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Course Offering(s)

Religious Studies   102                                           3 (crs.)

World Religions (NW) (XC) (HU)

A historical survey of the basic experiential, mythical, doctrinal, ethical, ritual and social dimensions in the world's major traditions: tribal religion, Hinduism, Buddhism, Chinese and Japanese religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Students may not receive credit for both Religious Studies 102 and Religious Studies 110.



Religious Studies   104                                           3 (crs.)

Religions of America (SS) (XS) (ES)

This course will introduce students to the power and pervasiveness of religious expression in America. Religious expression involves the entire person, acting through all his/her senses. Consequently, the study of American religion must look for data beyond traditional religious texts and doctrines. Readings will introduce students to: 1) the formative religious meaning of the New World and the enduring classification of land and people that such visions engendered; 2) a variety of sacred texts in American life; 3) a variety of sacred rituals in American life; 4) social and personal pilgrimage; 5) the construction of sacred environments; and 6) sacred sounds.



Religious Studies   105                                           3 (crs.)

Honors: Religions of America (SS) (XS) (ES)

Covers the same subject matter as Religious Studies 104. Prerequisite: University Honors student.



Religious Studies   106                                           3 (crs.)

The Bible and Current Events (HU) (XC)

This course introduces the Bible and biblical interpretation by focusing on the role of the Bible in shaping culture and public discourse on key issues in public and foreign policy, general interest, and popular culture, such as church/state relations, abortion, domestic violence, 'family values', welfare reform, same-sex marriage and recent conflicts in the Middle East.



Religious Studies   108                                           3 (crs.)

Introduction to Religious Studies

What is religion? Who does religion, and how does it happen? How do we study religion across history and in the modern world, and how have other scholars of religion studied this phenomenon? This course introduces students to the field of Religious Studies as it has been practiced historically and as it is practiced today, with a particular focus on the study of religion in the modern world. By critically reading excerpts from classic theorists of religion alongside recent case studies, students in the course will learn about a wide variety of methodologies in the study of religion. By engaging students in some of the major issues in the field today, this course will prepare them for upper-division courses in the major. Students are strongly encouraged to take this course early in their major (during the first two years) before taking upper division courses.



Religious Studies   109                                           3 (crs.)

Reading the Bible Across Cultures (XC) (ES) (HU)

A course on ways to bridge the cultural differences by understanding different American Cultures, and the ways they read the Bible, African American Interpretation, Asian Interpretation, Latino Interpretation, LGBQT Interpretation, Feminist Interpretation and Jewish Interpretation. Texts from both the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the New Testament will be covered.



Religious Studies   110                                           3 (crs.)

Honors: World Religions (NW) (XC) (HU)

Similar in content to Religious Studies 102, with an emphasis on class participation and the addition of a term paper. Prerequisites: Enrolled in good standing with the UW Oshkosh Honors program with prior or concurrent enrollment in HNRS 175.  Students may not receive credit for both Religious Studies 102 and Religious Studies 110.



Religious Studies   115                                           3 (crs.)

Religion and the Making of Community (XS) (ES) (SS)

Through fiction, autobiographies, scholarly essays and interviews this class will explore how religion serves both to create community and isolate individuals both on campus and in the wider community. We will discuss how religious communities from German Lutherans, Hmong, and Muslims to Ho-Chunks, Evangelical Christians and secular individuals transform and retain their traditions as meet each other in the classroom and the public square. Rather than trying to be exhaustive, an impossible task for any course, we will attend closely to how migration affects three arenas of religious expression-student groups, public life, and the home. Throughout the semester, we hone our skills at civic engagement, skills we will use throughout our years at UWO, particularly in quest 3.



Religious Studies   120                                           3 (crs.)

Religion, Children's Books, Difference (XC) (ES) (HU)

How can children's and young adult literature help us to think about religious difference? We all come from varied religious, racial, ethnic and gender backgrounds. How are these identities told in children's books? How do we introduce young people to difficult ideas like inequality, discrimination and violence? How do our own memories of children's and young adult literature affect what kind of people we become? What challenges and successes have women writers of children's literature had in America? The heroes and the heroines of our texts all face, and sometimes bridge, intercultural differences. How will our own encounter with these stories affect how we imagine diversity in America?



