M. Murphy, Ana Maria Pineda, R.S.M., Philip Boo Riley, Francis R. Smith, S.J.

Assistant Professors: Pearl M. Barros, Mark Fusco, S.J., Roberto Mata, Thao Nguyen, S.J., Paul J. Schutz

Senior Lecturers: William Dohar, Margaret R. McLean, Sarita Tamayo-Moraga

Lecturers: Robert Scholla, S.J., Sally Vance-Trembath

The Department of Religious Studies offers a degree program leading to the bachelor of arts in religious studies. The department also offers a minor program for those who wish to concentrate in theological and religious studies. In keeping with the University's commitment to the Catholic faith tradition, the department offers a variety of courses in Scripture, History, and Catholic theology. Faithful to the Jesuit tradition of liberal education and engagement with other religions, the department offers a wide breadth of courses in various religious traditions and methodologies for the study of religion. The department also offers courses as part of the Undergraduate Core Curriculum, at both lower-division and upper-division levels. Courses are clustered in three areas: Theology, Ethics, and Spirituality (TESP); Scripture and Tradition (SCTR); and Religion and Society (RSOC).

Requirements for the Major

In addition to fulfilling Undergraduate Core Curriculum requirements for the bachelor of arts degree, students majoring in religious studies must complete the following departmental requirements:

  • Three lower-division courses, one from each of the three areas (scripture and tradition; theology, ethics, and spirituality; and religion and society)

  • Seven approved upper-division courses, including three designated religious studies seminars, with one in each of the three areas

  • RELS 90 (Theories and Methods)

  • RELS 197A and RELS 197B, a year-long capstone seminar

Requirements for the Minor

Students must fulfill the following requirements for a minor in religious studies:

  • One introductory-level religious studies course (1--19)

  • Two intermediate-level courses (20--99)

  • Four approved advanced-level courses (100--199), one of which must be a religious studies seminar. Of the seven courses, at least one must be from each the three areas (scripture and tradition; theology, ethics, and spirituality; and religion and society).

Lower-Division Courses: Scripture and Tradition (SCTR)

11. Controversies in Religion: Ancient and Modern

The course critically explores ancient and modern debates about Western religion, especially questions of war, violence, suffering, human purpose, and the relation of science to religion. (4 units)

15. Texting God

This course explores how people express their beliefs and how the technologies they use shape what they say. Focusing on Jewish and Christian "texts" (oral, written, visual, gesture), we'll examine the core beliefs that communities inscribe in them. We'll also consider how scriptural memes are reconstructed in the ongoing process of building cultural memory. We'll learn to analyze the rhetoric of various modes, and ask how changing technologies are altering our experience of text, scripture, and our relationships with God. (4 units)

19. Religions of the Book

This course offers an introduction to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam with a study of their central texts, traditions and practices. We begin the course with a paradox: religion, that which in its literal sense "binds" or "fastens together," is also that which often violently divides our world. As we examine the sacred texts of Jews, Christians, and Muslims (Hebrew Bible, New Testament, and Quran), and various methods of interpreting them, our focus will remain on what is shared and what characteristically distinguishes between the monotheistic faiths. (4 units)

26. Gender in Early Christianity

The history of early Christianity is often portrayed as a history of, by, and about men, despite clear indications that women played a prominent role in the early church. Introduces the construction of gender in antiquity, Jewish and Greco-Roman laws and customs, the biblical canon, and other Christian texts. Contemporary feminist perspectives will inform the discussion. Also listed as WGST 46. (4 units)

27. Digging Up Jesus

This course examines the archaeological and literary evidence for Jesus. We'll use these primary "texts" to reconstruct the most plausible context for Jesus' work so that we can better understand the gospel message, and learn the criteria for assessing whether he really said and did what the gospels report. We'll also try to appreciate what the gospel authors were doing in translating Jesus for their communities, just as we are doing ourselves with the historical approach of the course. (4 units)

28. Women In the Hebrew Bible

This course explores stores, tropes, metaphors, poetry, and archaeology related to Hebrew Bible and Old Testament (HB/OT) women. Biblical studies methodologies and interdisciplinary lenses will be used to create access points with the material culture of the Ancient Near East (ANE), literary life and afterlives of biblical texts, as well as intersectional juxtapositions between ANE and contemporary lives of women. We will explore questions such as: Did God have a wife? Are the oldest parts of the HB/OT written by women? How many different ways can families be defined? How does the HB/OT promote leadership and women? Also listed as WGST 21. (4 units)

33. New Testament Narratives and Cinema

Exploration of the stories that emerged with the Jesus event, their historicity, and their role in forming the early Christian communities. No previous knowledge of Christianity is needed. (4 units)

35. Science versus the Bible: The Genesis Debates

Exploration of the continuing debate over the biblical stories of creation and the flood in relation to the sciences of human evolution, geology, and mythology. One focus is on historical developments in America and England in the 17th to 19th centuries. The role of fundamentalist Christianity in the public school system today. (4 units)

39. Biblical Women and Power

Hero, villain, prophet, deviant---these are some of the power roles embodied by women in the Bible. Explores the exercise of power by biblical women in actual and figurative situations, in culturally positive and negative ways. Attention will be given to the continuing impact of such traditions for gender socialization in our world today. Also listed as WGST 47. (4 units)

