Winter 2013

Course CRN Title Instructor
RST 1E - Topic: "Fundamentalism" F. Miller
  73334 (sec. 1, Discussion Section)  
  73335 (sec. 2, Discussion Section)  
  73336 (sec. 3, Discussion Section)  
  73337 (sec. 4, Discussion Section)  
RST 11 73338 Ethical Eating A. Coudert
RST 12 - The Emergence of Judaism, Christianity and Islam W. Terry
  73371 (sec. 1, Discussion Section)  
  73372 (sec. 2, Discussion Section)  
  73373 (sec. 3, Discussion Section)  
  73374 (sec. 4, Discussion Section)  
RST 30 73340 Religions of South Asia M. Elmore
RST 60 73341 Introduction to Islam B. Tezcan
RST 110 73342 Life, Meaning, and Identity M. Elmore
RST 120 73343 Religion, Magic and Science A. Coudert
RST 141B 73344 New Testament Literature: John W. Terry
RST 150 73345 Religious Ethics M. O'Keefe
RST 161 73346 Modern Islam F. Miller


Religious Studies 1E. Topics in Comparative Religions: "Fundamentalism"
Prof. Flagg Miller,

Lecture: TR 3:10-4:30P, 118 Olson* (NEW ROOM)

Discussion Sections:
Sec. 1 (W 3:10-4:00P, 207 Wellman) CRN 73334
Sec. 2 (W 4:10-5:00P, 101 Wellman) CRN 73335
Sec. 3 (R 9:00-9:50A, 229 Wellman) CRN 73336
Sec. 4 (R 10:00-10:50A, 209 Wellman) CRN 73337

Course Description: Introduction to the global and comparative study of religious fundamentalism. Historical origins, basic texts, cultural contexts of fundamentalist strains of Christianity and Islam, with additional attention to Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Emphasis on fundamentalism and science, textual interpretation, colonialism, nationalism, media, gender and terrorism.  Attention given throughout to the ways studies of fundamentalism reflect broader trends in religious studies.

Prerequisite:  None.

GE credits (Old): ArtHum, Div and Wrt.
GE credits (New): ArtHum or SocSci, Oral Literacy, Visual Literacy, and WrtExp.

Format: Lecture - 3 hours; Discussion - 1 hour.


  • Ed. Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby, Accounting for Fundamentalisms: The Dynamic Character of Movements (University of Chicago Press, 2004)
  • Brian Malley, How the Bible Works: An Anthropological Study of Evangelical Biblicism (AltaMira Press, 2004)

Religious Studies 11. Ethical Eating
Prof. Allison Coudert,

Lecture: MWF 9:00-9:50A, 113 Hoagland* (NEW ROOM)
CRN 73338

Course Description: In every culture food lies at the center of a complex value system that involves religious beliefs and rituals, social hierarchies, and gender distinctions. Food is the cement that binds groups together, but it also separates individuals according to age, wealth, status, and sex. Far from a natural product, food is a social construction and can only be “read” in specific cultural contexts. For example, the great 19th century French historian Jules Michelet attributed the French revolution to the consumption of coffee, but today coffee signifies the rest and relaxation associated with “coffee breaks.” Food connects the living with the dead and even with the gods. While the food that mothers provide will keep one alive, only male food offers eternal life. Food taboos are a central aspect of ancient as well as modern cultures and religions. Why do some foods pollute and not others? What makes us cringe at the thought of eating grasshoppers and worms, while other people relish both? And why are foods gendered, even eroticized? Finally, we are not only what we eat, but we are how we eat and how we produce, distribute, and consume the food we eat. What, for example, does a “chicken nugget” tell us about modern food, modern life, and modern eating habits? It is the purpose of this course to introduce students to the complex and varied ethical, religious, and cultural meanings food has had across the centuries and globe.


GE credits (Old): ArtHum, Div and Wrt.
GE credits (New): ArtHum, Oral Literacy, Visual Literacy, World Cultures, and WrtExp.

Format: Lecture - 3 hours; Extensive Writing.


  • Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All American Meal (Mariner Books, 2012)

Religious Studies 12. The Emergence of Judaism, Christianity and Islam
Prof. Wendy Terry,

Lecture: MWF 10:00-10:50A, 6 Olson

Discussion Sections:
Sec. 1 (W 3:10-4:00P, 209 Wellman) CRN 73371
Sec. 2 (W 4:10-5:00P, 207 Wellman) CRN 73372
Sec. 3 (R 3:10-4:00P, 90 SocSci) CRN 73373
Sec. 4 (R 4:10-5:00P, 90 SocSci) CRN 73374

Course Description: This class covers the period of time from the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE to the mid 600s. This period saw fundamental transformations in the religion of the Mediterranean and Near Eastern worlds, transformations that inform culture and religion to this very day. The period saw the spread of an allegiance to a single God, the emergence of heaven and hell. It also saw the rise of traditions we now call Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. This course is an introduction to a critical examination of these changes. It focuses on understanding religious change in general. Why do new traditions emerge? How do political struggles and economic conditions inform religious changes? How do new traditions justify themselves against older ones?