Religious Studies   123                                           3 (crs.)

Religion and the Other (XC) (NW) (HU)

This course will use novels and films to observe the ways that we in the West have though and written about other people and places. Focusing on the religions of Asia and the Middle East, we will not only question the stereotypes we will have inherited, but we will also consider, for example, how Americans can be fascinated with Hindu yoga and Buddhist meditation while harboring an intense fear of Islam.



Religious Studies   162                                           3 (crs.)

Religion and Nature (SS) (XS)

Examines competing environmental ethics, and the ensuing social conflicts, which result from diverse views about what constitutes proper moral relationships with and obligations toward the natural world.



Religious Studies   202                                           3 (crs.)

Honors: The Old Testament (NW)

A literary and historical introduction to the Old Testament and its religious and cultural background, with emphasis on the period up to the Exile in Babylon. Prerequisite: University Honors student. Students cannot earn credit in both an honors course and a non-honors course of the same title.



Religious Studies   203                                           3 (crs.)

Hebrew Bible (HU) (XC) (ES)

This course introduces students to the ancient text of the Hebrew Bible and how it has been interpreted by ethnic minorities in America. We will thus encounter this collection of books, which is also known by Christians as the "Old Testament," as a living text, one that has ongoing interpretations and uses. Please note that all readings for this course are in English. We will discuss both the Hebrew Bible's emergence in the ancient Near East and a wide variety of contemporary responses to it, including some from African Americans, Asian Americans, Latin Americans, Jewish Americans and Native Americans.



Religious Studies   204                                           3 (crs.)

New Testament (HU) (XC)

A literary and historical introduction to the New Testament in its religious, social and cultural context with emphasis on the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles and the Pauline Epistles.



Religious Studies   210                                           3 (crs.)

Christianity (HU) (XC)

The principal forms and traditions of Christianity from the first century to the present with emphasis on essentials of Christian thought.



Religious Studies   211                                           3 (crs.)

Catholicism in America (ES) (XC) (HU)

This class explores lived Catholicism through memoirs, music, film, ethnography, as well as, papal documents. Together we will explore Roman Catholic and Independent Catholic congregations, and how Catholicism is expressed in many ethnic communities in the U.S.



Religious Studies   215                                           3 (crs.)

Judaism (ES) (XC) (HU)

This course is both a survey of Jewish history and an introduction to Jewish life as it is practiced in the modern world. It takes its lead from twentieth-century Jewish studies scholar Mordecai Kaplan, who characterized Judaism as an evolving "religious civilization." We will study "Judaism," in all of its pluralities, from a variety of perspectives, including historical, philosophical, aesthetic, anthropological and literary approaches.



Religious Studies   221                                           3 (crs.)

The Hindu Tradition (NW) (XC) (HU)

Historical and religious study of Hinduism in its unity and diversity as world view, world faith and world influence. The course aims at a systematic understanding of Hindu origins, values and practices as revealed in texts in translation, artistic expression and modern transformative movements in and beyond India.



Religious Studies   222                                           3 (crs.)

Buddhism (NW)

An introduction to how Buddhists throughout the Buddhist tradition in India, Southeast Asia, Tibet and Central Asia, China, Korea, Japan, and the West to understand the world, experience their religion, and apply it to society and culture.



Religious Studies   240                                           3 (crs.)

Islam (NW) (XC) (HU)

The religion of Mohammed and his followers from the Arabian beginnings through the rise and development of Islam as a great international faith and cultural system. Includes Islamic responses to modernization and the West



Religious Studies   263                                           3 (crs.)

Women, Sustainability, Religion: From Green Nuns to Hindu Tree Huggers (SS) (XS) (ES)

We all live in bodies, and we all live on the planet Earth. This class explores how women from diverse religious traditions have approached the question of how to live sustainably on this planet, as well as how religious approaches to sustainability affect women's lives. We will assess this through units on four themes: 1) Wonder and Nature, 2) Food, 3) People and Bodies, and 4) Myth and Ritual. Cross-listed: Religious Studies 263/Women Studies 263, students may receive credit for only one-cross listed course.