48. Racializing Jesus

The course explores the various ancient and contemporary ethnic representations of Jesus in art, film, regalia, and scripture. Although portraits of Jesus as a white, blue-eyed prophet, messiah, or rabbi haunt the popular cultural imagination, these often reflect the social location and racial biases of Western scholars. But, what if Jesus was black, non-white Latino/a, Amerindian, Asian, or Jewish? And, why is contemporary scholarship still grappling with the idea of Jewish messiah? In order to map the politics of interpretation and presentation, the course seeks to "radicalize" Jesus by (1) exploring his Jewishness in terms of race and ethnicity; (2) critically engaging sources from the New Testament, Apocryphal narratives, Rabbinic literature, and the Quran; (3) interrogation of the racial/racist reconstructions of Western biblical scholarship; and (4) mapping the implications for marginalized ethnic communities and interracial dialogue. Key themes to explore include: Race/ethnicity, Colonialism and Imperialism, the quests for Historical Jesus, Hitler's Third Reich, Eugenics, Interreligious Dialogue, police violence (Ferguson & Baltimore), and the polemic over Jesus' wife. (4 units)

65. Early Christianity

A selective survey of the history of the Christian church from its beginnings through the fifth century. Examines the origins of Christianity within Judaism and the Greco-Roman world, and studies how it moved from a marginal apocalyptic sect in Judaism to the exclusive religion of the Roman Empire. Also investigates some of the practical outcomes of Christian belief in the way it was lived. (4 units)

Upper-Division Courses: Scripture and Tradition (SCTR)

100. Biblical Poetry and Ancient Myth

Comparative study of the poetry and myths of ancient Israel and the ancient world. Focuses on the Psalms, the Song of Songs, and the Book of Job. Examines a number of Mesopotamian, Canaanite, and Egyptian myths. Discusses the methodological problem of mythic interpretation. (5 units)

110. Gods, Heroes, and Monsters: Myth and Bible

Explores the debates about the meaning of myth in relation to the Bible and other ancient texts, with special attention to diverging theories of myth, role of the male hero, violence, feminist interpretations, problem of suffering, the relation of religion and science, etc. (5 units)

112. Martyrdom

This course interrogates the role of sacred texts in legitimizing contemporary discourses on martyrdom or "Dying In God." Crucial questions to explore include: What is martyrdom and its relationship to ancient notions of noble death? Why are notions of martyrdom so prevalent amongst Christian, Jewish, and Muslim fundamentalist groups today? How is the Torah, the Bible, and the Quran used to legitimate violence against the self and others? Key themes to explore include: notions of a noble death in antiquity, imperial violence (Crucifixion), the book of Revelation, martyrdom in Early Christianity, the Crusades, Jonestown, Branch Davidians, Secularization, Fundamentalism (Jewish, Christian, and Muslim), suicide bombing, school shootings, and the rise of the Islamic State. (5 units)

128. Human Suffering and Hope

Explores issues of human suffering, justice, and belief in light of the biblical Book of Job. Best for students interested in the creative arts, fiction writing, or community service. (5 units)

132. Apocalypse Now

This course provides a comparative introduction to ideas/symbols/theologies of the "End of the World" in three major monotheistic religions. In view of the influence of apocalyptic thought upon contemporary American culture in particular, and Western and non-Western societies in general, this course prepares students to responsibly engage in discussions of End of the World scenarios and their religious, socioeconomic, political implications. Themes germane to the course include: colonialism, environmental disasters (e.g., Pentecostalism), and alternative religious violence (e.g., Jonestown). In order to help students explore and articulate these themes, the course will provide various interpretive approaches from the theories and method in the study of religion. We conclude the course by reflecting on the influence of apocalyptic thought upon our own spirituality, hopes, and religious traditions. (5 units)

139. Bible in Contemporary Fiction and Film

This course will examine representations of the Bible in contemporary fiction and film. The course aims to explore how contemporary literary and cinematic texts have used biblical sources, how these biblical sources have been adapted, and what these intertextual adaptations reveal about the concerns and purposes of their authors and readers/viewers. (5 units)

157. The Bible and Empire

This course explores how politics shaped the Bible as it was being written and as it has been interpreted. Specifically, we will study how the experiences of empires in antiquity colored the assumptions about power, the portrait of God, and narratives of salvation that fill biblical books. We will also examine how the Bible is implicated in recent imperial adventures, both as a tool of European and American empires, and as a liberating resource for those they colonized. Also listed as WGST 153. (5 units)

158. Postcolonial Perspectives on the New Testament

Introduces students to postcolonial critical theory and uses it to explore the political contexts of New Testament texts, raising new questions about the ethical implications of how we read these texts today. Also listed as WGST 147. (5 units)

165. Gender and Sexuality in Biblical Interpretations

This course opens the Bible to critical readings from feminist and queer theory. It examines the original contexts of contested passages (creation, the destruction of Sodom, the role of women in early Christianity) as well as subsequent interpretation, and exposes the insights and ethical challenges that gender studies pose to these classic texts. Also listed as WGST 148. (5 units)

170. Darwin and God

This course reviews the ongoing debate over the relation between Darwin's evolutionary ideas and religious belief, and specifically considers the discovery that religion and ethics have evolved. (5 units)

