Fall 2023 Courses

Fall 2023 Courses

RST 001B Death & The Afterlife
Seth Sanders

RST 023: Intro to Judaism
Eva Mroczek

This course surveys the history, practices, beliefs, texts, and traditions of Judaism both as a global phenomenon and as a part of American culture. Students will examine how various Jewish communities across history and the world have shaped their practices and beliefs within their own specific socio-historical circumstances, and how they have understood their identity as Jews alongside their other racial, ethnic, and cultural identities. Students will critically examine a range of primary sources, and discuss topics like observance of holidays, dietary laws, diverse ideals regarding family life and sexual behavior, and relationships with other religious and cultural groups. Students will explore how Jewish identity, textual traditions, religious practices, race and ethnicity, and political circumstances combine to define “Judaism” differently in diverse times and places. The course will also give students an opportunity to discuss and complicate a foundational question of Religious Studies -- what is a "religion"? -- through the study of Judaism and Jewishness, which has been defined in various contexts not only through the category of religion, but also in terms of race, ethnicity, nationhood, peoplehood, tradition, and culture.

RST 031: Intro to Jainism
Lynna Dhanani

RST 032: History of Yoga
Lynna Dhanani

RST 034: Introduction to Buddhism
Layne Little

RST 040: New Testament
Wendy Terry

RST 66: The Song of God | Bhagavad Gita
Archana Venkatesan

When Oppenheimer witnessed the detonation test of the first nuclear weapon in July 1945, he uttered these famous words: "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of Worlds," a quote from the Bhagavad Gita. How did the famous physicist come to know these words? How did he encounter the Gita? Is the quote accurate? In this course, we will explore the Bhagavad Gita as a global text, exploring its reception within and beyond the Indian subcontinent. We will engage with its history, the social milieu in which it was composed, its reception and the many philosophical strands that it weaves together. 

GE-s: AH, OL, WC, WE

Required Texts

 Laurie Patton. Trans. The Bhagavad Gita. Penguin Classics, 2008.

  • ISBN-10: ‎ 0140447903
  • ISBN-13: ‎ 978-0140447903

 Richard Davis. The Bhagavad Gita: A Biography. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014.

  • ISBN-10: ‎ 0691139962
  • ISBN-13: ‎ 978-0691139968
a poster for rst 66

RST 103: Medieval & Byzantine Christianity
Wendy Terry

RST 120: Religion, Magic, & Science

RST 130: Islamic law (Sharia), Gender, and Religious Authority
Mairaj Syed

RST 154: The Hindu Temple

RST 158/COM 156: Ramayana
Archana Venkatesan
The Ramayana is one of the most famous stories in the world. It is a love story, a tragedy, a meditation on kingship, on ethics, and on war. Endlessly retold in many languages across many borders, given expression in visual and theatrical form, it is a tale that has enthralled audiences, invited counter-tellings, and robust challenges to its ethos. In this course, we will begin with a deep dive into the Valmiki Ramayana, while also exploring tellings in a variety of languages and regions. 
Required Texts:

Arshia Sattar. Valmiki Ramayana (Rowan Littefield)

Robert Goldman and Sally Goldman. The Ramayana of Valmiki: The Complete English Translation (Princeton Library of Asian Translation), Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2022.

poster for rst 158

RST 190: Seminar
Eva Mroczek