Religious Studies   265                                           3 (crs.)

Women and Religion (NW) (SS) (XS)

Explores the role of women and the feminine in the religions of the world. Using sacred textual traditions as a base, we will examine the place of women and the feminine in 1) mythology, 2) social and family relations, and 3) religious ritual and organization, including monasticism. Attention will also be given to the significance of the gendered nature of deity for women's spirituality and experience in the world's religions. Cross-listed: Religious Studies 265/Women's Studies 265. Students may receive credit for only one of the two cross-listed courses.



Religious Studies   285                                           3 (crs.)

Afro-American Religious Experience (ES) (XC) (HU)

An examination of ideas, forms and expressions of religious experience in the life of the Afro-Americans against the background of their own ethno-cultural heritage (Africa) and in relation to the larger and more diverse American religious heritage. Includes analyses of the thought of preeminent Afro-American religious leaders. Christian and non-Christian, the role of the Black church as a fomenting and transformative force for cultural change, and the possible future of 'Black Religion' in the new millennium.



Religious Studies   304                                           3 (crs.)

Hebrew Bible: Wisdom & Poetry

Selections from the Psalms, Job, Proverbs and the Festival Scrolls: Ruth, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, Esther. Prerequisite: Religious Studies 203.



Religious Studies   309                                           3 (crs.)

Religion and Culture of New Testament

An examination of Jewish and Hellenistic sources related to the New Testament, including the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Apocrypha, as well as sources for ancient Mystery Religions and Gnosticism. Prerequisite: Religious Studies 204 or 210.



Religious Studies   312                                           3 (crs.)

Jesus and the Gospels

A course on the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and the quest for the historical Jesus. Course includes class held "Jesus Seminar" and attention to non-canonical gospels like the "Gnostic Gospels". Prerequisite: None.



Religious Studies   313                                           3 (crs.)

Letters of Paul

A course primarily on the authentic letters of Paul with special focus on the Letter to the Romans and the First letter to the Corinthians. Particular attention will be given to Paul's interest in gender roles, social customs and the background of cross-cultural Anthropology. Several non-biblical books will also be covered, including the Acts of Paul and Thecla, as well as the transmission of the Pauline legacy.



Religious Studies   314                                           3 (crs.)

Women and the New Testament

An introduction to the roles of women required in both the New Testament and other non-canonical texts. Class will be taught from a feminist perspective.  Prerequisite: none



Religious Studies   317                                           3 (crs.)

Gendering Jewish Children Literature

Religion. Race. Class. Gender. All of these variables of identity intersect in the memorable and complex representations of Jewish life found in children's and young adult literature. In this class, we will consider Jewish children's literature-both books by Jews and books about Judaism from a gender perspective. How does Jewish children's literature contribute to the construction and representation of gender roles of families in America? We will study all of these questions (and more). Cross-listed: Religious Studies 317/Women's Studies 317. Students may receive credit for only one of the two cross-listed courses.



Religious Studies   318                                           3 (crs.)

Religion and Sexuality

In this class, we will explore how religious practice and sexuality intersect, with a particular focus on the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer-identified (LGBTQ) individuals in the modern world. By placing LGBTQ issues at the center of study, we will gain a greater understanding of how religious adherents think about the very notion of sexuality itself. We will also become more sophisticated in our ability to engage with civic questions about religion, families and rights.



Religious Studies   320                                           3 (crs.)

Judaism and Comic Books

Is "The thing" Jewish? What does Magneto have to do with Judaism? What do Jews have to do with the comic books in America? Quite a lot, as it turns out. In this course, we will examine three related phenomena: 1) Jewish involvement in the creation of mainstream comic books (DC, Marvel, etc.) in the mid-twentieth century, 2) Graphic novels by Jewish authors (i.e., Art Spiegelman), 3) Themes relating to Judaism and Jewish history in comic books and graphic novels, (i.e., the relevance of the Holocaust for understanding X-men). We will use the cultural exhibit of the comic book as an entrance into the complex issues of identity, religion and politics that comprise the diverse world of modern Judaism. Not only the worlds within the pages of the comic books themselves, but also American reactions to the culture of comic books constitute an integral part of the history of Judaism, particularly in America.