175. Wealth, Work, and the Gospel

This course explores how Jews and Christians understood the significance of wealth and work in the Bible and in later interpretation of those texts. Beginning with the Jewish scriptures, we will probe the economic contexts of emerging beliefs and practices, and then trace how these traditions were reshaped in the New Testament, the early and medieval churches, and the Protestant Reformation. This course concludes with the rise of capitalism and a comparison of capitalist and gospel values. (5 units)

198. Practicum

(1--5 units)

199. Directed Reading and Research

For religious studies majors only. (1--5 units)

Lower-Division Courses: Theology, Ethics, and Spirituality (TESP)

2. Magicians, Athletes, and God

An introduction to Catholic Christianity's notion of transcendence using fantasy literature to describe and inspect the selected Christian truth claims about reality: a personal God, grace, sin, doctrine, ritual, sacred texts, and the nature and role of authority. The course makes use of narratives to disclose the foundational concepts in Christian discourse. (4 units)

4. The Christian Tradition

A theological examination of the Christian tradition covering such topics as religious experience and the meaning of God; Jesus in the Gospels; the development and history of the Christian churches; and the relevance of Christianity in the 21st century global world. (4 units)

26. Sustainable Theologies

How do religious traditions, beliefs, and practices shape human attitudes toward earth and earth's creatures? Using scientific discussions of ecology and sustainability, this course critically evaluates religious and theological traditions' potential to promote the flourishing of life and sustainable living on a planet in peril. (4 units)

34. Mary and Guanyin: Catholicism and Buddhism

Comparative study of the popular devotion to Guanyin in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and Marian devotion in the Catholic tradition will be the focus of this course. It will explore the historical development, religious practices, and important role of the female deities in these two religious traditions. (4 units)

41. Theology of the Arts

All theology is interpretation, and art is a type of theology. The course engages major motifs of Christian faith in light of various artistic interpretations, understood here to be genres of theologizing: literature, painting, sculpture, architecture, music, theater, opera, and dance. Among the faith motifs examined are transcendence, Trinity, incarnation, Jesus Christ, suffering, forgiveness, sanctity, martyrdom, resurrection, and church. Students examine at least two different cultural expressions of Christian faith and engage in personal critical reflection, and the keeping of a journal. (4 units)

42. Global Christianities

This course offers critical inquiry, analysis, and theological dialogue with Christian communities considering the demographic shifts that are changing global Christianity. This study challenges Eurocentrism in theology by looking at emerging contextual theologies, considers interpretations of scripture, including feminist and womanist theologies, faith, and practice. Regions and cultures of the world include: Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe, and North America. (4 units)

45. Christian Ethics

Focus on the moral implications of the Christian commitment, formulation of the principles of a Christian ethic, and their application to areas of contemporary life (e.g., to wealth and poverty, violence and nonviolence, bioethics and interpersonal relations). (4 units)

46. Faith, Justice, and Poverty

Who is my neighbor, and how are we to be community? This course examines biblical theologies of social responsibility and solidarity, selected Christian social movements concerned with care for the other, and major theologians and ethicists on poverty and justice. (4 units)

50. Catholic Theology: Foundations

An examination of the fundamental theological issues of Catholicism such as the experience of God, revelation and faith, the historical foundations of the tradition, the mystery of Jesus, grace, sin and redemption, the Church sacraments, and religious pluralism, etc. (4 units)

59. Sex and Spi**rituality in Latinx Theolog**ies

This course takes an interdisciplinary theoretical approach to investigate understandings of suffering, sexuality, and spirituality within the work of three major Chicanx thinkers: Gloria Anzaldua, Cherrie Moraga, and Ana Castillo. It analyzes how Latinx and Chicanx Christian theologians draw upon these authors to articulate their own theologies of liberation. (4 units)

Study of the popular expressions of faith of the Hispanic people, exploring their theological underpinnings. Includes both classroom and field experience. (4 units)

65. U.S. Hispanic Theology

Acquaints students with the historical development of Hispanic theology in the United States. Attention will be given to the works of representative U.S. Hispanic theologians and to the themes and concerns that these works address. (4 units)

71. Mysticism in Catholicism

An introduction to mysticism in the Catholic tradition and its relationship to both theology and spirituality. Special attention to the origins of the term within Catholicism, issues of gender, the relationship between hierarchy and a personal relationship with God, and historical controversies and discussions surrounding the possibility of union with God. (4 units)

72. Darwin, God, and the Human Question

This course uses Darwinian and religious poetry to explore the relation between religion and science. The course asks: What is the relation between belief and evolution? How have poets responded to the deep questions raised by Darwin and his ideas? (4 units)

74. Poetic Justice in Darwini**an World**

This London-based second course in religious studies explores the convergence between five elements: the arts (poetry, visual art), social activism, the question of suffering (both animal and human), Darwinian thought, and the growing global concern for the environment and sustainability. (4 units)

79. Women in Christian Tradition

History as written mostly by men has obscured the important role that women have played in Christian tradition. This course will investigate the official and unofficial positions women have held in the Christian church as well as read works by particular Christian women in an attempt to restore the women to their rightful place in Christian history. Also listed as WGST 48. (4 units)

82. Witches, Saints, and Heretics: Religious Outsiders

Survey of the experience of religious exclusion across the realms of magic, holiness, and heterodoxy. While anchored in the premodern Christian tradition, the course also explores more contemporary phenomena, persons, and movements. (4 units)

