School of Religion

Current Course Offerings

This list is subject to revision. Schedules for courses that are co-taught with undergraduate courses will be available in June when the University releases the 2020-2021 Timetable. Courses that are for graduate students only will be scheduled after the University Timetable is released, and throughout the summer as instructor and student schedules are arranged.

Fall 2020

RELS 801 - Core Course I: Religion and Modernity *     

Examines the nature of religious transition in response to various pressures for religious change.

RELS 852 - The Contemporary Religious Situation

This course will provide students with a broad introduction to the sociology of religion by looking at issues like lived religion, secularization, modernity, public religion, and similar topics. Due to the extraordinary situation brought on by COVID-19, this course will be conducted remotely: all lectures will be recorded and posted on OnQ along with PowerPoint slides. Students are not required to be on campus for any part of the course but are expected to keep up to date with readings, participate in online discussions facilitated through OnQ, and submit written assignments to the professor on time. In person office hours will not be held, but the professor is available over email and, if necessary, Teams/Skype.  

RELS 854 - Theory in Religious Studies

This course is an introduction to the major theoretical approaches to the study of religion. The course will consider how the category and study of religion was historically defined, approached and explained by scholars, while considering how colonial, racial, and gendered locations have implicated the study of religion and the idea of religion itself. This course will be a blend of occasional synchronized (via online platform for discussions of readings) and a-synchronized (weekly lectures will be posted and online activities and assignments via OnQ) but the entire course will be delivered remotely and online. Where possible readings will be posted via OnQ. The instructor will also try to ensure digital versions of readings are available.

RELS 888 -  Critical Ethnographies in the Study of Religion *

This seminar explores the strategies and processes of writing culture and religion through the methodology of ethnography. Despite “religion’s” elusive nature, various scholars, such as anthropologists, sociologists, and religious studies scholars continue to produce ethnographies of diverse religious communities. Yet, how does an ethnographer’s location, identities, accessibilities, theoretical leanings and experiences in the field and beyond inform their data collection and knowledge productions? With such questions in mind, this online seminar aims to explore some of these ethnographic productions on the study of religion and culture. This course will be a blend of synchronized (via online platform for discussions of readings) and a-synchronized (select lectures posted, online activities, and ethnographic tasks, such as completing ethnographic work and transcribing interviews) but the entire course will be delivered remotely and online. Where possible readings will be posted via OnQ. The instructor will also try to ensure digital versions of readings are available.

RELS 893 - Buddhism in the Modern World

The course starts with a study of the key tenets of Buddhism and a brief survey of its global history. After that, we focus on Buddhism in the west. In order to understand current debates in Buddhism, we look at the major schools in North America and discuss issues like mindfulness, self-compassion, social engagement, ecology, health, aesthetics and cosmopolitanism. We also look at the commodification of Buddhism, and its role in popular culture. The class will also cover Buddhism inspired comic series like Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha and Takehiko Inoue’s Vagabond. Students will also attend online meditation sessions and encouraged to maintain personal meditation journals. The course doesn’t require any textbook and all the readings will be provided online. Some of the class assignments will include short papers, online discussions and a final research paper.

 

Winter 2021

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 809 - Readings in Religion Il *   
Advanced seminar providing detailed reading of one contemporary theme or thinker in Religious Studies.

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 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.

* restricted to graduate students

More information about our graduate courses can be found in the School of Graduate Studies Academic Calendar.