Current Course Offerings

2022 - 23 Course Offerings

The following undergraduate courses are planned for the 2022-23 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.

RELS 131 World Religions/Religious Worlds 

Introduces religion in India, China and Japan; also the movements of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Humanism.


Fall 2022 Courses

RELS 163/3.0 Religion and Popular Culture

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 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 214/3.0 The New Testament

As religious literature expressing the witness to Jesus; and as source for the history, trends and problems of early Christianity.

RELS 232/3.0 Religion and Social Movements

This course will examine the field of social movements studies, with a particular focus on how religion has played a role in the rise of social movements, how religious communities have been influenced by social movements, and how mobilization and activism around social justice issues is coloured by religion and culture.

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 242/3.0 Objects and Materiality in Indigenous Worlds

The course addresses the sacred or profane status of objects in Indigenous cosmologies. What they are, mean, and do, and how Indigenous persons position themselves in relation to them. This leads to reflections on the object/subject division, the condition of materiality and immateriality, and the resulting nature of spirits in Indigenous worlds. 

RELS 250/3.0 Mythology of Heros

This course examines Heroes, Heroines and Saints and their place in religious consciousness with a variety of examples.

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 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 342/3.0 Indigenous Epistemologies of the Environment

Indigenous epistemologies of the environment (Indig epistemologs environment) The seminar deals with the knowledges and practices through which Indigenous peoples conceptualize and approach what the West calls "Nature". Applying their underlying principles, we further analyze contemporary initiatives to promote interspeciesism, and to grant rights to Nature and legal personhood to different elements of the environment.

RELS 354/3.0 Theory in Religious Studies

An introduction to major theoretical approaches to the study of religion.

RELS 393/3.0 Buddhism in the Modern World

Encounter between Buddhism and the West, major movements and thinkers, and socio-politically engaged Buddhism.

RELS 396/3.0 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 452/3.0 Contemporary Religious Situation

Religion in modernity; traditional groups, newer religious movements, contemporary ideologies and social trends of religious significance.

Winter 2023 Courses

RELS 137/3.0 Religion & Film

This course will explore how religion is portrayed in film, noting particularly the depiction of religious belief, practices, practitioners, and institutions, and the use of religious symbols and metaphors.

RELS 201/3.0 Topics in Religious Studies - Virtual Realities

The metaverse is upon us! But what the heck is reality anyway? A shared hallucination? The dreaming of a brain in a vat? A simulation of some advanced techno-gods? Students in this course will get to explore these questions in virtual reality, using cutting edge VR rigs in the classroom. Using examples from philosophy, pop culture, video games, technology, and science, we will learn about how humans use the constructs of religion to discover, shape, and create worlds and worldviews. Students will gain the use of new skills and technologies for making sense of how we humans experience, interpret, and create the reality(ies) around us.

RELS 218/3.0 Christianity

Introduction to Christianity as a religious tradition through its texts, its history and its contemporary forms.

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 229/3.0 Confucianism

The philosophy, worldview, spirituality and ethics of Confucianism in its classical, modern and contemporary forms.

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 255/3.0 Research Methods in Religious Studies

An investigation into the techniques of critical reading and writing for research in Religious Studies.

RELS 266/3.0 Religion and Social Ethics

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

RELS 301/3.0 Themes in Religion Studies - Religion, Culture, and Death

In this interactive, inquiry-based course students will develop their own research project in order to explore how human beings attempt to live with the dead and to share spaces and lives with those who are no longer alive.

RELS 302/3.0 Traditions in Religious Studies - Judaism and Ecology

It seems we are entering an ecological disaster that our conventional thinking and religious sources cannot help us understand. This class will look at marginal and repressed Jewish sources, to see what the tradition has to offer us as we try to cope with this crisis. 

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 346/3.0 AI, Biohacking, and Future Technology

This course looks at issues raised by the intersection of religion and human enhancement technologies. We will consider categories of biohacking, AI, and possible future technologies including mind uploading. Engaging diverse religious issues, we will consider what it means to be human and “better.”

RELS 401 - Honours Seminar

Advanced seminar providing detailed reading of one contemporary theme or thinker in religious studies.