Current Course Offerings

2024 - 2025 Course Offerings

The following undergraduate courses are planned for the 2024-2025 academic year.

Full Year Courses

RELS 131 World Religions/Religious Worlds **Offered through Arts and Science Online**

In this course students will study some of the world’s major religions, all the while keeping in mind the challenges that come with critically engaging the category “religion.” Studying religion allows students to engage with philosophy, history, literature, politics, fine art, and sociology, and this course gives students the opportunity to begin, at an introductory level, the process of understanding how world religions have both been shaped by and continue to shape global cultures. This course will examine six of the world’s religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, the religions of China, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It will primarily consider these religious traditions in their historical context, looking carefully at their origins, sacred literature, and ritual life, though at times we will consider selected contemporary issues that highlight different religions’ response to modernity. Please note that this course does not include all world religions on account of time and space. Instead the course examines six of the major world religions and introduces a critical framework with which to further study religion in future courses. Students will engage with the course material through online course notes, readings, and multimedia resources. A major advantage of this course is that it fosters learning through both independent study and through small-group learning activities. Students will have access to the instructor and teaching team for individual questions and support.


Fall 2024 Courses

RELS 132/3.0 Western Religions

This course will examine Judaism, Christianity, Islam as well as some indigenous traditions and new religious movements. It will primarily consider these religious traditions in their historical context, looking carefully at their origins, sacred literature, and ritual life, though at times we will consider selected contemporary issues that highlight different religions' response to modernity.

RELS 163/3.0 Popular Culture and Religion

This course will identify and describe characteristics of religion as they appear in popular culture (e.g. fashion; comics; movies; art; music; novels; sitcoms; dramas; video games) and analyze how such depictions present, shape, and create perceptions of religion in public discourse.

RELS 205/3.0 Religion Meets Empire: Global Perspectives **Offered through Arts and Science Online**

Religion and other belief systems played a crucial role in governing empires, ranging from homogenization to accepting diversity - and even to both approaches or strategies in the same empire. This course critically assesses constructions of "religion" as a category and concerning inequality and diversity in global history. PREREQUISITE Level 2 or above or 6.0 units at the 100-level in RELS.

RELS 207/3.0 Religion, Hate and Xenophobia

This course will examine the history of islamophobia, the history of antisemitism, and other kinds of xenophobia related to religion and religious communities around the world. Students will become closely acquainted with the origins of these ideas, how they were articulated in the past, and the ways in which they play out in the contemporary world.

RELS 222/3.0 The Hindu World

Developments through 3,000 years of Indian history; the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, Yoga and Vedanta, mythology of Vishnu and Shiva, and recent Hindu thinkers (e.g., Tagore, Aurobindo).

RELS 226/3.0 Islam

Historical and topical survey of Islam, its development through the study of its rise, institutionalization of its beliefs and practices, formation of its theology, law, mysticism; as well as its modern interpretations and practices.

RELS 235/3.0 Religion and Environment

Examines how religious traditions shape human values and behaviours towards the environment and how environmental problems are shaping the evolution of religious and spiritual traditions.

RELS 240/3.0 Magic, Witchcraft, and the Supernatural

Studies the differences between the categories of religion, magic, witchcraft, the supernatural, etc., as constructed in scholarship, popular culture, and practice. Focuses on examples such as New Religious Movements, depictions of magic in film and TV, and moral panics over alleged occult practices, and the histories that let us make sense of them.

RELS 250/3.0 Mythology of Heroes

Examines how hero stories are formed, transmitted, and function using a variety of source materials from ancient writings through to contemporary cultural expressions.

RELS 284/3.0 God and the Holocaust

"God and the Holocaust" is an interdisciplinary course on the Holocaust's effect on religion, ethics, and politics in the 20th and 21st centuries, which also draws comparative insights from other genocides. It examines the Holocaust's challenges especially concerning understanding of otherness, God, and evil, from both religious and secular perspectives. Additionally, the course explores the impact of the Holocaust on inter-religious dialogues, and critically evaluate the call for a Jewish homeland post-Holocaust.

