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RELST 2273 : Introduction to Religious Studies
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 2273, NES 2273 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
For description, see ASIAN 2273.
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RELST 2297 : Muslims on the Silk Road
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 2297, HIST 2797 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor: Description
RELST 2299 : Buddhism
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 2299 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
This course will explore the Buddhist tradition from its origins in ancient India to its migrations throughout Asia and eventually to the West. The first part of the course will deal with Indian Buddhism: the Buddha, the principal teachings and practices of his early followers, and new developments in spiritual orientation. We will then turn to the transmission of Buddhism to Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, where at least one of the early schools has been preserved. Next we will look at Mahayana Buddhism as it moves north and east, encompassing China, Japan, and Tibet. While much of the course will be devoted to developments in traditional times, we will also look at some of the ways Buddhist cultures have responded to modernity.
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RELST 2577 : American Jewish Women and the Body of Tradition
Crosslisted as: JWST 2577, NES 2577 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor: Description
RELST 2617 : Islam and Politics: Between an Islamic State and Daily Life
Crosslisted as: HIST 2607, NES 2607 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor: Description
RELST 2630 : Religion and Reason
Crosslisted as: PHIL 2530 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
In this course we will examine some of the major arguments regarding the existence and nature of a supreme being - ontological, cosmological, teleological, Pascalian, and moral arguments. We will also discuss the most significant argument against the existence of the classical God - namely, the argument from evil and suffering. After that, we will look at whether religious belief might be rational without theoretical proof or empirical evidence, whether religious experience is an intelligible notion, and whether the real-world fact of religious diversity has philosophical implications. Time permitting, we will conclude by reflecting on two prominent religious ideas: miracles and the afterlife. Course readings will be taken from both historical and contemporary sources.
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RELST 2640 : Histories of the Apocalypse: From Nostradamus to Nuclear Winter
Crosslisted as: HIST 2630 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
Religious groups, political pundits, and filmmakers seem recently obsessed with envisioning the apocalypse, whether through a zombie onslaught or the second coming of Christ. Why are we so fascinated with the end of the world? What can apocalyptic visions tell us about the times we live in now, and how we lived in the past? How were they used to make claims about human nature and about who did and did not deserve salvation? This course traces obsessions with Armageddon from the 1500s until the present day, using novels, films, and other historical sources to answer these questions.
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RELST 2644 : Introduction to Judaism
Crosslisted as: ANTHR 2644, JWST 2644, NES 2644 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
In this course, students will survey the development of Judaism from its roots in ancient Mesopotamia to modernity. Rather than thinking of Judaism as static and easily definable, we will explore a history that is complex and dynamic. Over the three thousand year period that we will be studying, individuals and groups who identified themselves as Israelites or Jews developed a remarkable variety of beliefs and practices in conversation and in competition with other groups, including Christianity and Islam. We will examine trends and key moments of this process in order to understand how continuity and change, the construction of identity, and the competition for legitimacy have shaped our contemporary ideas about what Judaism is. We will approach this subject from a historical perspective, analyzing material evidence and reading texts from each period in translation, and from a religious studies perspective, carefully observing how the meaning of categories such as religion and Judaism change over time. A better understanding of these changes can help us better to appreciate difference and conflict both ancient and contemporary.
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RELST 2655 : Introduction to Islamic Civilization
Crosslisted as: HIST 2530, MEDVL 2655, NES 2655 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
The seventh-century Arab conquests resulted in the creation of a vibrant new civilization that stretched from the Iberian peninsula in the west to Central Asia and the borders of India in the east. We will follow the course of Islamic history from the birth of Muhammad until the Mongol sack of Baghdad in 1258, with special attention to the achievements of Muslims in the fields of law, theology, literature, science, philosophy, art and architecture.
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RELST 2662 : Daily Life in the Biblical World
Crosslisted as: ARKEO 2662, JWST 2662, NES 2662 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor: Description
RELST 3281 : The Bible as Literature
Crosslisted as: ENGL 3280 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor: Description
RELST 3310 : Heavens, Hells, and Purgatories: Buddhist and Christian Notions of the Afterlife
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 3310 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
This course will explore a variety of ways people have envisioned and prepared for the afterlife. We will concentrate on how Buddhists and Christians have described supreme states of bliss, have warned their followers of the perils of perdition, and have guided them through states in between. We will seek to understand both the religious doctrines and social practices that support and contest such notions so as to situate these views within their historical contexts.
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RELST 3331 : Gender and Sexuality in Southeast Asian Cinema
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 3331, ASIAN 6631, FGSS 3331, FGSS 6331, LGBT 3331, LGBT 6331, PMA 3431 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
Examines the new cinemas of Southeast Asia and their engagement with contemporary discourses of gender and sexuality. It pays special attention to the ways in which sexuality and gendered embodiment are at present linked to citizenship and other forms of belonging and to how the films draw on Buddhist and Islamic traditions of representation and belief. Focusing on globally circulating Southeast Asian films of the past 15 years, the course draws on current writings from feminism, Buddhist studies, affect theory, queer studies, postcolonial theory, and film studies to ask what new understandings of subjectivity might emerge from these cinemas and their political contexts. Films will be drawn from both mainstream and independent cinema and will include the work of directors such as Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Danny and Oxide Pang, Yau Ching, Thunska Pansittivorakul, Garin Nugroho, and Jean-Jacques Annaud.
