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Religious Studies

Fall 2020 Courses

RELS 105: Apocalyptic Imagination
Robert A. Kugler
MWF 9:15-10:15am

This course examines the way religious and nonreligious human beings have sought to make sense of their world through apocalyptic speculation, and it explores the special relationship of end-time speculation with religious thought and practice. Sources studied include literature ranging from ancient Mesopotamian apocalypses to Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, art and architecture from the Ishtar Gate of Babylon to Garden Grove’s Crystal (now Christ) Cathedral, and expressions of popular culture from ancient Greek curse tablets to “Zombieland.”

Prerequisites: None.

RELS 201: History and Theory
Paul Powers
MWF 1:00-2:00pm

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 254: Rel Modern Amer 1865-Present (Religion in Modern America, 1865 to Present)
Susanna Morrill
MWF 11:45-12:45pm

Impact of religion in modern America from the end of the Civil War to the present day, emphasizing the interaction between America’s many religions and emerging American modernity. The fate of “traditional” religion in modern America; “alternate” American religious traditions; urbanization, industrialism, and religion; science, technology, and secularism; evangelicalism, modernism, and fundamentalism; religious bigotry; pluralism; new religions and neofundamentalism.

Prerequisites: None.

RELS 274: Islam in the Modern World 
Paul Powers
TTh 2:10-3:40pm

The religious, social, and political dynamics of the Islamic world, circa 1300 C.E. to present, especially the 19th through 21st centuries. Earlier developments (e.g., the Qur’an, Muhammad, Muslim dynasties) considered in relation to the modern context. European colonialism, postcolonial change, reform and “fundamentalist” movements, Sufism, Muslim views of “modernity,” and changing understandings of politics, gender, and relations with non-Muslims.

Prerequisites: None.

RELS 341: Religions of the Northwest
Susanna Morrill
TTh 11:40-1:10pm

Exploration of the religious history of the Pacific Northwest, with a focus on Oregon and Washington. Examination of the religious traditions of regional Native American tribes, early Protestant missions, and the growth of Catholicism and Mormonism in the region, as well as recent immigrant religions (such as Vietnamese and Buddhism), nondenominational Christian groups, and alternative forms of spirituality. Using theoretical models from religious studies to consider why the Northwest does not carry the imprint of a dominant religious tradition or traditions, as most other regions of the country do.

Prerequisites: None. 

RELS 453: Seminar: Islamic Law
Paul Powers
TTh 9:55-11:25am

The religio-legal traditions of Islam, the efforts to develop a comprehensive set of behavior guides derived from the Qur’an, the exemplary behavior of the Prophet, and other sources. Topics include legal history; efforts at modernization and reform; the formation of the major schools of law; legal theory and methods for deriving rules from sacred texts; the rules of ritual, civil, and criminal law; political theory; adjudication and court procedure; Islamic law and the colonial encounter; legal expressions of gender roles; and historical case studies.

Prerequisites: RELS 273 or RELS 274

Restrictions: Sophomore standing required.

Religious Studies

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