88. Hope and Prophetic Politics

Focuses on Abraham Joshua Heschel and Martin Luther King Jr., two religious intellectuals whose lives and works draw on this tradition to raise and address questions basic to any discussion of the role of religion in public life. Through readings of Obama and student-directed "hope projects," we will also focus on contemporary examples of what it means to both think and live in hope. (4 units)

Upper-Division Courses: Theology, Ethics, and Spirituality (TESP)

103. Theology and Transhumanism

An exploration of fundamental theological themes in light of the current transhumanism movement. Transhumanism looks to the innovations and convergences of biotechnology, nanotechnology, robotics, information and communication technology, and neurosciences. The transhumanist movement promises much and raises many new questions. How do belief systems, theological investigations, and spirituality enter into a conversation with transhumanism? Will Transhumanism completely change what it means to be a human? A person? How does transhumanism challenge our understanding of the concept of soul? God? These are some of the questions and themes we will explore in the course. (5 units)

108. Human Trafficking and Christian Ethics

This course will examine the global phenomenon of human trafficking---specifically sex trafficking and forced labor trafficking---using the lenses of Christian theology and ethics. Social-scientific, legal, public policy, and autobiographical sources will be used to frame the phenomenon of human trafficking; and theological/ethical categories such as human dignity and freedom, sin and redemption, neighbor love, and solidarity will be used to illuminate and assess its dimensions. Special attention will be given to the question of human agency as well to social, political, cultural, and gender-based analyses as these impact and shape an adequate response to human trafficking. (5 units)

109. Hispanic Spirituality: Guadalupe

One of the most popular Marian devotions for Hispanic people (of primarily Mexican descent) is that of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Study of the history and tradition of Guadalupe, exploring its religious and spiritual significance in both the past and the present. (5 units)

119. Theology, Sex, and Relationships

This course will explore the ethics of romantic and sexual relationships, including friendship, dating, intimacy, and the phenomenon of "hooking up" in contemporary campus culture. We will engage theological, philosophical, and social science sources, with the aim of developing a "theology of relationship" that reflects our best insights about our deepest human and religious identity. (5 units)

124. Theology of Marriage

An examination of human relationships, intimacy, sexuality, and marriage through the social sciences, philosophy, and theology, and exploration of human love in the unconditional commitment to spouse as the expression of divine love. (5 units)

129. Religion and Peace

This course will explore the relationship between religion and peace by examining the call to peacemaking in several religious traditions. Understanding peace to be more than the absence of warfare, the class will consider foundational connections between justice and peace, varied definitions for peace and diverse perspectives on peacemaking, as well as distinct theological, ethical, and spiritual approaches to peace. A community-based learning placement through Arrupe Partnership will give students the opportunity to ground reflections on justice. (5 units)

130. Judaism and Political Philosophy

This course focuses on the intersection of modern Jewish thought and political philosophy. From the Hebrew Bible to modern thinkers like Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Martin Buber, the Frankfurt School, and Leo Strauss, Jewish thinkers have generated a remarkable textual conversation over what makes for a holy, just, and good society. We will explore the diverse philosophical and theological interpretive narratives by Jewish thinkers over the uses and abuses of political power in the modern era. This course provides an introductory overview of these conversations by additionally focusing on topics such as messianic resistance to empire, capitalism, religious violence, secularism, nationalism, Zionism, critical theory, ecology, feminism, liberal democratic rights, and redemption. (5 units)

131. Feminist Theologies

Through the analysis of a selected sample of feminist theological voices and themes, explores the phenomenon of feminist theologies in their emerging unity and diversity. Focuses on themes of inclusion, exclusion, and representation, which have also been major catalysts in the emergence of diverse feminist theologies. Also listed as WGST 149. (5 units)

137. Theology of Death

An examination of the experience of death and the meaning of Christian hope in light of the death and Resurrection of Jesus; the meaning of the Christian symbols of judgment, heaven, hell, and the end of history. (5 units)

138. Contemporary Theology of Paul Tillich

An examination of the philosophical and theological thought of one of the great 20th-century Protestant theologians, with special emphasis on his theology of culture, and his effort to reinterpret the Christian message for contemporary people. (5 units)

142. Conscience, Christi**anity and Politics**

A study of the significant role that conscience has played in the history of Christian engagement with politics. We will study the meaning of conscience itself as it emerges in the works of great figures in the tradition. We will also consider the different ways in which the conscience of Christians has confronted the political order ranging from conscientious objection to civil disobedience to resistance to the collective conscience of a church in opposition to the state. Finally, conscience and Christianity and politics will be considered in light of crucial contextual matters like race and gender. (5 units)

143. Theology and Ethics of Thomas Aquinas

A study of the life, thought, and ethics of Aquinas. Basic topics to be discussed include the existence of God, human nature, and human participation in society. (5 units)

151. Religion and Science: Conflict or Dialogue?

Are Christian theology and science irreconcilable enemies, respectful conversation partners, or perhaps even necessary and complementary aspects of one and the same quest for understanding? The course will explore historical examples (including the Galileo affair and the reception of Darwin), ancient and modern philosophy of science, the Catholic Church's most recent thinking on these matters, and contemporary issues in the academic field of theology and science. (5 units)

