Fall 2018 Courses

All Zones

REL 7-10 WHAT IS RELIGION (4)  44867 *
PROF. MONICA MILLER
PROF. CHRISTOPHER DRISCOLL
The word “religion” is fairly recent in origin, its linguistic roots unclear, and the phenomena that it has been used to designate both vast and amorphous. This course explores some of the most prominent attempts to define “religion,” definitions produced both by religious thinkers and by critics of religion. We will examine some of the methods used by scholars to study religion. Finally, we will ask how the meaning of the world may be shifting in a modern, secular age. (HU) Zones: ALL ZONES

Technology

REL/GS 090-11 MUSLIMS AND MEDIA (4) 44077/43787 BR*
FRESHMAN SEMINAR
PROF. ROBERT ROZEHNAL
Amid the global "war on terror"; media coverage of Islam and Muslims dominates news headlines around the world. At the same time, studies show the vast majority of Americans know virtually nothing about the basic facts of Islamic history, beliefs and practices—and the realities of everyday Muslim life around the world. Using webpages, social media and films, this course explores how Muslims are portrayed in popular media narratives. With attention to a variety of cross-cultural and transnational settings, we also examine how tech-savvy Muslims deploy media to give voice to their own experiences. Topics include: Islamophobia, Islamic law, political Islam and terrorism, gender debates, music and pop culture, artistic and literary expressions, and Sufism. (HU) Zones: Technology, Globalization, Identity

Globalization

REL/ASIA/GS 119-10 THE PODCAST AND THE LOTUS (4) 44218/44219/44220 AP*
PROF. ANNABELLA PITKIN (Writing Intensive)
Buddhism is increasingly a global phenomenon. Contemporary Buddhist teachers stay in touch with students via podcasts, WeChat, Twitter and Facebook. Buddhists from Singapore, Tibet, Japan, Mexico, Taiwan or Pennsylvania now meet via new technology. This class asks, how is Buddhism now a global religion? What effect has this had? How is Buddhism a “modern" religion? Students explore issues of conversion, modernity, globalization, new technology, migration and travel. Sources include autobiography, film, travel writing, political essays, interviews, social media, ethnography . (HU) Zones: Technology, Globalization, Transformation, Ethics, Identity
 
REL/GS/JST 161-10 GLOBALIZATION IN THE ANCIENT MEDITERRANEAN 44074/44076/44075 BE*
PROF. BENJAMIN WRIGHT
We often think of globalization as a modern phenomenon. Yet as early as the twelfth century BCE, transportation, trade, political and religious networks tied the Mediterranean basin together. This course will examine in three periods-the Late Bronze Age, the Hellenistic period, and the Roman period-how these networks were organized and how they affected a range of Mediterranean and Near Eastern peoples. We will use some modern approaches to globalization as analytical tools for understanding the ancient world. (HU) Zone: Globalization

Identity

REL/JST 90-10 (MIS)REPRESENTING THE BIBLE IN AMERICA (4) 43342/43917 BW*
FRESHMAN SEMINAR
PROF. BENJAMIN WRIGHT
The Bible appears in many contemporary public contexts other than religious ones, film, literature, and politics being the most common. In this course, students will examine how the Bible is used (and abused) in the contemporary world (both in religious and secular contexts), focusing particularly on how the Bible is interpreted and how the Bible’s ancient historical and cultural contexts illuminate these interpretations. Possible topics include the Bible and science, the Bible and human sexuality, the Museum of the Bible (Washington, DC). Zones: Identity (HU)
 
REL/JST/THTR 177-10 JEWS AND THE BROADWAY MUSICAL (4) 44209/44211/44212 EL*
PROF. JODI EICHLER-LEVINE
The history of American musical theater is deeply interwoven with the history of American Jews. This course examines how Jews have taken part in musical theater on multiple levels-as composers, lyricists, producers, and performers, among other roles. It also examines how Jews are depicted in Broadway musicals, with particular attention to gender and ethnicity. (HU) Zones: Identity, History

