Fall 2023 Courses
RELS 102 Food and Religion
Susanna Morrill MWF 9:10AM - 10:10AM
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.
RELS 201 History and Theory
Susanna Morrill MWF 12:40PM - 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.
RELS 225 Christian Origins
Robert Kugler MWF 11:30AM - 12:30PM
Exploration of early Christianity, from the turn of the eras to 400 C.E. Focus on the development of the religion in the multicultural, pluralistic context of the Greco-Roman world. Study of the archaeological and written evidence for Christian origins (i.e., the archaeology of Jerusalem, the
Galilee, and the Dead Sea Scrolls community; the New Testament, the writings of “orthodox” and “heretical” early Christian thinkers, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and other relevant Judean texts). Analysis of key themes in early Christian studies (i.e., gender, orthodoxy and heterodoxy, early Christianity’s relationship to early Judaism, Christianity and empire).
RELS 243 Buddhism: Theory, Culture, and Practice
Jessica Starling MWF 10:20AM - 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.
RELS 273 Islamic Origins
Paul Powers TTH 1:50PM - 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.
RELS 359 Asceticism
Jessica Starling MWF 11:30AM - 1:00PM
Critical, comparative approach to asceticism, employing the tools and insights from religious studies and cultural anthropology to analyze diverse examples of disciplined self-denial from the ancient to the modern world. Exploration of a range of cultural contexts, including Eastern (Jain, Hindu, Buddhist), Western (ancient Greek, medieval Christian), and modern secular (political activism, fasting diets, and work). Students will conduct research on a case study in asceticism, culminating in a final paper and presentation.
Restrictions: Sophomore standing required.