Religious Studies   334                                           3 (crs.)

Holocaust and American Memory

This course will examine representation of the Holocaust in American Culture from Post-war survivor memory to the creation of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Some attention will be paid to Holocaust memory in Europe and Israel.



Religious Studies   335                                           3 (crs.)

Chinese Religion (NW)

An introduction to Chinese religions and culture as the medium for the development of religion, including archaic shamanism, ancestor cult, language, change, the Tao, Confucianism and Taoism, Buddhism, syncretism. Prerequisite: Religious Studies 222 or consent of instructor.



Religious Studies   337                                           3 (crs.)

Japanese Religion (NW)

A general survey of Japanese religion and its relationship to culture, including archaic tribal religions, importation of Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism, medieval Buddhism and New-Confucianism, role of religions during Japanese modernization, militarism, post-war era and post-modern Japan. Prerequisite: Religious Studies 222 or consent of instructor.



Religious Studies   338                                           3 (crs.)

Comparative Religious Ritual

This course will focus on the rituals performed within religious communities around the world. Rather than looking at religion as a set of beliefs, doctrines or morals that must have an agreed-upon meaning, this course will observe both ritual actions and variety of meanings (or sometimes the lack of any meaning) that scholars and practitioners attach to these actions. Readings for this course will include essays on ritual theory, ethnographies of performed rituals and novels that creatively construct social meanings for fictional rituals.



Religious Studies   340                                           3 (crs.)

Hindu Myth and Ritual

Working within the diversity of the Hindu tradition and beyond the stereotypical mysticism that Westerners often attribute to this tradition is a vibrant current of mythic narratives and ritual performances. In this class, we will look at the various ways that Hindu myths and rituals serve as integral components of the daily lives of Hindu people and will take up such issues as how Hindus properly worship images, how Hindu deities can take on human form, and why the goddess Durga slays the buffalo demon.



Religious Studies   344                                           3 (crs.)

Zen Buddhist Practice

Examines individual and communal religious practice toward the experience of realization (Japanese: satori) in the Chinese, Korean, Japanese and American Zen Buddhist traditions.



Religious Studies   345                                           3 (crs.)

Zen Buddhist Art and Literature

Examines how the Zen schools of Buddhism have used secular literary and artistic forms to teach and to understand the experience of Zen realization (Japanese: satori) and some of the influences these have had on Japanese culture.



Religious Studies   354                                           3 (crs.)

Buddhist Myth and Ritual

This course will use essays, films and short novels to examine popular forms of Buddhist narrative and performance from across Asia, as well as, from contemporary America. In addition to looking at traditional forms of monastic Buddhism, we will also look at devotional practices towards relics and icons, political uses of  Buddhist processions, and the importance of Buddhist monks and nuns in the performance of funerals.



Religious Studies   358                                           3 (crs.)

Popular Religion in Asia

This course will look at "popular" religious practices performed throughout classical and contemporary Asia--India, Nepal, China and Japan. Important to these contemporary practices are the new media that people use in the performance and communication of them. Thus, this course will focus on the roles that television, comic books and the Internet have had on traditional Asian religions.



Religious Studies   360                                           3 (crs.)

Judaism Since Gender

How have Jewish women, men and individuals of other sexes lived with Judaism "since gender?" In this course, we will examine the intersection of Judaism and gender among various Jewish communities from the ancient world to the present, with a particular focus on contemporary America. We will consider how the "afterlives" of biblical figures continue to influence modern gender roles; the different and complex ways that bodies have figured in Jewish culture; how Jews are gendered in popular culture portrayals; and some of the changes, renewals and continuities in Jewish practice and theology that have occurred since the rise of feminist movements. Cross-listed: Religious Studies 360/Women's Studies 360. Students may receive credit for only one of the two cross-listed courses.



Religious Studies   361                                           3 (crs.)

