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RELST 2112 : Black Spirituality, Religion & Protest
Crosslisted as: AMST 2112, ASRC 2112, HIST 2112 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
This course examines Black spirituality, religion, and protest from an historical perspective, beginning with African traditions and Christianity during enslavement, which created resistance ideology and racial nationalism. Prophetic Christianity and church formation became primary political weapons after enslavement, particularly in the Age of Jim Crow, and foundationally led to twentieth century civil rights movements. While exploring these themes, the course will also analyze the complexities and contractions (i.e. Southern Baptist Convention, Nation of Islam and Black Lives Matter) inherent in resistance movements based on spiritual leadership.
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RELST 2204 : Introduction to Quranic Arabic
Crosslisted as: ARAB 2204, ASRC 2204 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
This course is designed for students who are interested in reading the language of the Qur'an with accuracy and understanding. The first week (4 classes) will be devoted to an introduction of the history of the Qur'an: the revelation, collection, variant readings, and establishment of an authoritative edition. The last week will be devoted to a general overview of "revisionist" literature on the Qur'an. In the remaining 12 weeks, we will cover all of Part 30 (Juz' 'Amma, suuras 78-114) and three suuras of varying length (36, 19, and 12).
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RELST 2247 : Controversy and Debate in Islam
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 2247, NES 2649 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Whether it is politics, society, the law, sexuality, popular culture or minorities' rights, the media are saturated with news on Islam. This course introduces topical issues in Islam as a religious, historical, cultural and political phenomenon. We will discuss this religion's manifold interpretations and investigate its multiple manifestations across the globe, giving special attention to Asia (from Iran to China, Indonesia, Afghanistan, India, Thailand, etc.). Key themes include religious devotion, the arts, Islamic law, gender, statehood, jihad, and sectarianism. No previous knowledge of Islam is required as the course covers the fundamentals of Islam as a religious system as well as a historical phenomenon.
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RELST 2250 : Introduction to Asian Religions
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 2250 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
This course will explore religious traditions in South Asia (Pakistan, India, and Sri Lanka) and East Asia (China, Japan, and Korea) including Hinduism, Buddhism (South Asian and East Asian), Sikhism, Confucianism, Daoism, and Shintō. We will also encounter a wide range of religious expressions, including myth, ritual, pilgrimage, mysticism, meditation, and other spiritual technologies.
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RELST 2277 : Meditation in Indian Culture
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 2277 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
This course probes the truths behind traditional claims of the priority of internal practice in Indian traditions. We will examine both practices themselves - techniques of meditation and contemplation - religious ways of using intellect, forms of chant and ritual, and the dynamics through which these have left a wider mark on South Asian civilization. These dynamics include not only the evident reverberations of practice in philosophical reflection and socioreligious institutions, but also wide-ranging processes of stylization, elaboration, and popularization found throughout South Asian culture. In order to get a sense of the experiences treated in classical religious texts, students will be expected to experiment with some basic meditation practices. At least as important for the work of the course (and much more important for the grade) will be the ways in which students situate these practices within larger South Asian world views as suggested by doctrines, rituals, iconic forms, and literary texts. To keep the interaction between internal practice and broader world views central, we will examine both Hindu and Buddhist sources, consistently examining the ways in which similar practices are given distinct shapes by the two religious traditions.
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RELST 2575 : Myth and Religion in Mesopotamia
Crosslisted as: JWST 2575, NES 2575, NES 6575 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
This course will survey the cultic practices and beliefs of ancient Babylonia and Assyria, the two major civilizations of Mesopotamia. We will examine the major myths of this region, e.g., Ishtar's Descent into the Netherworld, Etana, and Gilgamesh, in light of what they reveal about Mesopotamian religion, politics, and understanding of the afterlife. We will also examine the performance of magical rituals and incantations, methods of predicting the future, and the role of sacred marriage, prostitution, and slavery in the ancient temple.
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RELST 2626 : Modern Islam
Crosslisted as: NES 2626 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
In 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte led a French expedition to Egypt, fighting a campaign that would extend to Syria and last three years. Napoleon's journey, however, signalled far more than the beginning of a military exercise: over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Muslims throughout the Middle East and South Asia came to engage with the ideas, technologies, and political power of Europe in unprecedented ways that deeply shaped the path of Islamic history. This course, in turn, explores these shifts over the past two centuries. It is designed to introduce students not only to the leading ideas and movements among Muslims over the past two hundred years, but also to how these ideas have shaped the lives of Muslims living in Muslim-majority countries and Muslim-minority countries alike. It will push students to consider how Islam has changed over the past two centuries and how these changes are similar to and different from the transformations that have emerged in other religious traditions. Topics will include: Gender and Modesty; Prayer and Ritual; Ethics; Constitutionalism; Sufism; and Modern Islamic Movements. Through these topics, students will examine the diverse contexts in which and methods by which Muslims have interpreted their foundational texts, and more generally, their often-competing understandings of Islam what it means to be a Muslim.
