Fall 2017 Courses

RELS 2130 – Introduction to Religion (3 credits).

This course hopes to introduce students to ways of thinking creatively and critically about religion.  Not intended to be a survey of world religions, the course introduces the academic study of religion and religious phenomena through a selective engagement with key concepts in religious studies.

RELS 3030 – Religion, Memory, and History (3 credits).  Instructor: Daniel Pioske

This course examines the relationship between memory and history as this relationship pertains to forms of religious expression. The focus of this course will consequently be on the negotiation of the different experiences of memory and history by particular religious communities over time, including periods transpiring from antiquity until the present. Topics studied over the semester will encompass foundational past events, their founding figures, sacred places, rituals, formative literature, and day to day practices.

RELS 3030 – Religion and the Brain (3 credits).  Instructor: D. Jason Slone

This course explores a new interdisciplinary field in Religious Studies known as the evolutionary psychology of religion. The evolutionary psychology of religion combines theories and findings from anthropology, biology, and psychology in an attempt to explain the evolution of religiosity. Students will examine neurobiological and cognitive explanations for why certain types of religious thought and behavior recur across cultures such as the belief in supernatural concepts (deities, creation, afterlife, etc.), the performance of rituals, the prevalence of religious violence, gendered restrictions toward sociosexuality, and so forth. The course is cross-cultural in scope and scientific in nature.

PSYC 3231 – Psychology of Religion (3 credits).  Instructor: Michael Nielsen

An introduction to the literature of the psychology of religion, including the functions of religiousness, types of religious experiences, religious motivation, and the relationship between religion and mental health.

HIST 3233 – The Early Church (3 credits).  Instructor: Deborah Hill

How did Christianity turn from an illegal, persecuted cult into the official religion of the Roman empire? The course will focus on the first five hundred years of the Christian church: its development, doctrine, and especially its relationship with the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean world (Greece, Rome, and the Near East).

RELS 3235 – Religion, Sex, and Gender (3 credits).  Instructor: Alyson Prude

This course explores an understanding of the complex and varied construction of gender and sex in different religious texts, practices, and institutions. While an essential part of the course will take the form of lectures, a major component will consist of discussion and co-inquiry.

HIST 3250 – Muslim World to Tamerlane (3 credits).  Instructor: Ahmet Akturk

A study of the rise of Islam in the seventh century and of the various Muslim societies that arose prior to the fifthteenth century from the Iberian Peninsula to South Asia.

RELS 3430 – Religion and Politics (3 credits).  Instructor: Finbarr Curtis

This course will examine the production of religion and politics from a global perspective.  The class will begin by introducing students to classical political theories that attempt to explain religion.  The course will then use these conceptual frameworks to examine how religion is produced in different national and international contexts.  We will pay particular attention to how the rise of the modern nation-state has shaped definitions of the religious and the secular.  We will also consider how people have drawn on diverse forms of religious identification to support and challenge secular political ideals.

RELS 4890 – Seminar in Religious Studies (3 credits).  Instructor: Daniel Pioske

This is a capstone course and should be one of the final courses students take within the religious studies minor.


Last updated: 4/13/2017

Center for Religious Studies • P.O. Box 8023 • 912-478-0222