Islamic Resurgence

Islamic Resurgence focuses on the two most important currents in religious discourse/political action in the Islamic world in the 20th and 21st centuries: that which has taken place between Islamic "modernist" and "Islamists" (a.k.a., "fundamentalists", neo-Kharajites", "Tawhidiests", "jihadists" and several dozen other terms, most of which you will hear during the course of this seminar). Course readings are designed to add depth and historical breadth to the knowledge you bring to the course from previous course work in Religious studies 240, Islam. Prerequisites: Religious Studies 240, Islam.



Religious Studies   362                                           3 (crs.)

Religion and the Environment

Examines human attitudes and behaviors toward the natural world, focusing on the historical evolution of religious environmental ethics in diverse cultures and traditions. Analyzes how religion serves as a resource for many contemporary environmental movements and yields varying public policy prescriptions. Provides an opportunity for a critical appraisal of competing religious environmental ethics. Prerequisite: Religious Studies 107, 162 or Environmental Studies 162.



Religious Studies   363                                           3 (crs.)

Meditative and Mystical Experience

This course is an examination of shamanic spirit possession in indigenous religions, meditative practices in Eastern religions, and mysticism in Middle Eastern traditions, and the major traditional and recent methods of study.



Religious Studies   364                                           3 (crs.)

Cults and Sects in America

This course is an introduction to new religious movements in the United States- those groups frequently referred to as "sects", "cults" and "fringe religions". We will be paying special attention to how these groups are portrayed in the various forms of media. We will read some secondary materials, as well as various primary sources written by the founders and/or followers of a variety of nineteenth and twentieth century new religious movements including: Scientology, Latter-day Saints, Wicca, Nation of Islam, Jonestown and the Branch Davidians.



Religious Studies   365                                           3 (crs.)

Religion and Children in America

This course seeks to examine what happens to the contours of American religious history if we add age as an interpretive category. With little scholarship on children themselves, much of what we study will come from the viewpoint of adults through psychological models for children's religious development and memoirs. As we critically examine these existing works, class discussions will help us to explore how this shift might affect our understanding of American religious history.



Religious Studies   370                                           3 (crs.)

Radical Religion in America

Radical Religion in America offers both countercultural critique of mainstream American religiosity, and in an examination of the ways in mainstream society views the American religious "fringe."  The course is divided into four components. First, an examination of Cultic Milieu Theory; second, an examination of selected `neighborhoods' in the American cultic milieu. This brief tour will include, among others, the radical right, the diverse community of Christian and Jewish dissident communities, including the anti-abortion rescue movement, and the world of new religious movements; third is the part of the class which might be called 'ties that binds' the cultic milieu together. These are ideas which are exchanged within the cultic milieu, and which then travel from the cultic milieu to the mainstream culture. How these ideas are considered, adopted or rejected by the mainstream society, and then eventually find their way back into the cultic milieu is the focus of this part of the course. The fourth part of the course focuses on the community of 'watchdogs'; public and private organizations whose self appointed task it has been to keep a watch on the denizens of the cultic milieu and to warn society of the threats which it may post to the moral health , public safety, or the very survival, of the American project.



Religious Studies   371                                           3 (crs.)

Global Fundamentalisms in Contemporary Perspective

Global Fundamentalisms in Contemporary Perspective begins with the wave of  "fundamentalist" resurgences that came to public knowledge in 1979. The course follows the fortunes of the various "fundamentalist" communities in the US, the Middle East and in South Asia from the 1970s to the present day. The course seeks to build on the work of the Fundamentalism Project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences that was centered at the University of Chicago from 1989-1994. The mission of the Fundamentalism Project was two-fold. First, to determine whether "family resemblances" exist between the forms of activism arising within very different religious traditions so as to justify the application of a blanket term such as "fundamentalism". Second, if such family resemblances could be found, the Project was designed to describe this global model and to consider both its underlying causes and the public policy implications of the fundamentalist phenomenon.



Religious Studies   372                                           3 (crs.)

