Winter 2023

Winter 2023 Courses

Undergraduate Courses

RST 001: Survey of Religion
Prof. Wendy Terry

RST 001E: Fundamentalism
Prof. Flagg Miller

RST 006: Introduction to Health Sciences & The Humanities
Prof. Meaghan O Keefe

RST 021: The Bible & Its Interpreters
Prof. Seth Sanders

RST 060: Introduction to Islam
Prof. Mairaj Syed

RST 069: Hindu Mythology
Prof. Layne Little

RST 141C: New Testament Literature: Paul
Prof. Wendy Terry

RST 152: Justice, Equity, & Privacy in Medical Humanities
Prof. Meaghan O Keefe

RST 155A Bhakti: Indian Devotional Traditions to 1200 CE
Prof. Archana Venkatesan

Course Description

This course explores the texts and textures of bhakti Hinduism, often translated as devotional Hinduism. To understand what devotion (bhakti) means, what it demands, and all it encompasses for the devotee, we will enter the imagination of foundational poets, of gods and sacred worlds that their words breathe into being, and the afterlives of these poems in commentary, performance, and art. Taking a chronological approach, we will trace the story of bhakti from an early Sanskrit articulation in the Bhagavad Gītā to focus on its formative periods in southern India (6-1200 CE). In doing so, we will seek to understand how and why bhakti becomes the dominant mode of religious expression within Hinduism.

Course Texts (covered by Equitable Access)

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

Endless Song. Nammāḻvār’s Tiruvāymoḻi. Trans. Archana Venkatesan. Penguin Classics, 2020. Paperback

The Secret Garland: Andal’s Tiruppavai and Nacciyar Tirumoli. Trans. Archana Venkatesan. HarperCollins, 2016. Paperback

Krishna: The Beautiful Legend of God (Śrimad Bhāgavata Purāṇa, Book 10). Trans. Edwin Bryant. Penguin Classics, 2004. Paperback.  

Speaking of Siva. Trans. AK Ramanujan. Penguin Classics, 1973. Paperback

Diana Eck. Darśan: Seeing the Divine Image in India. New York: Columbia University Press, 3rd Edition, 1998. Paperback.

Maria Heim. Words for the Heart: A Treasury of Emotions from Classical India. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2022.

RST 171: Buddhist Art
Prof. Layne Little

RST 190 Seminar - Reinventing Nature: Religious Conceptions of Nature from the Ancient World to Today

Professor Janowitz

This RST seminar will examine the wide range of conceptions of nature and the natural world found in religious texts. The course will begin with Francesca Rochberg’s provocative argument that the ancient Babylonians had no concept of nature distinct from the world of the gods and then consider Brooke Holmes’ equally provocative research on the invention of nature in Greek texts. With this background we will turn to reading a series of foundational Late Antique religious texts for their views of nature and the natural world. The final unit of the seminar will focus on an influential recent anthropological study of nature (Kohn’s How Forests Think) and a recent study of contemporary re-imaging of nature (Kolbert’s Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future). While we focus as a group on Late Antique religious texts, students can select religious texts of specific interest to them for their research projects.

Readings include:

Rochberg, Before Nature: Cuneiform Knowledge and the History of Science.

Holmes, “Greco-Roman Ethics and the Naturalistic Fantasy.”

Holmes, “Situating Scamander: "'Natureculture’ in the Illiad.”

Daston and Park, “Unnatural Conceptions: The Study of Monsters in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century France and England.”

Kohn, How Forests Think: Toward an Anthropology beyond the Human.

Kolbert, Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future