Courses

For a full list of courses offered by the Religious Studies department, see http://catalog.missouri.edu/courseofferings/rel_st/

RELIGIOUS STUDIES COURSES FOR FALL SEMESTER 2018

REL ST 1100—Intro to Religion (3). Engages students in reflection on the religious questions that human existence poses, and introduces them to conceptual tools for understanding and evaluating answers which have emerged in human history. Honors section offered.

REL ST 2100—Indigenous Religions (3). (same as Anthropology 2100). Explores the central aspects of religious life in indigenous communities. Focusing on specific groups, it considers individual and group identity, the meaning of the sacred, and the impact of foreign domination.

REL ST 2110—Religions of the World (3). Section 06. SELF PACED ONLY. Explores the differing ways in which Asian and Western religions interpret life and reality. Traditions studied may include Hinduism, Buddhism, Chinese and Japanese religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

REL ST 2220—Death and Dying in the Western World (3) ONLINE COURSE ONLY. Death is a topic most Americans wish to avoid. Once we were very familiar with it since people before the mid-19th c. usually died at home, their bodies were mourned at home, and then buried either in a designated public space or on their property (especially in the South). Today, most people die in hospitals or medical-oriented institutions (like nursing homes). This class explores how death has historically been approached in the Western world and familiarizes us with different types of death (natural death, death by execution, death from illness, and death by murder). Using a religious studies and American studies approach we will examine overarching themes of grief, loss, mourning, and even anger in association with death and dying.

REL ST 2230-Religion and Popular Culture in the U.S. (3).  Introduction to critical issues in and approaches to the academic study of religion and popular culture in America.  Through the exploration of the varieties of ways that religion appears in and through popular cultural forms (television, film, comic books, music and music videos, consumer products, advertising, popular novels and so forth), it will be self-reflexively considered what counts as “religion” in American culture, where religion appears in our culture and how religion “works” in the U.S.

REL ST 2240—Harry Potter, Magic and Religion (3). This course explores religious themes in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. 

Topics include mythological themes from the ancient Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Celtic, and Old Norse traditions, the portrayal of good and evil in the series, religion and the quest for immortality, the relationship between religion and magic, the relationship between Harry Potter books and classical “hero myths”, and reactions to the books among religious groups in the U.S. and elsewhere.  Honors section offered.

REL ST 2270 Religion and Literature (3). This course explores religious themes such as myth, rituals and rites, sacred power, transcendence, salvation, and pilgrimage in secular literature. Selections in English, include novels and short stories from a variety of cultures and religious traditions.

REL_ST 2500--Introduction to the Hebrew Bible and its World (3).  An introduction to the literature of the Hebrew Bible in its Ancient Near Eastern cultural context. Students are exposed to the art, archaeology, literature, and histories of the great civilizations of the ANE and their impact on Israelite history and the formation of the Hebrew Bible. Emphasis is placed on the development and changes in Israelite theology in response to historical circumstances over the centuries that witnessed the Hebrew Bible's composition, compilation, and canonization.

REL_ST 2610: Medieval Christianity (3)--History of Christian practices and teachings from the 5th-15th centuries, including Byzantine and Western Christianity Themes such as the influence of the Islamic world on Christianity, popular and elite formulations of theology and ritual activities. Honors section offered.

REL ST 2940—African Religions (3). (same as BL_STU 2940). This course will serve as an introduction to various forms of religiosity in sub-Saharan Africa. Greater emphasis will be devoted to the indigenous religious traditions of the continent, but we will also examine Christianity and Islam as they are practiced on the continent. The aim of this class is to help students to better understand various aspects of African cultures by dismantling stereotypes and assumptions that have long characterized the study of religions in Africa. The readings and lectures are will be drawn from historical, anthropological, sociological, and literary sources. Graded on A-F basis only.

REL ST 3000 History of Religion in America to the Civil War (3). (same as HIST 3000). Surveys major American religious traditions, patterns, and themes from 1492 to the Civil War, especially the role of religion in American social, cultural, and political developments.