152. Faith, Ethic**s and Biodiversity**

Critical investigation of the global collapse of biological diversity. Religious implications of the environmental crisis, and a survey of the religio-ethical analysis and response by major faith traditions in light of the greening of religion. Examines the role that ethics can play in articulating conversation initiatives. Also listed as ENVS 152. (5 units)

157. Ethics in the Health Professions

Introduction to the major issues in biomedical ethics. Basic principles of biomedical ethics, genetic interventions and reproductive technologies, euthanasia, professional responsibilities, confidentiality, and public policy issues regarding the system of delivery of health care. (5 units)

159. Ethics of War and Peace

Examination of the history of moral deliberation about war and peace in Western religious traditions, as well as contemporary, theological, and philosophical analyses of the diverse moral principles that those traditions have generated. Studies the application of theological and moral reasoning to contemporary wars. (5 units)

163. Christianity and Politics

An ethical investigation into the relationship between Christianity and the political order and into the contemporary experience of this relationship, drawing on Scripture, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, and Calvin. A special focus on contemporary issues of Christianity and political ethics. (5 units)

164. Religious Ethics in Business

This course is an introduction to religious ethics in a business setting. Discussions include how one might live their religious ethics at work without compartmentalizing their faith tradition when religious faith or ethics conflict with business ethics. Cases may include: deception in advertising and marketing; flawed products; affirmative action; environment and pollution; discrimination; workplace issues. (5 units)

165. Romero and the Salvadoran Martyrs

The age of martyrs is not a relic of the past but a reality of our own times. In many parts of the world, people are being murdered for their faith. This course will focus on the life of the martyr, Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, and other Salvadoran men and women whose life and death exemplify the consequence of a socially conscious faith. (5 units)

175. Women's Theologies from the Margins

Women of diverse cultural communities enrich theology by voicing their lived experience from global and local perspectives. Course explores the theological works of African-American, Asian-American, and U.S. Latina women in their historical and cultural contexts. Also listed as WGST

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183. Ignatian Spirituality

An exploration of the historical background, sources, theology, and practice of Ignatian spirituality in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola and other Jesuit documents, and a comparison of Ignatian methods of meditation and contemplation with other traditions of spirituality, Christian and non-Christian. (5 units)

184. Jesus Across Cultures

An exploration and study of selected significant and diverse interpretations of Jesus of Nazareth, and of the historical and cultural contexts that have shaped images and theologies of Jesus Christ (or Christologies). Approaches include biblical, Asian, African, Latin American, and feminist interpretations. The aim is critical exposure to the cross-cultural diversity of understandings of Jesus within Christianity itself. (5 units)

185. Foundations of Faith

A careful and critical reading of Karl Rahner's theology, with focus on his understandings of the human person, grace, and Christ within the context of Catholic faith. (5 units)

187. Christ and Catholic Theology

A study of contemporary Catholic Christology approached as Christology "from below." Initial consideration of some fundamental theological concepts and then Jesus Christ as a historical figure and object of faith. Course pivots around Jesus' proclamation of the "Kingdom of God" and considers his history through the resurrection. (5 units)

190. Celtic Christianity

This course explores Celtic Christianity throughout history, examining both historical evidence and historical projections. Beginning with archaeological and textual evidence from the first five centuries CE, the course explores the qualities that subsequent eras project upon this "golden age" of Celtic Christianity, how Celtic Christianity actually manifests in these eras, and what current projections upon Celtic Christianity can tell us about our cultures today. (5 units)

194. Interreligious Studies

This cou[]{#x5vkbfcdsx4x .anchor}rse is a comparative study of the beliefs, ethics, values, and religious expressions of the major world religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Taoism, and Confucianism. This course also explores the interactions between these religious traditions as they encountered one another in each geographical and social context. (5 units)

198. Practicum

(1-5 units)

199. Directed Reading and Research

For religious studies majors only. (1-5 units)

Lower-Division Courses: Religion and Society (RSOC)

7. South and Southeast Asian Religious Traditions

Introduction to the major religious traditions of India and its neighbors in the subcontinent and Southeast Asia: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Islam; historical development of each faith; what is distinctive in each tradition; and particular attention to the ways in which these traditions have influenced each other. (4 units)

9. Ways of Understanding Religions

Introduces the categories by which religion is formally studied. Explores distinct perspectives or ways of thinking about religion (e.g., psychological, phenomenological, anthropological, theological, and sociological); also considers a variety of religious data (e.g., symbols, myths, rituals, theologies, and modern communities). (4 units)

10. Asian Religious Traditions

This course will introduce students to the history, major teachings, and practices of the major Asian religious traditions of South, Central, East, and Southeast Asia, namely Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Confucianism, Daoism, and Shintoism. It will do so from a historical perspective, and will also explore the development of key theological and religious/philosophical doctrines as well as the associated practices. (4 units)

11. Asian Christia**nity**

This course explores the world of Asian Christianity and its varied expressions of worship, arts, spirituality, and interactions with Asian religions such as Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and Hinduism. (4 units)

