New Lineup of Religious Studies Courses for Fall 2017!

New Lineup of Religious Studies Courses for Fall 2017!






RELI 376-001

Religion and Medicine

Abdulaziz Sachedina   TR  12:00-1:15

This course examines the ethical principles that guide our society’s most important decisions in health care, with a focus on principles developed in Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Islamic and humanistic traditions, and embedded in our contemporary pluralistic society. Taught by Prof. Abdulaziz Sachedina, an internationally recognized scholar of religion and contemporary biomedical ethics, the course examines debates about assisted suicide; terminating life-sustaining treatment; abortion and maternal-fetal relations; artificial reproduction; the use of human subjects in research; genetic counseling, screening, and engineering; obtaining and distributing organs for transplantation; and a variety of public health issues from AIDS to possible bioterrorist attacks. Students will examine numerous actual and hypothetical cases in their exploration of these moral issues.


RELI 370


Randi Rashkover           MW 1:30-2:45

Follow the story of one of the world’s oldest, continuously practiced religions, from it origins in the BCE period to its contemporary manifestations. This course explores the foundational development of Rabbinic Judaism; the history and thought of Jews in the Middle Ages; and the rise of Hasidic and mystical Judaism. The course goes on to examine Jewish persecution in the modern period, culminating with the Holocaust and its profound effect on Jewish life and thought; the rise of contemporary American Judaism; and Jewish, Christian, and Muslim relations.


RELI 363


Garry Sparks        TR 10:30-11:45

The Roman Catholic Church is arguably the oldest, most far-reaching, and most diverse, single institution within human history. It is also the only religion with its own nation-state (the Vatican). Catholicism’s thought, aesthetics, and influence made it global long before “globalization.” Yet, for many interested in history, philosophy, art, and literature, Catholicism remains a “mystery.” This course will introduce students to the historical development and change within Catholic thought (religious, philosophical, moral,and  liturgical) and its wider influence, focusing on key historical and cultural encounters.


RELI 376-005

Muslims in the US

Ahmet Tekelioglu MW  10:30-11:45

Issues related to Muslims in the US continue to be part of a national debate about the role of religion in public life. In the post-9/11 era, Muslim life in the United States has been considerably securitized and fundamentally changed at sociological and theological levels. This course examines the category of “American Muslims,” with all of its ethno-racial and theological diversity, and seeks to explore the history of Islam in the US as well as the current dynamics shaping American Muslim communities. From conversion to inter-generational shifts in religiosity and identity construction, the course explores a variety of issues from multiple disciplinary perspectives.


RELI 644

Islamic Texts and Contexts

Abdulaziz Sachedina   T  4:30-7:10

The scriptural and traditional texts of Islam, particularly the Qur’an and Hadith, have generated a rich intellectual history of commentary, criticism and analysis. Even as scholars seek to understand them as products of the particular historical contexts in which they emerged, Muslim thinkers and activists continually reappropriate and reinterpret these texts to address new social contexts and challenges. This course introduces, at a graduate level, the foundational texts of Islam; considers different scholarly approaches to this literature; and examines the application and significance of these texts in contemporary Islamic discourses.

Core Course: MA in Middle East and Islamic Studies


RELI 331

Religion in America

John Turner           TR 10:30-11:45

Why did 80% of white American evangelicals vote for Donald Trump? Why don't Mormons drink coffee? Why have some non-Protestant faiths gained broad acceptance in the United States, whereas others have not? These are among the topics students will analyze in the Fall 2017 section of RELI 331. 


RELI 360

Religion and Politics

John Farina            MW 10:30-11:45

Many of today’s debates about religious liberty, religious extremism and terrorism, and the role of religion in civil society are situated at the crossroads of political theory and religion. In this class, we will examine the intellectual roots and history of these debates through classical texts in political theory, including Plato, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Tocqueville, Mazzini, and Brownson, with a particular focus on their views about the role of religion in society. This course will be particularly useful for students interested in political theory, religion, and European and American history.


RELI 315


Catherine Prueitt         TR 1:30-2:45

Imperial conquest, ritual sex, high-stakes philosophical disputes, and divine beings who play with universes as if they were marbles---these might not be the first things that come to mind when you think about Buddhism. Yet, the brilliant world of pre-modern South Asian Buddhism includes all of these, and much more. We'll move beyond the image of a solitary monk meditating on a mountaintop to explore early Buddhist traditions in all of their mind-bending complexity.


CHSS Non-Western Culture requirement

Mason Core Global Understanding requirement


RELI 317


Young-chan Ro       MW 1:30-2:45

The course will study the philosophical, religious and spiritual dimensions of Daoism. The Daoist idea of "nature" and its implications to the ecological issues and the Daoist concept of "non-doing" in relationship to the contemporary socio-political and economic ideas will be discussed. It will also explore the popular aspects of the Daoist tradition including the Daoists practice of meditation, and their attempts to seek longevity and immortality.


RELI 490/631

Sacred as Secular

Young-chan Ro                M  4:30-7:10

What is sacred and what is secular? Is religion concerned more about the sacred than the secular? The traditional dichotomy of “secular” and “sacred” has been critically challenged as we now live in a “secular city” and a “secular age.”  This course is an attempt to discover the nature of sacred and secular by exploring the intrinsic dynamics of these two aspects of human experience. The course will study the significance of secularity found in some of the sacred traditions of East and West and it will also include some contemporary discussions on the nature of sacred and secular.


CHSS Non-Western Culture requirement

CHSS / Religious Studies synthesis requirement

Core Course: MAIS Concentration in Religion, Culture, and Values


RELI 235

Religion and Literature

Religion and Literature courses explore the relationship between religion and literature in different times and cultures, the influence of religion on literary works, and how literature expresses major religious themes such as death and immortality, divine will and justice, suffering and human destiny, and religion and state.


Each section has a unique theme:

Check out the Religious Studies website for more information on each section!

 RELI 235-001: Religion and Literature  -   John Farina

TR 3:00-4:15

RELI 235-002: Religion and Literature  -    TBA

MW 3:00-4:15

RELI 235-003: Religion and Literature  -   Garry Sparks

TR 1:30-2:45

RELI 235-004: Religion and Literature  -   John Burns

MW 12:00-1:15


RELI 100

Human Religious Experience

An examination of fundamental forms of religious expression as embodied in several important religious traditions in contemporary world, the course investigates religious experience; myth and ritual; teachings and scripture; ethical, social, and artistic aspects of religion; and nature and function of religion in human society.


RELI 100-001: Human Relig Experience     David Dakake       MW   12:00-1:15

RELI 100-002: Human Relig Experience     Catherine Prueitt   TR     10:30-11:45

RELI 100-003: Human Relig Experience     TBA                     MW   3:00-4:15

RELI 100-005: Human Relig Experience     David Dakake       MW   1:30-2:45

RELI 100-006: Human Relig Experience     TBA                     TR     3:00-4:15

RELI 100-DL1: Human Relig Experience    Susan Bond           (online/DE)


RELI 211

Religions of the West

An introduction to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam from historical, comparative, and cross-cultural perspectives.


RELI 211-001: Religions of the West          TBA                    MW 1:30-2:45

RELI 211-002: Religions of the West          John Turner          TR 1:30-2:45


RELI 212

Asian Religions

A survey of the religions of India, Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Buddhism, and the religions of the Far East, China, and Japan, including Daosim, Confucianism, Shinto, from origins to present.


RELI 212-002: Religions of Asia               Prabhavati Reddy           TR 1:30-2:45

RELI 212-002: Religions of Asia               TBA                             TR 9:00-10:15











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