Spring 2022 Courses

RELS 106 Religion and Medicine
Jessica Starling MWF 12:40PM - 1:40PM
Critical examination of the relationship between religion and medicine, drawing on scholarship from religious studies, anthropology, sociology, and history. Examples from ancient Greece, China, and indigenous traditions. Particular attention to the secularization of Western biomedicine and the contemporary popularity of alternatives. Critical examination of the terms “religious,” “spiritual,” “secular,” “natural,” and “holistic.”
Prerequisites: None.

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).
Prerequisites: None.

RELS 242 Religions/Cultures East Asia
Jessica Starling MWF 9:10AM - 10:10AM
Chinese and Japanese worldviews. Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, Shintoism: their origins, development, interactions. Mutual influence of folk and elite traditions, expansion of Buddhism and its adaptation to different sociopolitical environments, effects of modernization on traditional religious institutions.
Prerequisites: None.

RELS 251 Medival Christianity 
Benjamin Westervelt MWF 10:20AM - 11:20AM
Formation and development of Western Christianity from late antiquity through the late medieval period (circa 250 to 1450 C.E.). The relation of popular piety to institutional and high cultural expressions of Christianity. Issues such as Christianity and the late Roman empire, the papacy, monasticism, religious art and architecture, and heresy and hierarchy discussed using theological texts, social histories, popular religious literature.
Prerequisites: None.

RELS 253 Prophets, Seekers & Heretics 
Susanna Morrill MWF 10:20AM - 11:20AM
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 9:10AM - 10:10AM
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
Jessica Starling MWF 1:50PM - 2:50PM
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.