Prerequisite: None.

GE credits (Old): ArtHum, Div and Wrt.
GE credits (New): ArtHum, Oral Literacy, World Cultures, and WrtExp.

Format: Lecture - 3 hours; Discussion - 1 hour.


  • Martin S. Jaffee, Early Judaism: Religious Worlds of the First Judaic Millennium(University Press of Maryland, 2005)
  • Joseph H. Lynch, Early Christianity: A Brief History (Oxford University Press, 2009)
  • Fred M. Donner, Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010)

Religious Studies 30. Religions of South Asia
Prof. Mark Elmore,

TR 9:00-10:20A, 26 Wellman
CRN 73340

Course Description: The goal of this course is to introduce students to the vibrant religious traditions of South Asia. The course will examine Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, and Jain traditions as well as the ancient and modern contexts in which they are situated. In order to guide our inquiries, we will focus on four major historical periods when the structure and function of daily life in South Asia changed radically (the emergence of asceticism, the definition and defense of tradition, communal interrelations, and confrontations with modernity.).  Each of these innovations contributed significantly to what are now recognized as the religions of South Asia.
    Among other things, this course seeks to reexamine the multiple pasts of South Asia without projecting modern categories onto those diverse traditions and practices. Accordingly, we will examine Upanisadic texts and the four noble truths as more than tenants of ‘Hinduism’ or ‘Buddhism.’ Throughout the course we will ask how appropriate these concepts are for understanding the premodern traditions of South Asia. The class will include extensive use of visual resources in addition to traditional texts.

Prerequisite:  None.

GE credits (Old): ArtHum, Div and Wrt.
GE credits (New): ArtHum, Visual Literacy, World Cultures, WrtExp.

Format: Lecture - 3 hours; Term Paper.


  • Hillary Rodrigues, Introducing Hinduism (Routledge, 2006)
  • Rupert Gethin, The Foundations of Buddhism (Oxford University Press, 1998)
  • Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of Understanding: Commentaries on the Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra (Parallax Press, 1988)

Religious Studies 60. Introduction to Islam
Prof. Baki Tezcan,

TR 1:40-3:00P, 1130 Hart
CRN 73341

Course Description: This course aims to introduce the students to topics that are central to the Islamic tradition, such as Muhammad, the Qur’an, Islamic law, theology, philosophy, cosmology, worship, and mysticism. Other areas that will be visited include race and gender in Islam, Islamic revival, and varying experiences of Islam in different historical and cultural settings, including the contemporary US.

Prerequisite:  None.

GE credits (Old): ArtHum or SocSci, Div and Wrt.
GE credits (New): ArtHum, World Cultures, and WrtExp.

Format: Lecture/Discussion - 3 hours; Extensive Writing.


  • Ed. Jamal J. Elias, Key Themes for the Study of Islam (Oneworld, 2010)

Religious Studies 110. Life, Meaning, and Identity
Prof. Mark Elmore,

TR 1:40-3:00P, 141 Olson
CRN 73342

Course Description: This course is an experiment in thinking, teaching, and learning.   In the class, we will develop three lines of inquiry.  The first offers a broad outline of existentialist philosophy; we will use texts from Martin Heidegger, Jean Paul Sartre, and Paul Tillich, to reflect on the human condition, the formulation of meaning, and our confrontation with death.  To facilitate the comprehension of these difficult thinkers, we will read these texts alongside a series of films, select readings from contemporary Buddhist sources, and several short articles that address issues of contemporary concern (things like our use of anxiolytics, current research into “junk DNA,” the moral hazard of debt, and why so many college graduates end up living with their parents).  In the process, it will become clear that understanding these thinkers requires a mode of engagement transcending the listen-memorize-repeat pattern of education.  It requires intensive self-scrutiny and self-examination.
    The telos of this effort is not simply the accumulation of knowledge.  These thinkers are not interested in convincing you of their viewpoint. To put it another way, this class attempts to use an examination of the question “what are we now?”, of what it means to be a human being in 2013, in order to help each of you formulate a response to these simple questions: Who am I?  What do I want?  What do I value?  This class is not about the meaning of life.  It is about the meaning of your life for you (and mine for me).  For existentialists, there is no other meaning.  One point of clarification:  despite how this introduction may sound, this is not a self-help seminar on life optimization.  There will be no seven steps to anywhere and I can almost guarantee that several of you will experience this class as a crisis.  If you are not ready to study yourself as you organic chemistry structures, this class may not be for you.

If there weren’t light, the curve of the breast wouldn’t blind you, 
and in the swerve of the thighs a smile wouldn’t keep on going 
toward the place where the seeds are.
If there weren’t light, this stone would look cut off 
where it drops clearly from the shoulders, 
its skin wouldn’t gleam like the fur of a wild animal.
And the body wouldn’t send out light from every edge as a star does:
For there is no place at all that isn’t looking at you.
You must change your life.”
- Rainier Maria Rilke, Archaic Torso of Apollo from New Poems

Prerequisite:  RST 1 or RST 2 or upper division standing.