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RELST 2629 : New Testament/Early Christian Literatures
Crosslisted as: CLASS 2613, JWST 2629, NES 2629 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
This course provides a literary and historical introduction to the earliest Christian writings, especially those that eventually came to be included in the New Testament.  Through the lens of the Gospel narratives and earliest Christian letters, especially those of Paul, we will explore the rich diversity of the early Christian movement from its Jewish roots in first-century Palestine through its development and spread to Asia Minor and beyond.   We will give careful consideration to the political, economic, social, cultural, and religious circumstances that gave rise to the Jesus movement, as well as those that facilitated the emergence of various manifestations of Christian belief and practice.   The course will address themes like identity and ethnicity, conversion and debate, race and slavery, gender and sexuality, and the connections between politics and religion.
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RELST 2676 : Holy War, Crusade, and Jihad from Antiquity to Present
Crosslisted as: JWST 2676, MEDVL 2676, NES 2676 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Articulating and elaborating religious justifications for war is a cultural practice unique to the three monotheistic traditions and their respective textual communities. This notion and its practice have had profound historical consequences in the past that extend to and inform present-day global socio-political conflicts. The first part of this course will examine the origins of the concept of holy war, crusade and jihad and trace their cultural histories. The second part of the course will be devoted to discussing the ways in which contemporary discourses such as a "clash of civilizations," "the Evil Empire," "The Great Satan," and the "Axis of Evil" draw upon these respective cultural histories and explicitly or implicitly positing political conflict as a "battle for God."
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RELST 3309 : Temple in the World: Buddhism in Contemporary South and Southeast Asia
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 3309 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
How do Buddhists live out their philosophies and ethics? What are the spaces of ritual, devotion, meditation, education, and politics? How do Buddhist practices and affiliations satisfy aesthetic and emotional needs and build social networks? This course explores the unfolding of Buddhist life in contemporary South and Southeast Asia, in locations such as Burma/Myanmar, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Cambodia. 
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RELST 3311 : Performing Islam in Southeast Asia
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 3311, ASIAN 6611, NES 3511 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
What role does Islam take in the politics, history, arts and rituals of Southeast Asia? Structured as a seminar, this course takes you on a journey through Southeast Asia, home to almost a quarter of the global Muslim population, to explore how centuries of cultural mixing and layering have shaped the regions' religious outlook. How are local traditions and universal Islamic precepts reconciled? How is this manifested in the performative arts and rituals? How does Islam play out in governance and the law? How is Islam deployed in the transnational sphere? Previous knowledge of Islam is an advantage, but not a requisite to succeed in this course. Students will be introduced to the fundamentals of Islam as a religious system as well as a historical phenomenon throughout the course.
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RELST 3416 : Zen Buddhism: The Landscape, the Human, Dwelling and Garden
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 3316, ASIAN 6616, RELST 6616 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
This course explores the Zen's central religious, historical and aesthetic developments. We read primary sources in translation and secondary sources. We examine the rise of the Ch'an tradition in China and the development of Northern and Southern Schools. In Japan, we examine the establishment of Zen in the Kamakura period, through the development of both Rinzai and Soto Zen, and early transmissions of Chinese texts and practices to Japan through Japanese emissaries. We study the lives and writings of Eisai and Dôgen, and explore how their works influenced later developments in Zen. Next we read works by Hakuin. Last, we study how Zen is implicated in Japanese fascism and later, postwar identity discourses. Finally, we look at Zen in an American context. This course is being taught both as an integrated arts in the curriculum course in collaboration with the Johnson Art Museum and is also part of a "Internationalizing the Cornell Curriculum Grant".  An optional 10-day trip to Japan to spend time in Zen temples and a monastery will be offered to students.  Furthermore, students studying Japanese  language can sign up for an optional 1-credit language course exploring Zen practice and arts vocabulary (JAPAN 2216).
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RELST 3629 : Greek New Testament Readings
Crosslisted as: CLASS 3629, JWST 3629, NES 3629 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
A weekly seminar that may be taken in addition to NES 2629. The seminar will provide an opportunity to read portions of the New Testament and other early Christian writings in Greek. We will work on grammatical and textual issues as well as other problems related to translations.
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RELST 3738 : Identity in the Ancient World
Crosslisted as: ARKEO 3738, CLASS 3738 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Have you ever been asked 'who are you' or 'which group do you belong to'? You would have noted how the answer shifts according to who is asking, in which context, etc. While everyone is unique, the possible replies in any one situation are largely defined at the level of society. What is less often realized, however, is that identity shows in particular in ways of doing: what and how one eats; what one wears and when; how one moves in a space. Archaeology is in a unique position to investigate these questions, and the Greek and Roman worlds offer a fruitful test ground, both because of their varied evidence, and because of their peculiar echoing in the modern world and its manifold identities. This course will address current theories about identity and its formation, discuss the various facets of identity (e.g. gender, religion, ethnicity) in the Greek and Roman worlds, and introduce tools for studying identity in the past.