Conflict

REL/GS 143-10 RELIGIOUS NATIONALISM IN A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE 44213/44214 (4) KH*
PROF. KHURRAM HUSSAIN
Religion has become a renewed political force on the world stage in recent years. This course will focus on how religion has often provided both the Ideological language and the organizing principles for many modern nationalisms. Our exploration of this topic will take the form of case studies from various parts of the world, including but not limited to Pakistan, Israel, No. Ireland, India, Iran and USA. (HU/BUG) Zones: Globalization, Conflict, Identity

Ethics

REL/HMS 2-10   DEATH AND DYING: RELIGIOUS AND ETHICAL    LS  PERSPECTIVES (4)      44228/44229  *                              
PROF. LLOYD STEFFEN
Introduces students to the study of religion, world religious traditions and ethics through an exploration of death and dying.  Rituals, practices and texts focused on death provide the basis for comparative study of Asian and Western religious approaches to the meaning and mystery of death as it confronts individuals and communities.  Attention will also be given to moral justification for deaths brought about by human actions (i.e., killings).  Specific issues include suicide, war deaths, abortion, euthanasia and state-sponsored execution.   (HU) Zones: Ethics, Transformation, Conflict

REL/HMS/PHIL 116-10 BIOETHICS (4) 43801/43800/43799  AY*
PROF. PATRICK CONNOLLY
Moral issues that arise in the context of health care and related biomedical fields in the United States today, examined in the light of the nature and foundation of moral rights and obligations. Topics include: confidentiality, informed consent, euthanasia, medical research and experimentation, genetics, and the distribution of health care. (HU) Zone: Ethics
 
REL 149-10 MODERN ISLAMIC ETHICS 44217 (4)*
PROF. KHURRAM HUSSAIN
This course will focus on developments in Islamic thinking and ethics that emerge from the modern encounter between Muslim societies and the West. We will discuss Islamic modernism and fundamentalism through short primary texts from a variety of modern Muslim thinkers. (HU) Zones: Ethics, Identity
 
REL/HMS/PHIL 195-10/11 BIOETHICS AND THE LAW (4) 43545/43548/44095 DD*
PROF. DENA S. DAVIS
Students in this course will learn something about the foundations and (nontechnical) workings of the American system of justice, and will combine that understanding with a focus on various topics in bioethics, from the “right to die” to gene-patenting. A key point will be the understanding that, as science and medicine continually move forward, there are always new challenges to existing legal understanding. How should the law respond to new questions, e.g. inheritance rights of posthumously conceived children? (HU) Zones: Ethics, Technology

Environment

REL 187-10 SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND THE RELIGIOUS IMAGINATION 44276 (4)*
PROF. MICHAEL RAPOSA
Impact of the scientific and technological culture on the Western religious imagination. Roots of science and technology in religious ideas and images. Ways of knowing and concepts of experience in religion and science. (HU) Zones: Technology, Globalization, Environment, History
 
REL/ASIA/ES 254-10 BUDDHISM AND ECOLOGY 44221/44222/44223 AN
PROF. ANNABELLA PITKIN (Writing Intensive)
Buddhism’s intellectual, ethical, and spiritual resources are reexamined in light of contemporary environmental problems. Is Buddhism the most green of the major world religions? What are the moral implications of actions that affect the environment? (HU) Zones: Environment, Globalization, Ethics, Conflict, Transformation, History

Transformation

REL/JST 174-10 MODERN THEOLOGY (4) 44225/44226 MI*
PROF. MICHAEL RAPOSA
Major 20th century movements within Christian and Jewish theology understood as responses to the problems of modern times. May be repeated for credit as the subject matter changes. (HU) Zones: Identity, Ethics, Transformation

History

REL/JST/PHIL 129 JEWISH PHILOSOPHY (4) 43561/43562/43576 AZ *
PROF. ROSYLN WEISS
Consideration of how major Jewish thinkers from the first to 21 st centuries confronted questions at the intersection of religion and philosophy: the existence and nature of God, free will, evil, divine providence, miracles, creation, revelation, and religious obligation. (HU) Zones: Ethics, History
 
REL/JST/HIST 154-10 THE HOLOCAUST: HISTORY AND MEANING (4) 43635/43643/43636 FF*
PROF. NITZAN LEBOVIC
The Nazi Holocaust in its historical, political and religious setting. Emphasis upon the moral, cultural and theological issues raised by the Holocaust. (HU, BUG) Zone: History