RELS 314/3.0 Queering Religion

This course examines the complex intersection of gender, sexuality and religion and the ways in which religious traditions have shaped and continue to shape complex notions of gender and sexuality in the modern era. It considers a review of feminist, gender studies and queer theories, thereafter we will apply these concepts to case studies.

RELS 332/3.0 Race, Ethnicity and Religion

The course will explore the intersection of race, ethnicity, and religion, alongside gender, sexuality, culture and more. It will challenge students to think about how racial identities, theories, and movements implicate(d) the way religious communities construct their own systems and worldviews.

RELS 354/3.0 Theory in Religious Studies

An introduction to major theoretical approaches to the study of religion, and training in the critical reading and writing techniques needed for religious studies.

RELS 367/3.0 Medicine, Ethics and Religion

The aim of this course is to provide an overview of some ethical issues that arise at the intersection of biomedicine and religion. These ethical issues include moral distress, consent, beginning of life issues, indigeneity and healing, medically assisted death, gene editing, and anti-aging interventions.


Winter 2025 Courses

RELS 133/3.0 Eastern Religions

This course will examine a host of religions from the "east". It will primarily consider these religious traditions in their historical context, looking carefully at their origins, sacred literature, and ritual life, though at times we will consider selected contemporary issues that highlight different religions' response to modernity.

RELS 162/3.0 Religion, News and Media

This course will identify and describe characteristics of religion as they appear in news reports of social, political, and economic aspects of public life and analyze how the news presents, shapes, and creates perceptions of religion in public discourse.

RELS 221/3.0 New Religious Movements

All religions were once new, small, and unusual to the cultures around them - often therefore attracting suspicion. This course examines the practices, beliefs, and histories of several NRMs, and why some gain legitimacy while others get derided as "cults." Doing so illuminates broader processes like mythmaking, Othering, and (de)secularization.

RELS 227/3.0 Indigenous Religious Traditions

Introduction to the study of the Indigenous religious experience in Canada and abroad.

RELS 234/3.0 Judaism

An introduction to the self-definition of Judaism through an analysis of the concepts of God, Torah and Israel past and present. Also, a preliminary study of the struggles facing Jews in Europe, the State of Israel and North America.

RELS 266/3.0 Religion and Social Ethics

Moral problems and religious responses: e.g., sexual morality; violence; civil disobedience.

RELS 296/3.0 Islam in Canada

This course examines the historical and contemporary expressions of Islam in Canada. Starting from early Muslim migrants to Canada to current issues of media representations, Islamophobia, and gender and sexuality, as they are unfolding in Canadian contexts for Muslims.

RELS 328/3.0 Apocalypse

The primary focus of the course will be the theological perspectives and social functions of apocalypse 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.

RELS 345/3.0 Religion and Art

An examination of discursive, historiographical, and affective aspects of a variety of historical and contemporary artistic expressions (e.g., painting, sculpture, video) through the lens of Religious Studies.

NOTE Field Trip (National Gallery of Canada): estimated cost $55

RELS 347/3.0 Gender and Sexuality in Islam

This course explores conversations regarding women, gender, and sexuality in Islam from classical to the modern period. This is a survey course that utilizes gender and religious studies theories. We will engage with textual traditions of Muslim women and contemporary treatment of women and queer Muslims in Muslim societies.

RELS 356/3.0 Christianity and American Politics

Christianity has significantly shaped U.S. politics, policies, and societal norms. The course examines this impact, especially in light of the constitutional separation of church and state. It delves into how Christian beliefs influence political ideologies and legislation, and its role in shaping voter perceptions and behaviors. The course also addresses the ethics of religious influence in politics, policy-making, and electoral processes, and its global implications, particularly in foreign policy and international relations.