14. Exploring Living Religions

Introduces academic approaches to the study of religion as practiced by ordinary people in everyday life. Explores religion as living practice enacted through fashioning and controlling of religious bodies and identities; appropriation, production, circulation, and consumption of religious goods; social and political structuring of authority and resistance; cultivation and nurturing of domestic, social, economic and other relationships through religious frameworks; creation and maintenance of spaces understood as "sacred" or "spiritual," etc. Draws upon approaches form anthropology, cultural studies, and critical theory to research and reflect upon what religion allows people to know, think, and do in local Bay Area communities. (4 units)

19. Egyptian Religious Traditions

An investigation of the ways in which Egyptian culture has been shaped by the religious traditions of ancient pharaonic polytheism, Coptic Christianity, and Islam. Attention to the influence of pharaonic religion on Coptic Christian and Egyptian Muslim ritual practices, including how these are reflected in the writings of contemporary Egyptian Muslim authors. (4 units)

38. Religion and Culture: Africa

Introduces the study of religion from the social perspective of how religion shapes African cultures and is thoroughly shaped by them in turn. Examines texts, history, ritual practices, and modern forms of engagement with the world. (4 units)

46. African Religions

Examination of African history and its many cultures through the lens of key religious ideas, practices, and cosmologies. The power of history, geography, and political domination over the shaping of religion is matched by the power of religion as a medium of cultural expressiveness and political resistance. (4 units)

51. Religion in America

Traces the development, character, and impact of religion in America from the precolonial era to the present. Course readings and discussions will center on the relationship between religion and the development of American culture. Includes Native American traditions; slavery and religion; the rise of revivalism; gender; religion and war; immigration; and modern pluralism, etc. (4 units)

54. Comparative Religion and Social Theory

A survey of recent social theory as it bears on the comparative study of religious traditions. Theorists might include Durkheim, Weber, Malinowski, Freud, Alfred Schutz, Jan Patocka, Peter Berger, Robert Bellah, Clifford Geertz, Jurgen Habermas, and Niklas Luhmann. (4 units)

61. Atheism in America

Investigates the historical and socio-cultural development of various modes of non-religious practice in the United States, including Atheism, Agnosticism, and Secular Humanism, and the recent growth in religious unaffiliation and disidentification. Course involves fieldwork with local "freethinker" communities and practitioners to analyze their participation in, contributions to, and deviation from, wider national religious and non-religious trends, patterns, and practices. (4 units)

64. Comparative Religion and Environmentalism

As sustainability and ecology are becoming increasingly relevant across the globe, this course examines practical environmental projects across a spectrum of world religions. The course includes myriad voices from the margins to the pinnacles of religious authority to understand how religious people engage in environmental advocacy, activism, and earth care as expressions of reverence, piety, ethics, and interconnection. (4 units)

67. Film and Judaism

Uses a variety of readings and films to explore the ideas and experiences that have shaped Jews and Judaism in the modern period. Topics include Enlightenment and emancipation, Hasidism and secularism, Zionism and socialism, immigration and assimilation, anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, denominationalism, feminism, Jewish Renewal, and the future. (4 units)

79. Religion and Animal Suffering

An exploration of human-animal relations and how religion might help limit human appetites for the exploitation of animals, especially with regard to wildlife trafficking, medical experimentation, and commercial slaughterhouse practices. Consideration will also be given to the spiritual autonomy of animals and existential questions of human-animal solidarity in suffering as envisioned in Christianity, Jainism, and Daoism. (4 units)

81. Islam

Introduction to the Islamic tradition focusing on the dialectic between normative theology and popular devotion. Readings include the Quran, Sufi literature, and devotional poetry. Discussion of Quranic concerns in the Sunni and Shia traditions, ecstatic mysticism, Islamic law, and contemporary issues relating to the status of women, Westernization, and modernity. (4 units)

85. Hinduism

Exploration of the historical development, theologies, symbols, rituals, scriptures, social institutions, and 20th-century politics of Hinduism, primarily in India. Main focus on the interaction of religion and culture. (4 units)

86. Buddhism

Exploration of the whole Buddhist tradition, including Indian origins, Theravada traditions of Southeast Asia, Mahayana traditions of Central and East Asia, and Buddhism in the West. Emphasis on cultural impact of religion, Buddhist philosophy and practice, and modernizing tradition. (4 units)

87. Buddhism and Film

Explores the portrayal of Buddhism in contemporary global cinema. Covers key teachings of Buddhist religious traditions, and provides an introduction to the field of film studies, with particular focus on the skills needed to write critically about film. (4 units)

88. Chinese Religions

Focuses on the historical development of Chinese religions---Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism---and their philosophies, as well as the interface between folk religion, society, and political institutions in traditional and modern China. (4 units)

99. Sociology of Religion

Using early and American Christianity as examples, this class examines how various social forces shape the religious beliefs and practices of people of faith. In particular it draws on a number of sociological perspectives, looking both at their historical and philosophical underpinnings and at what they can tell us about religious growth, faith in the modern world, and religiously inspired social action. (4 units)

Upper-Division Courses: Religion and Society (RSOC)

106. Zen in Theory and Practice

Explores the Chan/Zen traditions of East Asian Buddhism from the historical, theoretical, and practical perspectives. Students will explore the history and teachings of the Zen traditions, and then will learn how to undertake Zen meditative practice. The focus will be on bringing the teachings and tradition to life by experiencing them and learning about the way that practice itself drives changes in theory. (5 units)

