An introduction to the study of religion as cultural, social, and intellectual phenomena. The course teaches students how to interpret influential philosophical, social, scientific and theological theories. Students analyze aspects of religious systems-such as myth and ritual-across countries, regions, and ethnicities and produce a variety of writing assignments characteristic of the inherently interdisciplinary field of Religious Studies.
Religious Studies Courses
RS 101 - Introduction to Religion
RS 151/PHIL 151 - World Religions
Introduction to many of the world’s major religious traditions (including Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam) as well as other selected ancient and modern religious traditions. The course will also consider the nature and significance of religious experience, the impact of religion on culture, basic approaches to the study of religion, and different theories used to interpret religious beliefs and practices.
RS 152/PHIL 152 - Philosophy of Religion
Systematic and historical analysis of philosophical problems of religion, such as the problem of evil and theodicy, the conflict between religion and science, the relationship between faith and reason, the nature of religious language, and arguments about the nature and existence of God.
RS 160 - Death and Dying
This course examines how religious traditions from across the world and from different historical periods have addressed and explored the meaning of death, the process by which humans grieve and confront death, and the question of transcendence beyond death. The course Death and Dying will also briefly introduce students to basic terminology, models for understanding grief, and the history of death education.
RS 170/HIST 170 - Religion in American History
This course examines the origins, beliefs, practices and cultural significance of religious traditions and movements in American history, including but not limited to Native American religious traditions, Protestant denominations, Roman Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, African American religions, and religious movements founded in the United States such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and the Seventh-Day Adventists. Close reading and interpretive analysis of primary texts constitute the major course activities.
RS 175 - Religions of the Middle East
This course examines the major religious traditions that developed in the Middle East (Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Zoroastrianism) from their origins through their rise and development into the modern period, including their current roles in the region. The course familiarizes students with the beliefs, practices, institutions and historical significance of these traditions. Attention is paid to sacred scriptures; historical developments; political, cultural and social impacts of the religious traditions on the region and the world; relations between the traditions; and the influence of these traditions upon issues and movements in the contemporary Middle East.
RS 180 - Religions of Asia
This course examines major religious traditions that developed in Asia (especially Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism) from their origins through their development in the modern period, including their current roles. The course familiarizes students with the beliefs, practices, and artifacts of these traditions. Attention is paid to sacred scriptures; historical developments; relations between the traditions; and the influence of these traditions in modern Asia and the world.