GE credits (Old): None.
GE credits (New): ArtHum and WrtExp.

Format: Lecture/Discussion - 3 hours; Term Paper.


  • Walter Kaufmann, Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre (New American Library, 1975)
  • Thomas E. Wartenburg, Existentialism: A Beginner's Guide (Oneworld, 2008)
  • Thich Nhat Hanh and Robert Ellsberg, Thich Nhat Hanh: Essential Writings (Orbis Books, 2001)
  • Don DeLillo, White Noise (Penguin Classics, 2009)

Religious Studies 120. Religion, Magic and Science (Cross-listed with STS 120)
Prof. Allison Coudert,

MWF 12:10-1:00P, 223 Olson
CRN 73343

Course Description: Find out why some people believed that the blood of a goat would crack a diamond. And why Robert Boyle, a devout Christian and the “father” of modern chemistry sent money and gifts to a “Chinese gentleman” named “Pursafeda,” who exhibited flasks containing a developing homunculus, a five-month-old foal, and a fox. What does this tell us about the relationship between religion, magic and science in the pre-modern world? More importantly, find out why modern science as we know it developed in the West and only in the West, although there were strong scientific traditions in other cultures and parts of the world (Greece, India, China, the Islamic World). What was the “Scientific Revolution?” Was there even such a thing? And why do many people to this day claim that the Enlightenment was anything but enlightening and deny evolution? Topics to be explored include: how has magic been defined and who defines it; the rise of science in the West and the contribution of Christianity and Islam; the European witch hunts; the trial of Galileo; the debate over Darwin; and finally, we will look at contemporary evaluations of science— especially the developing field of “Transhumanism”—and investigate why its proponents think that science and technology can make us smarter, healthier, happier, and more fulfilled, while its detractors predict an apocalyptic scenario of dehumanization and the end of society as we know it. Clearly, we have many interesting as well as contentious issues to think about during the quarter!

Prerequisite:  None.

GE credits (Old): ArtHum, Div and Wrt.
GE credits (New): ArtHum, Oral Literacy, Visual Literacy, World Cultures, and WrtExp.

Format: Lecture - 3 hours; Extensive Writing.


  • Allison Coudert, Religion, Magic, and Science in Early Modern Europe and America(Praeger, 2011)

Religious Studies 141B. New Testament Literature: John
Prof. Wendy Terry,

MW 2:10-4:00P, 141 Olson
CRN 73344

Course Description: Life and thought of the early Church as reflected by the Johannine Tradition—the Gospel and letters of John.

Prerequisite:  RST 40.

GE credits (Old): ArtHum and Wrt.
GE credits (New): ArtHum, World Cultures, and WrtExp.

Format: Lecture - 3 hours; Discussion - 1 hour.


  • Students will be using a selection of essays and articles

Religious Studies 150. Religious Ethics
Prof. Meaghan O'Keefe,

TR 4:40-6:00P, 141 Olson
CRN 73345

Course Description: This course examines religious perspectives on ethical dilemmas that arise in pluralistic societies. Because the United States, and particularly California, has become increasingly diverse in terms of religious practice this means that as citizens affected by and interested in public policy we have to figure out how to straddle the line between respecting religious ethics and creating fair and equitable public policy.  Part of this process is learning about and understanding religious traditions outside of our own as well as deepening our understanding of those that are more familiar. Guided by these concerns, in this course you will become familiar with various ethical traditions, research their histories, and formulate academic arguments about religious ethics.

Prerequisite: RST 10 recommended.

GE credits (Old): None.
GE credits (New): ArtHum and WrtExp.

Format: Lecture/Discussion - 3 hours; Term Paper or Discussion.


  • Charles Mathewes, Understanding Religious Ethics (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010)

Religious Studies 161. Modern Islam
Prof. Flagg Miller,

TR 10:30-11:50A, 105 Olson
CRN 73346

Course Description: This course is designed to provide you with a range of analytic perspectives on modern Islamic thought, society, and politics.  Special attention will be given to discussions on the nature of moral authority and its relation to concepts of tradition.  Through case studies of societies across the Islamic world, and especially in the Middle East and North Africa, we will develop a tool-set for analyzing how various forms of political organization draw from traditions of Muslim moral inquiry and redeploy them in contemporary life.  Special emphasis on media culture will be sustained throughout the course, and will provide a comparative framework for exploring changes in notions of political community.

Prerequisite: RST 60 or consent of instructor.

GE credits (Old): ArtHum, Div, and Wrt.
GE credits (New): ArtHum, World Cultures, and WrtExp.

Format: Lecture/Discussion - 3 hours; Term Paper.


  • Faisal Devji, Landscapes of the Jihad: Militancy, Morality, Modernity (Cornell University Press, 2006)
  • Dale Eickelman and James Piscatori, Muslim Politics (Princeton University Press, 1996)