109. Women and Buddhism from a U.S. Standpoint

This course offers the opportunity to learn about Buddhism while cultivating analytical skills to understand women and gender in religion. Through readings, films, and site visits to local Buddhist communities, students will engage in intersectional, feminist methods for studying historical and contemporary Buddhist lives. Also listed as WGST 142. (5 units)

111. Inventing Religion in America

Explores the spiritual creativity that stands at the center of the American experience and asks what characteristics facilitated such religious diversity. Looks at beliefs and practices, and also historical contexts. Includes Mormons, Christian Science, Jehovah's Witnesses, the Nation of Islam, Scientology, and Heaven's Gate, etc. (5 units)

113. Buddhism in America

Following a survey of Buddhist teachings and the history of the transmission of Buddhism to America, this course explores the diverse array of Buddhist groups in Silicon Valley. (5 units)

114. Religion and Medicine in Healthcare

The history of the institutions of medicine and religion have long been intertwined in healthcare. In the early 20th century, the institution of biomedicine became dominant, thus rendering religious approaches as quackery. Yet, religion-based approaches to healing resurged in the late 20th century due to the decline of medical authority and a convergence of the women's health movement, alternative spirituality, and patient's rights activism. From the 1970s to the 2000s, religion-based forms of healing moved from being considered "alternative" to "integrative" medicine by the medical establishment. In this course, we will utilize critical perspectives to understand and assess the changing landscape of healthcare in relation to the institutions of religion and medicine with special attention to patient experiences and institutional authority. (5 units)

115. Tibetan Buddhism: A Cultural History

Provides an overview of Tibetan religious history and the fundamental beliefs and practices of Tibetan religious traditions. Focuses on devotional traditions centering around saints, sophisticated systems of meditation and ritual, and the experience of women in Tibetan Buddhist traditions. Also explores visual media such as iconography and cinema. (5 units)

116. Religion and Ethnography

This course examines what makes ethnography an ideal method for studying religion and religious cultures. How might participant-observation round out knowledge from research into written text and religious/social history? How does ethnography assist researchers in understanding the relationship between religious rites and kinship? In addition to learning about the "classics" in religion and ethnography, students may explore subdisciplines, such as visual ethnography and theological anthropology. The course discusses how the study of religion and ethnography might contribute to careers in journalism, filmmaking, and others. In hands-on independent projects, students practice taking field ethnography might contribute to careers in journalism, filmmaking, and others. In hands-on independent projects, students practice taking field notes, writing ethnographic reports, and sharing their work with classmates. Also listed as ANTH 174. (5 units)

119. Media and Religion

Examines the religious, theological, and ethical issues and perspectives raised by various media: print, visual, audio, multimedia, and virtual. Special attention will be given to the nature of their relationship and the religious and spiritual issues currently present in their interface. (5 units)

121. Representing Religion in World Cinema

Examines films from various cultures and the ways religion is portrayed, stereotyped, and represented in them. Investigates both sacred texts and traditions of specific religions and the ways film enhances, provokes, or misrepresents various religious themes and motifs. (5 units)

123. Religions@Silicon Valley

Is something unique happening in Silicon Valley's religious landscape? This seminar addresses that question through different perspectives on the Valley's culture; scholarly approaches to the Buddhist, Catholic, and Muslim experiences in America; and interactions with local congregations. (5 units)

Examines the relationships between religious practice and culture expressions understood as appealing to the non-elite masses through various media (print, television, movies, music, etc.), personages (religious celebrities, entertainment celebrities, sports stars), embodied expressions and enhancements (clothing, jewelry, tattoos, piercings, etc.), and other material forms (mugs, water bottles, statues, posters, etc.). Considers how depictions of religion in popular cultural forms affects how we understand religious experiences, practitioners, and communities, and how religion itself functions as an element of cultural production that contributes to popular interest. (5 units)

130. East Asian Buddhism

Explores in depth the major traditions of East Asian Buddhism. Following a brief survey of their teachings and history, this course focuses on several traditions (Chan/Zen, Pure Land Buddhism, and Soka Gakkai) that are represented in the Silicon Valley area, and examines in depth the practices advocated by these traditions, as well as the social implications of these practices. (5 units)

131. Tantra in Theory and Practice

Examines the development and global spread of tantric traditions. Beginning with South Asia, explores the development of the body-oriented tantric movement and its institutionalization in Hindu and Buddhist religious contexts. Explores spread of tantra throughout Asia and the West, and transformation of tantric traditions in Western cultural contexts. (5 units)

134. Religion and Secularism

Is the new atheism---and by extension, therefore, philosophy---in some genuine sense a religious tradition? This course will explore the meaning and sources of the so-called "new atheists" (C. Hitchens, R. Dawkins, S. Harris, D. Dennett). We will see that the conflict between the new atheists and the religions has a long varied history with the new atheists representing one strand of philosophy. We will flesh out this particular philosophical sub-history, as well as alternative views of the religions that develop and exist alongside the stridently atheistic, materialist forms of philosophy. (5 units)

135. Architects of Solidarity

Starting with the Jesuit claim of education for "solidarity for the real world," students explore the rhetorics of solidarity in different intellectual and faith traditions and how these rhetorics frame issues such as poverty, intolerance, suffering, and globalization to inspire and justify action on behalf of others. Course requirements include field work with local organizations whose missions include solidarity across religious, economic, ethnic, or geographic differences. (5 units)

