Religious Studies Courses - Fall 2021

Undergraduate Courses

RST 001A: Pilgrimage
Prof. Archana Venkatesan

Lecture—3 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). Introduction to comparative religion, focusing on the theme of pilgrimage in different religious traditions. Not open to students who have taken RST 003A. GE credit: AH, WC, WE.

RST 005: Comparative Religion
Prof. Seth Sanders

Lecture—2 hour(s). Comparative Religion based on rotating topics such as Dreams and Revelations, Evil, Prophecy, Salvation, and Crime and Punishment. May be repeated for credit when topic differs. GE credit: AH, WE.

RST 010 (2 units) & 010A (2 units): Ethics
Yael Teff-Seker

Students may enroll in RST 010 alone or in conjunction with RST 010A

The course examines the relationship between society, politics, and natural resources and values, with a focus on environmental conflict and cooperation in the Middle East, in addition to cases from the US and the world. The course aims to provide the students with basic knowledge of theories, models, and ideas pertaining to environmental conflict, its management, prevention, and resolution; familiarity with exemplary cases, both local and global; a forum for discussing burning contemporary issues concerning politics and environment; and opportunities for personal research in the field. The course uses projects, exercises, and simulation (including a peacebuilding simulation app) to encourage students to actively participate in the creation and analysis of knowledge, as well as promote independent, ethical, and critical thinking.

RST 030: South Asian Religions
Prof. Archana Venkatesan

Lecture—3 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). Introduction to South Asian religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Jainism and Sikhism. Traces historical developments from Vedic texts and their ascetic reformulation by sages such as Yajnavalkya, Siddhartha Gautama, and Mahavira into our global present. GE credit: AH, VL, WC, WE.

RST 040: New Testament
Wendy Terry

Lecture—3 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). New Testament literature from critical, historical, and theological perspectives. GE credit: AH, WC, WE.

RST 060: Intro to Islam
Prof. Mairaj Syed

Lecture/Discussion—3 hour(s); Term Paper/Discussion—1 hour(s). Introduction to topics central to the Islamic tradition. Muhammad, the Qur'an, Islamic law, theology, philosophy, cosmology, worship, and mysticism. Race and gender in Islam, Islamic revival, and varying experiences of Islam in different historical and cultural settings. GE credit: AH, SS, WC, WE.

RST 103: Medieval & Byzantine Christianity
Wendy Terry

Lecture—3 hour(s); Term Paper. Prerequisite(s): Consent of Instructor. Christianity in Europe and the Near East from the year 600 to 1450. Focus on the development of Catholic and Orthodox traditions in ritual, art, and thought, with attention to interactions between regional groups, and Christian interaction with Islam. GE credit: AH, WC, WE.

RST 110: Meaning & Identity
Prof. Naomi Janowitz

Lecture/Discussion—3 hour(s); Term Paper. Prerequisite(s): Upper division standing. Study of religious lives, the quest for meaning and for personal identity; how religions frame the problems of life; how cultural and personal crises affect youthful identity; the nature and structure of dreams, myths, and ideals. GE credit: AH, WE.

RST 132: Topics in Ancient Religion
Prof. Seth Sanders

Lecture/Discussion—3 hour(s); Term Paper. Prerequisite(s): Consent of Instructor. Thematic study of specific sociological, literary or theological theme across the religious traditions of the ancient Mediterranean/Near East: Greek and Roman religions, Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, etc. Topics may include creation, sacrifice, priesthoods, prophecies, holy books, the afterlife. May be repeated up to 2 Time(s) when topic differs. GE credit: AH, WC, WE.

RST 139: Many Yogas: Yoga in Text, Image, and Practice
Prof. Lynna Dhanani

This class examines the many texts, beliefs, images, and practices associated with the single term yoga, in contexts “religious” and “secular,” past and present. The all-pervasive images of yogis in fixed posture or deep contemplation permeate South Asian art and the modern imaginaire. Throughout the more than 2,000 years of past yogic practice, Muslims, Buddhists, Jains, Hindus, Sikhs, Jews, Christians, atheists and other communities have all adapted yoga to their belief systems. Throughout the quarter, we will trace the expansion and transformation of yoga through its interactions with Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, and Islamic traditions specifically. We will examine orientalist representations of yoga, as well as the influence of colonialism and modern physical cultures on the evolution of modern yoga. The course concludes by looking at modern debates around questions such as “Is Yoga a religion?” and “Is Yoga Hindu?”

RST 154: The Hindu Temple
Layne Little

Lecture—3 hour(s); Term Paper. Comparative history of architecture and symbolism of the Hindu Temple in India, Southeast Asia and the United States. Attention to the temple as expression of religious knowledge, political authority, and cultural heritage through the lens of colonialism and postcolonialism. (Same course as AHI 154.)

RST 172: Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism
Layne Little

Lecture/Discussion—3 hour(s); Term Paper. Doctrines and methods of the Ch'an Buddhism, both ancient and modern. Review of ritual techniques, including meditation.

RST 190: Seminar
Mairaj Syed

Seminar—3 hour(s); Term Paper. Prerequisite(s): Consent of Instructor. Allows majors to integrate their disciplined study of the field. Emphasis on current scholarly debate about the methods for analyzing and comparing diverse religious traditions. May be repeated up to 1 Time(s) when topic and faculty differ.