Summer Sessions 2020 Expanded Course Description

Summer Session I, 2020

RST 006—Introduction to Health Sciences & the Humanities (4 units)

GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, SS, WE.

Instructor: Lauren R. Eastland

Course Description:

What is the relationship between religion and medicine? How do followers of various religions in the U.S. today approach questions of health, disease, medicine, and healing? This course focuses on how followers of various religions in the U.S. today, such as Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Buddhists, and Christians, and Native Americans approach the questions of health, disease, medicine, and healing. We will explore a variety of topics that illustrate the need for cultural sensitivity in the health sciences, with particular attention to the role religion plays in constructing people’s beliefs about health, disease, and healing. Does soul loss cause illness? Do all cultures distinguish between physical and mental illness? Is there a place for shamans in the Western medical setting? Can psychedelics treat addiction and depression? How do we deal with indigenous medical practices viewed as “harmful” in the U.S.? Is organ donation compatible with religion? How do different cultures approach the elderly and end-of-life care? By considering alternative belief systems and striving to understand how patients’ cultural backgrounds influence their attitudes toward medical care, health-science professionals can improve both medical and social outcomes.

Summer Session II 2020

RST 042 Religion and Science Fiction

Della Campion

How does science fiction depict religion? Further, how does science fiction use religion as a vehicle to not only tell a story, but to make statements about the very nature of organized belief, and human behavior?  In this class we will specifically focus on stories that deal with power and authority, charismatic leadership, societal control, and new religious movements. We will do so through multiple mediums such as novels, short stories, film, television and video. We will also explore theories of power and leadership, and consider  belief and actions when looking at religion and society.

RST 145: Contemporary American Religions

M/T/W 11-1:15

4 Units- no prereqs required

Summary: Over the course of our six weeks together, we will explore the many ways in which different groups of people in the United States express their religious lives. We will begin our study in Native American traditions that are, despite decades of racist attacks, still very much alive. We will then move into a broad exploration of the world's religious traditions that have made a home in the United States. By asking ourselves the critical question of 'what makes a religious expression specifically American?', we will examine the religious identities of traditions across the country.

Learning Goal: Students will begin to understand the contemporary history (20th and 21st Centuries) of American Indigenous traditions, European/colonizing religions, counter-religions, and non-religious faith expressions.


Students will…

  • Examine the history of Evangelicalism as it developed within the US. 
  • Examine the history of race within the US. 
  • Apply developing knowledge on the field to contemporary issues of race and Christianity
  • Analyze and evaluate the effects of the relationship between evolving evangelical and racial identities on individuals and society more broadly.