Academic Calendar 2021-2022

Religious Studies (RELS)

Not all the courses listed below will be offered in any given year. Applicants should consult the Department about the courses to be offered. All courses are 3.0 credit units except RELS 898, which is 6.0 credit units. 

Required Courses

RELS 800 Professional Development Seminar
Monthly seminar series for building graduate students’ professional academic and alt-academic skills through workshops, Q&As, and presentations about topics including: publishing, conferencing, funding, applying for further graduate study or employment, etc. Topics will be timed to the appropriate point in the cycle of each academic year (i.e. sessions on SSHRC and OGS will occur early in Fall semester). This is a mandatory course. This course is graded on a Pass/Fail basis.

RELS 801     Core Course I: Religion and Modernity     
Examines the nature of religious transition in response to various pressures for religious change.

RELS 802     Core Course II: Theory and Method in Religious Studies     
Looks at recent articulations and applications of theories and methods in Religious Studies.

RELS 898     Master's Essay     
A research essay. The Master's Essay must demonstrate appropriate competence in the application of theoretical and methodological approaches to a suitable research topic in the study of religion. The Master's Essay will not be subject to an oral defence but will normally be read by one member of the department in addition to the essay supervisor.

Dedicated Graduate Courses

Two of these courses will be offered each year.

RELS 808     Readings in Religion I     
Advanced seminar providing detailed reading of one contemporary theme or thinker in Religious Studies.

RELS 809     Readings in Religion II     
Advanced seminar providing detailed reading of one contemporary theme or thinker in Religious Studies.

RELS 884     Feminist Studies and Religious Studies     
Examination of feminist theory and its application to the study of religion.

RELS 885     Religious Fundamentalisms  
eligious fundamentalism is a modern phenomenon not exclusive to any religion. In the past few decades, religious fundamentalist movements have been shaping new social, cultural and political norms in a predominately secular age. The course explores theoretical aspects and examines specific case studies across various religions and cultures. Offered jointly with RELS 385 with additional work required for graduate students. 
EXCLUSION: RELS 385 

RELS 886     Religion and Technology
Examines the connections between religion and the rise of technology in the modern period.

RELS 887     Problems in Ancient Mediterranean Religions     
An interdisciplinary study of the religions and mythical traditions of Mediterranean and Near Eastern cultures from the Bronze Age to Late Antiquity. Topics will vary according to instructor. The course will have special regard for, but not be limited to, the Levant, and the Greek and Roman world. 

Cross-listed Courses

These courses will be offered concurrently with a linked undergraduate course. A maximum of 1.0 courses (6 credit units) from this list is permitted for the M.A.

M.A. students will be required to attend classes with the undergraduate students but will have separate course requirements including additional readings and different assignments.  They will also meet with the instructor on occasion separately from the undergraduate students.

RELS 806     Directed Special Studies 1     
Advanced seminar providing detailed reading in one contemporary theme or thinker in Religious Studies.

RELS 807     Directed Special Studies 2     
Advanced seminar providing detailed reading in one contemporary theme or thinker in Religious Studies.

RELS 810     Modern and Contemporary Christian Thought     
Exemplary work in recent and contemporary Christian theology.

RELS 811     Jesus: The Continuing Historical Quest     
This course provides an introduction to the methods and premises used in the modern quest to understand the historical facts of Jesus life. Particular attention will be given to understanding the historical Jesus in his first-century socio-cultural context. Offered jointly with RELS 311.
EXCLUSION: RELS 311

RELS 812     Christian Feminist Theology     
Issues raised by the feminist critique of traditional Christian theology and feminist attempts at theological reconstruction.

RELS 821     Greek and Roman Religions     
A study of the development and organization of non-civic religious associations in the Greek and Roman empires using inscriptions, papyri, and literary texts. Insight into religious practices of the Greco-Roman period comes through exploration of groups organized by deity, cult, occupation, or ethnic identity, and the so-called mystery religions.

RELS 822     Yoga in India and the West     
Surveys the history and philosophy of yoga in India and the West. Yoga practicum: estimated cost $85.00

RELS 826     Religion and Politics in Muslim Societies     
Explores the role of religion in the politics of Muslim societies with particular attention to the modern period.

RELS 827     Indigenous Traditions in North America 
Introduction to the study of Indigenous traditions in North America.

RELS 828     Interpretation of Apocalyptic Literature     
The primary focus of the course will be the theological perspectives and social functions of apocalyptic in select religious traditions. The course will also survey the appropriation of apocalyptic themes throughout history in artistic forms such as art, fiction, and film, with particular attention to our modern times and cultures. Offered jointly with RELS 328.
EXCLUSION: RELS 328

RELS 831     Religion and Violence     
Links between violence and religious beliefs, practices, and institutions; for example, sacrifice, holy wars, scapegoating, and suicide.

RELS 834     Jewish Views of the Other     
A study of the tensions that come into play as Jews formulated views of the Other to balance co-existence with them. Source materials include authoritative writings of Jewish commentary and law and social scientific views of them.

RELS 840     Religion and Democracy     
Deals with the role of religion in the public sphere and its relation to liberal democracy. It examines the (in)compatibility of some tenets of certain religions with modern democratic principles.

RELS 841 Spirituality, Secularity, and Nonreligion 
A study of concepts intended to summarize positions which are necessarily defined in reference to religion but considered to be other than religious. We explore the origins and presence of perspectives and experiences including the secular, spiritual –but-not-religious, atheistic, and other forms of imitation, indifference, and hostility to religion.

RELS 852     The Contemporary Religious Situation     
Religion in modernity; traditional groups, newer religious movements, contemporary ideologies and social trends of religious significance. Offered jointly with RELS 452.
EXCLUSION: RELS 452

RELS 854     Theory in Religious Studies     
An introduction to major theoretical approaches to the study of religion. Offered jointly with RELS 354.
EXCLUSION: RELS 354

RELS 888 Critical Ethnography in the Study of Religion
The course will engage in the theory and method of ethnography as it has been used in the study of religion. It will engage with various examples of ethnographic case studies, particularly as they interrogate questions of insider/outsider positionalities while exploring ways in which gender, sexuality and race, trauma and safety have been negotiated in various field work projects by religious studies scholars.

RELS 893     Buddhism in the Modern World     
Encounter between Buddhism and the West, major movements and thinkers, and socio-politically engaged Buddhism.

RELS 894     Religion and Politics in Contemporary China     
Examines Chinese and foreign religions in mainland China from 1949 to the present day.  Topics include the status of established religions, the political control of new religious movements and the resurgence of traditional Chinese religion and ideologies including Daoism and Confucianism.

RELS 896     Islam in the Modern World     
Exploration of Islamic developments since the 19th century: major thinkers, trends of thought, and contemporary movements as responses to modernity.

RELS 897     Judaism in the Modern Age     
The development of modern Jewish religious thought and practice, including the Reform, Orthodox, Conservative and Reconstructionist  movements.  The consequences of the Holocaust and the establishment of the modern state of Israel.