REL ST 3042, LST 01—Topics (3). Sacred Humor:  Tricksters, Clowns, and Contrarires. This class will explore the notion that humor plays an important role in conveying sacred meaning. To that end, we will need to adopt a fairly common vocabulary regarding the concepts "humor" and "sacred," and will do so while exploring some of the key aspects of the sacred humor discourse, especially the "trickster," "clown," and "contrary" motifs in mythic narrative..

REL ST 3240—Buddhism of South and Southeast Asia (3). (same as South Asian Studies 3240). Examines the origins of Buddhism in India, narratives of the life of the Buddha, the development of Buddhist doctrines and practices including the emergence of different schools and sects of Buddhist, and the importance of meditation in Buddhism. Follows the movement of Buddhism into Southeast Asia, current Buddhist practices, including special attention to the re-emergence of Buddhist nuns in contemporary Southeast Asia.

REL ST 3350W—Monsters in Western Religion and Folklore Writing Intensive (3).  This course focuses on monsters found in Western cultures and more specifically how monsters are instantiated and put to use in contexts of popular culture. Theoretical and methodological approaches to the material are drawn from both Religious Studies and Folkloristics.

REL ST 3400—The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke (3). Examination of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke as single works and as literarily related compositions. Interpretation focuses on the literary form of passages and the theological and ethical themes expressed.

REL ST 3420—Jesus in Myth, Tradition and History (3.  This course will explore the identity and character of Jesus of Nazareth as depicted in various early Christian canonical and non-canonical sources and, using a variety of scholarly techniques, ascertain what information in those sources can be considered to describe accurately the real, historical Jesus.

REL ST 3740—Religion and Film (3). Addresses issues of interpretation and analysis in the convergence of religion and film.

REL ST 4100W—Advanced Theories and Methods (3). (cross-leveled with REL_ST 7100). The course investigates the history of the modern academic study of religion, closely exploring influential theories and methods that have shaped scholarly perspective. May include approaches such as structuralism, phenomenology, Durkheimian and Weberian sociology, Marxism, feminism, thick description, psychoanalysis, and others. Restricted to Religious Studies majors and MA students

REL ST 4150—Religion, Spirituality, and the Brain (3). Explores neuropsychology of religion, spirituality, transcendence, and mystical experience. Covers development in neuroscience about how the brain works in a variety of religious and spiritual contexts, including prayer, meditation, and altered states of consciousness.  Prerequisites: Restricted to juniors and seniors only.

REL ST 4400--The Catholic Intellectual Tradition (3) (cross-level with REL_ST 7110). Students will read the great thinkers of the Catholic church such as Augustine, Abelard, Bernard of Clairvaux, Aquinas, Bonaventure, Nicholas of Cusa, Pascal, Newman, Maritain, Rahner, Johnson, Tracy. The theme examined may vary from year to year.

REL_ST 4630-- Sanskrit I (3) (same as S_A_ST 4350). This intensive course will cover the essentials of Sanskrit grammar in one semester and prepare students for further readings in Hindu and Buddhist Literature.

REL ST 7100—Advanced Theories and Methods (3). The course investigates the history of the modern academic study of religion, closely exploring influential theories and methods that have shaped scholarly perspective. May include approaches such as structuralism, phenomenology, Durkheimian and Weberian sociology, Marxism, feminism, thick description, psychoanalysis, and others.  Limited to Religious Studies majors.

REL ST 7150—Religion, Spirituality, and the Brain (3). Explores neuropsychology of religion, spirituality, transcendence, and mystical experience. Covers development in neuroscience about how the brain works in a variety of religious and spiritual contexts, including prayer, meditation, and altered states of consciousness.

REL_ST 7630-- Sanskrit I (3) (same as S_A_ST 4350). This intensive course will cover the essentials of Sanskrit grammar in one semester and prepare students for further readings in Hindu and Buddhist Literature.

REL ST 8005, LST 01Topics in Religious Studies (3). Yoga and Globalization.  This class explores yoga both as an ancient Indian tradition and an example of the globalization of religious outlooks and spiritual practices.