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LRC Courses

Courses offered by LRC faculty fellows give SCU students direct experience of local religious and spiritual sites, communities, and practitioners, helping them to discover a lived understanding of the role of religion in Silicion Valley and beyond.

SCU students explore the spiral formation and backyard space at Buddhi Vihara Temple in San Jose in

SCU students explore the spiral formation and backyard space at Buddhi Vihara Temple in San Jose in "Exploring Living Religions" (RSOC 14). [Photo courtesy of Claire Dixon, SCU '19.]

Ways of Understanding Religion (RSOC 9) 

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).

Exploring Living Religion (RSOC 14)

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 from 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. 

Mapping Living Religion (RSOC 15)

Introduces academic approaches to the study of religion as practiced by ordinary people in everyday life. Explores religion as living practice. Draws upon approaches from 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.

Urban Religion (RSOC 21)

In this course, we will ask how a city, with its diverse arrays of people, neighborhoods, commercial and cultural districts, economic enclaves of wealth and poverty, affects how religion is practiced. How does religion, with its different conceptions of the sacred, of moral goodness, of justice, and the like affect a day-to-day life in a city? What tools can best help us to understand and map the ways in which urban life and religious practice intersect— inflecting, enriching, and challenging one another? How is being religious in an urban space different from being religious in a small town or rural community? How does a city itself redefine what it means to be religious? And, how does religious practice—formal and informal—shape an urban landscape?

Buddhism (RSOC 86)

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. Prerequisite: Introductory level course (SCTR 1-19, TESP 1-19, or RSOC 1-19) or another course approved as fulfilling RTC 1 Core requirement.

Sociology of Religion (RSOC 99)

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.

Buddhism in America (RSOC 113)

Following a survey of Buddhist teachings and the history of the transmission of Buddhism in America, this course explores the diverse array of Buddhist groups in Silicon Valley. Prerequisite: Intermediate level course (SCTR 20-99, TESP 20-99, or RSOC 20-99) or another course approved as fulfilling the intermediate level Core requirement in Religious Studies and completion of 88 quarter units.

Religion and Ethnography (RSOC 116/ANTH 174)

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 notes, writing ethnographic reports, and sharing their work with classmates.

Religions at Silicon Valley (RSOC 123)

Is something unique happening in the 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. Prerequisite: Intermediate level course (SCTR 20-99, TESP 20-99, or RSOC 20-99) or another course approved as fulfilling the intermediate level Core requirement in Religious Studies and completion of 88 qyarter units.

Architects of Solidarity (RSOC 135)

This course starts from the Jesuit claim to educate students for "solidarity for the real world." We explore what that might look like in different intellectual, cultural and faith traditions, asking how they frame issues like poverty, intolerance, suffering, marginality, globalization, etc. to inspire and justify action on behalf of others. Course requirements include field work with local organizations whose missions suggest we could learn something from them about what solidarity looks like in Silicon Valley.  Prerequisite: Intermediate level course (SCTR 20-99, TESP 20-99, RSOC 20-99) or another course approved as fulfilling the intermediate level Core requirement in Religious Studies and completion of 88 quarter units. Note: This course requires participation in community-based learning (CBL) experiences off campus.

Religion, Gender and Globalization (RSOC 170/WGST 146)

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.