Courses in Religious Studies address many dimensions and functions of religion within the world’s cultures. Among these are scriptures, ritual practices, beliefs, symbols, and ethics. Our courses also use multiple approaches (e.g., anthropology, cultural studies, history, sociology, hermeneutics, and critical theories of interpretation) to examine the dynamic relationships between religion and other social, economic, and political structures. Our courses foster a critical understanding of religious traditions, issues, questions, and values while cultivating awareness of religion’s multifaceted influence on societies and promoting appreciation for the diversity of practices and beliefs in modern and premodern societies.

Fall 2014 Classes

RELS 160 (several sections): Intro to Religion in Culture

RELS 201 (Brackett; 2 sections): Religion and Popular Culture

RELS 206 (Marchal, 2 sections): Sex and the Bible

RELS 250 (Marchal): Introduction to Biblical Interpretation

RELS 390 (Brackett): Advanced Studies of Asian Religions

Fall 2014 Descriptions

Religion and Popular Culture 

When and how do mundane practices of popular culture (e.g. sports, film, social media, video games, music, television, etc.) become religious or religious-like behaviors? How are ‘traditional religions’ engaging popular culture, and how does that alter ‘religion’? This course critically examines these and other intersections between religion and popular culture.

UCC Tier 2: W + R (no prerequisites)

RELS 201: Religion and Popular Culture - Dr. Brackett

Sex and the Bible

Academic study of biblical literature and the sexual practices contained, described, or interpreted to be within ancient religious materials. Situates the norms and practices for understanding the sexual and biblical materials in a range of historical, literary, political, cultural, and even ethical contexts and effects, especially in their ancient settings and their more recent, continuing uses. 

UCC Tier-2: W + R (no prerequisites)

RELS 206: Sex and the Bible - Dr. Marchal

Introduction to Biblical Interpretation

This course is an introduction to biblical studies and biblical interpretation as an academic discipline. We will examine selected portions of the Bible—the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible and the New Testament– in order to analyze different types of writings/genres using various interpretative methods/approaches, such as historical, literary, rhetorical, and feminist criticism. We will consider the historical and social setting of the biblical texts in relation to the ancient Near East and the Greco–Roman Empire. Along the way, we will look at how the Bible has been interpreted in the modern era and how it has been used/appropriated in relation to social and political issues such as slavery and gender. No previous knowledge of the Bible is required or presumed.

UCC Tier-2, I + R (no prerequisites)

RELS 250: Introduction to Biblical Interpretation - Dr. Marchal

Advanced Studies of Asian Religions

Critical examination of one or more Asian religions. Topics include sacred texts, historical developments, prominent figures, and relevance to contemporary cultural formations. Counts for minor in Asian Studies. A total of 6 hours of credit may be earned, but no more than 3 in any one semester or term.

UCC Tier-2, I + R (no prerequisites) 

RELS 290: Topics in Asian Religions: Introducing "Hinduism" - Dr. Brackett