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Religious Studies

Spring 2020 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.

Prerequisites: None.

RELS 225: Christian Origins
Robert A. Kugler MWF 12:40PM - 01:40PM

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).

Prerequisites: None.

RELS 241: Religion/Culture Hindu India
Jessica D. Starling MWF 10:20AM - 11:20AM

Introduction to Hinduism in its Indian cultural
context, with focus on theories of sacrifice,
fertility, and discipline. Studies in classic
Hindu sacred texts, with careful readings of myths
of order and productivity. Analysis of
reconstructed postcolonial Hinduism. Emphasis on
studying religion from a critical and comparative

Prerequisites: None.

RELS 253: Prophets, Seekers, & Heretics
Susanna Morrill MWF 11:30AM-12:30PM

Introduction to major themes and movements in
American religious history from colonial origins
to the Civil War. Consideration of Native American
religious traditions, colonial settlement, slavery
and slave religion, revivalism, religion and the
revolution, growth of Christian denominationalism,
origins of Mormonism, using a comparative approach
in the effort to understand diverse movements.
Central themes: revival and religious renewal,
appropriation of Old Testament language by various
groups (Puritans, African Americans, Mormons),
democratization of religion.

Prerequisites: None.

RELS 274: Islam in the Modern World
Paul Powers TTH 1:50PM - 3:20PM

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 340: Gender/American Religious Hist
Susanna Morrill MWF 1:50PM - 2:50PM

Gender as a component in religious experiences in
America from the colonial era to the present. The
relationship between gender and religious beliefs
and practices. Religion as a means of oppression
and liberation of women and men. Interactions
between laywomen and male clergy. The intersection
of religion, wellness, the body, and sports.
Diverse movements and cultures including colonial
society, African American culture, immigrant
communities, and radical religious groups.

Prerequisites: None.

Restrictions: Sophomore standing required.

RELS 490: Senior Thesis
Paul Powers TTH 9:40AM - 11:10AM

Advanced readings and major works in religion. In
consultation with faculty, selection of a thesis
topic and further reading in the discipline and
research in the topic area. Substantial written
document demonstrating mastery of theory and
methodology in the study of religion and the
ability to integrate these into the thesis topic.

Prerequisites: None.

Restrictions: Senior standing required.

Religious Studies

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