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RELST 4100 : Latin Philosophical Texts
Crosslisted as: LATIN 7262, MEDVL 4002, MEDVL 6020, PHIL 4002, PHIL 6020, RELST 6020 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Reading and translation of Latin philosophical texts.
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RELST 4441 : Mahayana Buddhism
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 4441 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
This course will explore the origins and early developments of a movement in Indian Buddhism known as the Great Vehicle. We will intensively examine a small slice of this movement's voluminous literature so as to better understand its call for a new spiritual orientation within Buddhism. Topics of discussion will include the career of the bodhisattva, the lay/monk distinction, attitudes of Mahayanists toward women and other Buddhists, and the development of Buddhist utopias and transcendent buddhas. 
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RELST 4660 : Global Religious Revival of the 1970's
Crosslisted as: NES 4660, NES 6650 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
In the 1960s, religiosity was said to be a mere byproduct of tradition, increasingly marginalized by modernization. Yet, in an unexpected turn, the 1970s saw religious revival swept across the globe as societies from the Middle East to Latin America to the United States turned to their divine texts. In the four decades since, religious movements across the world have gained increasingly prominent positions in society and government. How do these mass movements happen? What exactly is the relation between specific revivals, their holy texts and the societies in which they arise? How do they affect politics? Are contemporary religious revivals broadly similar or do they contain geographical or religious particularities? In this seminar, we will begin to examine these questions through the prism of social movement theory, covering the Islamic Revival in Egypt, Religious Zionism in Israel, the rise of Liberation Theology in Latin America and the "Moral Majority" in the United States.  Drawing on texts, audio recordings, and video, we will explore how and why men and women turned to religion since the 1970s and how the practices of individual believers have shaped the relationship between religion and politics globally. Courses in varied religious traditions would be helpful, but are not a requirement, to succeed in this seminar.
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RELST 4665 : Augustine
Crosslisted as: CLASS 4665, MEDVL 6210, PHIL 4210, PHIL 6210 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
An examination of Augustine's wide-ranging reflections on the nature of mind, giving special attention to his later, major works: Confessions, De trinitate, and De genesi ad litteram.
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RELST 4991 : Directed Study
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
For undergraduates who wish to obtain research experience or do extensive reading on a special topic. Students select a topic in consultation with the faculty member who has agreed to supervise the course.
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RELST 4995 : Senior Honors Essay
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
RELST 4995 is the first course in the Honors two-part sequence. The Honors Program is open to Religious Studies majors who have done superior work and who wish to devote a substantial part of their senior year to advanced, specialized, independent research and writing of a thesis. Successfully completing an honors thesis will require sustained interest, exceptional ability, diligence, and enthusiasm. While admissions to the Honors Program and completion of a thesis do not guarantee that students will be awarded honors in Religious Studies, most students find the experience as intellectually rewarding as it is rigorous.
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RELST 4996 : Senior Honors Essay
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
RELST 4996 is the second course in the Honors two-part sequence. The Honors Program is open to Religious Studies majors who have done superior work and who wish to devote a substantial part of their senior year to advanced, specialized, independent research and writing of a thesis. Successfully completing an honors thesis will require sustained interest, exceptional ability, diligence, and enthusiasm. While admissions to the Honors Program and completion of a thesis do not guarantee that students will be awarded honors in Religious Studies, most students find the experience as intellectually rewarding as it is rigorous.
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RELST 6020 : Latin Philosophical Texts
Crosslisted as: LATIN 7262, MEDVL 4002, MEDVL 6020, PHIL 4002, PHIL 6020, RELST 4100 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Reading and translation of Latin philosophical texts.
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RELST 6616 : Zen Buddhism: The Landscape, the Human, Dwelling and Garden
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 3316, ASIAN 6616, RELST 3416 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
This course explores the Zen's central religious, historical and aesthetic developments. We read primary sources in translation and secondary sources. We examine the rise of the Ch'an tradition in China and the development of Northern and Southern Schools. In Japan, we examine the establishment of Zen in the Kamakura period, through the development of both Rinzai and Soto Zen, and early transmissions of Chinese texts and practices to Japan through Japanese emissaries. We study the lives and writings of Eisai and Dôgen, and explore how their works influenced later developments in Zen. Next we read works by Hakuin. Last, we study how Zen is implicated in Japanese fascism and later, postwar identity discourses. Finally, we look at Zen in an American context. This course is being taught both as an integrated arts in the curriculum course in collaboration with the Johnson Art Museum and is also part of a "Internationalizing the Cornell Curriculum Grant".  An optional 10-day trip to Japan to spend time in Zen temples and a monastery will be offered to students.  Furthermore, students studying Japanese  language can sign up for an optional 1-credit language course exploring Zen practice and arts vocabulary (JAPAN 2216).
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Description