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RELST 3540 : On Paying Attention
Crosslisted as: FREN 3540 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
In the age of smartphones and Facebook, the competing claims made on our attention only seem to be multiplying. This course is an opportunity to think about and to enact certain practices of attentiveness and concentration, drawing largely from religious, literary, artistic, philosophical and anthropological sources. We'll be trying various kinds of exercises - from reading poems and looking at paintings to eating more slowly - as we read about the ways in which our seneses reach out to the world, and as we think together about how technology may be used in ways that are not, strictly speaking, technological. This course is for students at all levels, from all backgrounds, graduate and undergraduate, with the understanding that we all need an excuse to slow down and observe the world - and ourselves - a little more carefully.
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RELST 3677 : The Search for the Historical Muhammad
Crosslisted as: HIST 3677, MEDVL 3677, NES 3677, NES 6677 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
Unlike Moses or Jesus, Muhammad is said to have been born in the full light of history. The earliest extant biography of the Prophet, the Life of Muhammad by Ibn Hisham (d. 833), contains a full account of the Prophet's career, from his birth ca. 570 to his death in 632. In this seminar, we will read the Life of Muhammad and analyze selected episodes from a critical historical perspective, with attention to biblical and post-biblical literary models.
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RELST 3747 : Staging Faith: Contemporary Theatre and Lived Religions
Crosslisted as: AMST 3747, ENGL 3947, FGSS 3747, PMA 3747 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
Religious beliefs, practices, and conflicts shape our world and influence global politics.  Yet mediatized depictions of religion can be reductive and polarizing.  Moreover, these depictions may be different from what people experience in their everyday lives.  In the contemporary theatre, we have the opportunity to consider representations of individuals' lived religion, the complex questions of belief, and challenges to faith from within and outside religious communities.  Through close readings of plays and related materials engaging with Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and other faith traditions, we will explore and discuss together the religious motivations, tensions, and dilemmas facing us today.  Our texts include, among others, Jesus Christ Superstar, Disgraced, Angels in America, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
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RELST 3795 : Sin:Theory and Practice
Crosslisted as: SPAN 3795 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor: Description
RELST 4100 : Latin Philosophical Texts
Crosslisted as: LATIN 7262, MEDVL 4002, MEDVL 6020, PHIL 4002, PHIL 6020, RELST 6020 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
Reading and translation of Latin philosophical texts.
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RELST 4462 : Religion, Colonialism, and Nationalism in South and Southeast Asia
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 4462, ASIAN 6662 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
Taught as a seminar, the course engages recent theoretical literature on the relations between religion, colonialism and nation formation.  This theoretical literature is read in conjunction with historical and ethnographic materials from South and Southeast Asian contexts, which allow us to explore the intellectual promise and limitations of the theoretical work in question.
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RELST 4557 : Desert Monasticism
Crosslisted as: CLASS 4677, MEDVL 4557, NES 4557, NES 6557 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
How and why do landscapes come to inspire the religious imagination? And how do sensory landscapes, more specifically-territories of sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell-inform, inflect, and engage the religious imagination? When and why do religious practices, rituals, traditions, and beliefs inhabit particular landscapes? This seminar treats these questions by focusing on a particular landscape-the "desert," both imagined and real-as it has shaped religious ascetic practice. Biblical notions of howling desert wastelands and subsequent ideas about deserts inhabited by terrifying and grotesque demons; paradise, a garden where angels' wings whir and pure light shines; valleys of rattling dry bones, sinews, and skins that breathe with new life; heavens clanging with the sound of war between seven-headed dragons and angels; demons coming in the forms of roaring lions and hissing serpents-the religious imaginary is shaped in striking ways by sensory landscapes. We will read widely from desert Christian monastic literatures, mostly from late ancient Egypt, to explore both the historical development of monasticism in Christianity and examine why the monastic impulse seems so closely tied to the "desert." In addition to reading saints lives, we will read early monastic rules, the desert fathers, and we will draw from archaeological sources to examine the varieties of ascetic practices in the deserts of late ancient Egypt, Gaza, Sinai, Palestine, and Syria. Throughout the course we will explore ancient and modern ideas about "wilderness" and we will explore parallels between ancient Near Eastern literatures and their nineteenth- and twentieth-century parallels in the American frontier and environmental literatures.
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RELST 4990 : Directed Study
Semester offered: Fall 2017 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. To apply for independent study, please complete the on-line form at https://data.arts.cornell.edu/as-stus/indep_study_intro.cfm.
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RELST 4995 : Senior Honors Essay
Semester offered: Fall 2017 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: Fall 2017 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: Fall 2017 Instructor:
Reading and translation of Latin philosophical texts.
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