Religious Radicalism and Globalization

Religious Radicalism and Globalization will examine theoretical and methodological approaches through which to begin to understand the new world which is unfolding from the perspective of those who most oppose the emerging global order. The seminar will begin with cultic milieu theory, which focuses on the underground-oppositional forces through whose eyes the seminar will try to see the new world. Then to globalization theory; in terms of both political economy and of mainstream religion. Finally, the small body of theory which presently exists, focusing on the globalization of oppositional milieus, will be examined. The course will then move on to case studies grouped into four major categories: 1) Religious Revitalization/'Remagicalization' Movements; 2) New religious Movements; 3) Global youth subcultures; and 4) Globalization and Violence. Prerequisites: None



Religious Studies   380                                           3 (crs.)

Terrorism and Religious Violence

Terrorism and Religious Violence is designed to provide students with a thorough theoretical grounding in the study of religiously motivated terrorism. The course is composed of modules, each with its own set of readings and audio-visual materials. These include: Terrorism Defined and Differentiated; History of Religious Terrorism; Terrorist Texts; Terrorist Biography and Memoirs; The Tactical Evolution of Terrorism; and Strategic Outlooks and Counterterrorism.



Religious Studies   381                                           3 (crs.)

Terrorism and Religious Violence: Applications and Issues

Terrorism and Religious Violence: Applications and Issues builds on the foundation of Religious Studies 380 Terrorism and Religious Violence by focusing on specific contemporary issues arising from the ongoing War on Terrorism in the United States and the challenges to state structures posed by terrorism globally. The reading list will be composed of recent texts in the field as written by scholars, practitioners and military leaders. A prominent feature of the course will be media-films, internet materials and key websites-as well as guest speakers who will share their experiences and expertise with students. There are no prerequisites for this course; although Religious Studies 380 is strongly recommended.



Religious Studies   395                                           1-3 (crs.)

Special Topics

A course on a topic not normally covered in the curriculum. Each time it is offered, the topic will be announced in the time schedule. May be repeated with different content.



Religious Studies   399                                           1-3 (crs.)

Study Tour

A combination of background reading, travel and field lectures. Students will keep a journal and write a comprehensive paper. May be repeated with different content. For details, inquire at the Department Office.



Religious Studies   446                                           1-3 (crs.)

Independent Study

See Independent Study under Course and Academic Advisement Policies information for general course description, general prerequisites and proper contract form requirements.



Religious Studies   456                                           1-3 (crs.)

Related Readings

See Related Readings under Course and Academic Advisement Policies information for general course description, general prerequisites and proper contract form requirements.



Religious Studies   474                                           1-6 (crs.)

Honors: Thesis

Honors thesis projects include any advanced independent endeavor in the student's major field of study e.g., a written thesis, scientific experiment or research project, or creative arts exhibit or production. Proposals attached to Independent Study Contract must show clear promise of honors level work and be approved by a faculty sponsor. Course title for transcript will be ' Honors Thesis'. Completed projects will be announced and presented to interested students and faculty. Maximum of six units (crs.). Prerequisite: University Honors status and junior standing.



Religious Studies   475                                           3 (crs.)

Religious Studies Capstone Course

The Religious Studies Capstone Course is designed to allow students to apply the knowledge they have gained in their course of study by creating a religious field survey of the religious communities resident in the Fox Valley. This will require intensive field work, including interviews and the creations of survey instruments, as well as the gathering and analysis of artifacts such as creedal statements, publications, tracts, recordings and video materials, and the like. This data will become the basis of an outgoing database which will be utilized, and built upon, by future Capstone seminars. The various media gathered in the course of the study will be housed at the university. Prerequisite: Relstds 102, Relstds 108, and 18 additional credits of Religious Studies courses.



Religious Studies   498                                           3 (crs.)

Honors: Seminar Religious Studies

Presentation and discussion, by faculty and advanced University Scholars, of an area of current interest in religion related to recent developments or debates in such areas of science, medicine, law, politics or others. Individual and collaborative case studies and term projects. Prerequisite: 60 units (crs.), including at least six units (crs.) of Honors completed. (May be repeated for credit with different content.)



Religious Studies   499                                           3 (crs.)

Seminar in Religion

Presentation and discussion, by faculty and advanced students, of recent publications and other developments in various areas of the study of religion. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: 60 college units (crs.), including 15 units (crs.) in Religious Studies.

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