Fall 2021 Courses

RELS 102: Food and Religion
Susanna Morrill
MWF 9:10-10:10am
MWF 12:40-1:40pm

Examination of the relationship between food, American religions, and American popular culture; how food is incorporated into formal religious rituals such as the Eucharist or fasting; how cooking, communal eating, and food practices are part of the more informal religious culture of religious communities. Also, consideration of whether eating and food have taken on religious meaning within American culture as a whole, using the Northwest as a focus. 

Prerequisites: None.                                                                      

RELS 201: History and Theory
Paul Powers
MWF 12:40-1:40pm

History of the field. Psychological, literary, anthropological, sociological, and historical approaches to the study of religion. Readings by major theorists. Should normally be taken no later than the junior year.

Prerequisites: None.

RELS 243: Buddhism: Theory/Culture/Practice
Jessica Starling
MWF 10:20-11:20am

Introduction to Buddhist thought and practice. Indian origins, contemporary Theravada Buddhism, emergence of the Mahayana, Buddhism and society in Tibet, Zen and Pure Land traditions of East Asia, and the Western reception of Buddhism. Problems in the study of Buddhism.

Prerequisites: None. 

RELS 273: Islamic Origins
Paul Powers
TTh 1:50-3:20pm

Major religious and sociohistorical developments in the Islamic world from circa 600 to 1300 C.E. Focus on the Qur’an, Muhammad, early Islamic expansions and dynasties, and interactions with non-Muslims. Examination of the formation of orthodox beliefs and practices (e.g., theology, ritual, law), contestation over religious ideals and political power, and the emergence of Shiite and Sufi Islam.

Prerequisites: None.

RELS 358/458: Mysticism
Paul Powers
TTh 9:40-11:10am

A comparative and theoretical exploration of the various manifestations of mysticism and religious experience in different contexts and traditions. Includes classical and current theories of the nature of mysticism and its relation to asceticism and other aspects of religious belief and practice, drawing on sociology, anthropology, psychology, philosophy, and cognitive science. Interrogation of the nature and epistemological status of experience. Numerous case studies, including sustained attention to Sufism, the Islamic mystical tradition. This course is cross-listed with RELS 458. Students taking the 300-level version of this course will complete a guided research project, identifying and mastering the range of scholarly positions on a theme, critical issue, or essential primary text, and will produce a technically sound research paper. The course can only be taken once and cannot be repeated at the 400 level.

Prerequisites: One religious studies course.

Restrictions: Sophomore standing required. 

RELS 451: Metaphysical Rel in America
Susanna Morrill
TTh 11:30-1:00pm

​​Major trends in American religion from the Puritans to the feminist and liberation theologies of the 20th century. Intensive reading of works by major American figures and scholars. With instructor consent, may be taken twice for credit.

Prerequisites: One 200-level RELS course.

Restrictions: Sophomore standing required.