140. Animals, Environment, and World Religion

An investigation of the resources offered by world religions for addressing current crises related to the status of animals and the natural environment. Attention will be given to traditional views of human-animal relations as reflected in various scriptures, as well as the work of contemporary thinkers who offer new perspectives on environmental theology and issues such as animal suffering. (5 units)

154. Jesus in Islam and Christianity

Investigation of various understandings of Jesus in Islam, beginning with an introduction to Islamic theology and Quranic Christology, emphasizing Muslim scriptural understandings of Jesus as a prophet and healer, followed by representations of Jesus in Sufi mysticism, medieval Islamic folklore, and modern Arabic literature, with consideration of how Jesus can play a role in Muslim-Christian dialogue. (5 units)

157. Religious Traditions and Contemporary Moral Issues

Explores selected moral issues and analyzes responses given to these issues by the selected religious traditions. Issues to be analyzed will include those pertaining to human life (e.g., euthanasia, HIV/AIDS), human sexuality (e.g., marriage), and global issues (e.g., war, environmental degradation, and poverty). The central approach will be to compare and contrast Western responses with responses from other cultural and religious systems in order to highlight points of difference, points of similarity, and common ground. (5 units)

159. Longings for Immortality

A chance to read the core texts that formed visions of the afterlife in Western thought, including Gilgamesh, selections from Homer, Hesiod, Plato, Cicero, Vergil, Hebrew and Christian scriptures, the Quran, Dante, and Galileo. Then, turning to the world around us, we'll explore some of the refractions of these visions in contemporary film and literature and writings about cyberspace. Along the journey, we'll ponder the implications of personal survival and death---both for the individual and society. (5 units)

168. Gender and Judaism

Explores ideas and images of Jewish "femininity," "masculinity," and "queerness" generated by Jewish and non-Jewish cultures throughout history to the present. Considers the political/economic, religious, and other cultural dimensions of these images and ideas. Also listed as WGST

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170. Religion, Gender, and Globalization

Using feminist ethics as a framework, this course examines the ethical issues at the intersection of religion and globalization and unpacks the implications of this intersection for women. Focuses on the human rights of women and examines ways in which globalization has affected, supported, or undermined the human rights of women and the role of religion in their lives. Also listed as WGST 146. (5 units)

174. Jewish Philosophy: Athens and Jerusalem

"Athens" represents the philosophical world; "Jerusalem" the world of faith. An introduction to the history and major themes within modern Jewish thought. Topics investigated include secularism, capitalism, Romanticism, Marxism, critical theory, postmodernism, feminism, political theory, and prophetic politics as articulated in Judaism's encounter with modernity. These topics are united by Judaism's struggle to achieve a universal vision of hope for human redemption and liberation. (5 units)

182. Shia Islam in the Contemporary World

An investigation of Shia theory, the historical origins of Shiism (especially the Twelver and Zaydi denominations), and Shia-Sunni relations in the contemporary Islamic world. Particular emphasis on issues of ritual and communal identity in Pakistan, India, Yemen, and diaspora communities in North America. (5 units)

184. Race and Religion in the United States

Begins with an examination of the living situation of people of African descent in the United States, as well as an analysis of their social context---economic, educational, and political aspects. Considerations are then given to the effects the Christian message has had in this situation. Also listed as ETHN []{#2pta16n .anchor}166. (5 units)

188. Religion and Violence

Examines the historical and contemporary relationships between religious ideologies and personal and institutional practices of coercion, force, and destruction. (5 units)

190. Islam: Reformation and Modernity

Comparative study of contemporary Islam. Beginning with the study of origins and basic doctrines of Islam, this course will study its development to the modern world. Main focus will be on Islam's interaction with different cultures, emphasizing political implications of the rise of revivalism. (5 units)

191. Religions of Colonized Peoples

The aim of this course is to analyze from an insider perspective the role of religion both in the process of colonizing Africa as well as in the process of resistance to colonization. This will include an examination of the role of religion in the African struggle against political oppression, economic injustices, racism, and cultural imperialism. Students will then critically analyze the social-political implications of religion in their own contexts. (5 units)

198. Practicum

(1--5 units)

199. Directed Reading and Research

For religious studies majors only. (1--5 units)

Lower-Division Course: Religious Studies (RELS)

(Course for Religious Studies Majors and Minors)

90. Theories and Methods

A survey of various approaches to the study of religion, scripture, and the theological disciplines, focusing on hermeneutical (interpretation) theories in each of these approaches. The course involves in-depth reading, discussion, and application of hermeneutical methods to religious, ethical and theological texts, rituals and liturgies, and art, architecture, and music. (4 units)

Upper-Division Courses: Religious Studies (RELS)

(Courses for Religious Studies Majors and Minors)

197A. Capstone Seminar

This course is part one of a two-quarter seminar for religious studies majors. It will provide an introduction to research and writing skills, and then will segue into a structured independent study in which each student will work on an independent project with the support and feedback from the instructor and their peers. (3 units)

197B. Capstone Seminar

This course is part two of a two-quarter seminar for religious studies majors. It will provide an introduction to research and writing skills, and then will segue into a structured independent study in which each student will work on an independent project with the support and feedback from the instructor and their peers. (3 units)

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