General Education Courses

HUMA 1100 9.0 WORLDS OF ANCIENT GREECE AND ROME

This first-year Foundations-level course is centered on a careful, disciplined, and interdisciplinary study of major primary texts from ancient Greece and Rome (considered in translation from ancient Greek and Latin) with a view to developing a critical examination of the ancient Greeks and Romans in light of their conception of themselves, in proper historical context.  Students who read the assigned primary texts and engage seriously with the content discussed in lectures and tutorials will develop their capacities for reading comprehension, critical thinking, analysis, and interpretation, and oral and written communication.  Material will be drawn from ancient Greek and Roman epic poetry (Homer, Virgil) and tragedy (Seneca, Euripides, Aeschylus, and Sophocles).  In the final part of the course, we shall study selections from the New Testament, whose writings emerge during the early Roman Empire, together with a short masterpiece on moral philosophy from Immanuel Kant, one of the most influential philosophers of the modern period.  In comparing and contrasting Greek and Roman values on the one hand with biblical and modern values on the other, we shall gain a richer and fuller appreciation of the fundamental difference between them in light of the distinctiveness of each.

Lectures for this course will be audiotaped and made available to students throughout the academic year to supplement their learning.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religious Thoughts and Practices

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Greek and Roman Religions

COURSE DIRECTOR:

Mohamed Khimji

CLASS TIME AND LOCATION: Tues & Thurs 8:30–9:30 am (plus tutorial), LAS C

RESERVED SPACES: Some spaces are reserved for Year 01 students.

COURSE CREDIT EXCLUSION: AP/HUMA 1710 6.00

HUMA 1105 9.0 MYTH & IMAGINATION IN ANCIENT GREECE & ROME

The myths of the ancient Greeks and Romans constitute a continuous tradition that stretches back beyond the writing of history down to our present day. These narratives have survived for millennia because they continue to compel, fascinate, and inspire their audiences, despite differences in language, historical era, and social context. The legends of complex, larger-than-life mythological heroes like Hercules, Theseus, and Odysseus have been retold and reimagined countless times, as have the dark and difficult tales of Medea, Persephone, and Oedipus. The search for the meaning of these myths has profoundly influenced a wide range of intellectual disciplines including psychoanalysis, anthropology, and literary criticism, while visual artists, musicians, writers, film makers, and game designers have returned to these stories for inspiration time and again. Ancient Greek and Roman mythology continues to exercise a fundamental influence on western culture, including popular culture.

COURSE CATEGORY: Self, Society, and the Other; Religion, Literature, and the Arts

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Greek and Roman Religions

COURSE DIRECTOR: Loredana Kun

CLASS TIME AND LOCATION: Mon & Wed 8:30–9:30 am (plus tutorial), VH A

COURSE WEBSITE:

RESERVED SPACES: Some spaces are reserved for Year 01 students.

HUMA 1106 9.0 EGYPT IN THE GREEK & ROMAN MEDITERRANEAN

This course looks at the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean world from the perspective of cultural exchange, focusing on Egypt from 1000 BCE to the 2nd century CE.  Students will be introduced to the history and culture of Pharaonic Egypt and will study its interactions with other societies. They will trace its fall from superpower status at the end of the Bronze Age through a period of internal division and foreign invasion, to the country’s long term colonization by Macedonians and Greeks and later Roman rule. They will learn how Egypt became home to different cultural and ethnic communities and how its culture adapted to this situation. This course places particular emphasis on the study of religious concepts and practices, especially as they relate to state sponsored ideologies and social developments.

COURSE CATEGORY: Self, Society, and the Other

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Greek and Roman Religions

COURSE DIRECTOR:

Robyn Gillam

CLASS TIME AND LOCATION: Mon 12:30–2:30 pm (plus tutorial), DB 0014

COURSE CREDIT EXCLUSION: AP/HUMA 2110 9.00 (prior to Fall 2014).

RESERVED SPACES: Some spaces are reserved for Year 01 students.

HUMA 1110 9.0 GREEK & BIBLICAL TRADITIONS

A study of early Mesopotamian, Greek, Jewish and Christian literature (1) to understand its original meanings and (2) to explore its relevance to our search for personal ethical norms, images of female and male, models of the just society and conceptions of transcendent reality. The course aims (3) to teach students methods of literary criticism, textual interpretation, historical inquiry, conceptual analysis, and cross-cultural comparisons.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religious Thoughts and Practices

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Christianity, Greek and Roman Religions

COURSE CREDIT EXCLUSION: AP/HUMA 1710 6.00.

THIS COURSE IS NOT OFFERED IN 2019/2020

HUMA 1165 6.0 GODS AND HUMANS

This course explores the interactions between Gods and humans in literature, art, and philosophy. We focus on critical questions, emotional struggles, and personal journeys that characterize interactions between humans and Gods. Special attention is given to the reasons why religious and secular people are interested in these interactions today. Using texts, films, and diverse works of art, we personally, publicly, and critically engage in the richly living struggle for faith, certainty, and beauty in our everyday world. This course concentrates on four interdisciplinary themes: 1) the struggle to be good, 2) personal trials and transformations, 3) the challenge of the Enlightenment and 4) the cleaving to the Gods.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religion, Literature, and the Arts

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Varies by year

RESERVED SPACES: Some spaces are reserved for Year 01 students.

SECTION A

COURSE DIRECTOR:

Eric Bronson

CLASS TIME AND LOCATION: Wed 4:30–6:30 pm (plus tutorial), CLH D

SECTION B (FULLY ONLINE)

COURSE DIRECTOR:

Eric Bronson

HUMA 1300 9.0 CULTURES OF THE RESISTANCE IN THE AMERICAS

This course addresses the ways in which diasporic Africans have responded to and resisted their enslaved and subordinated status in the Americas. Resistance is first addressed in relationship to slavery, but later in the course resistance is seen in a much broader context: in response to post-colonial and post-civil rights, and as an engagement of national, economic, cultural and social forces. Thus, resistance might be understood as a continuing legacy of black peoples' existence in the Americas. Resistance is, first, read in relationship to European domination in the Americas and, second, to national and other post-emancipation forms of domination which force us to think of resistance in increasingly more complex ways. The "anatomy of prejudices"-sexism, homophobia, class oppression, racism-come under scrutiny as the course attempts to articulate the libratory project. The course focuses, then, on the cultural experiences of African diasporic peoples, examining the issues raised through a close study of black cultures in the Caribbean, the United States and Canada. It critically engages the ways in which cultural practices and traditions have survived and been transformed in the context of black subordination. It addresses the aesthetic, religious and ethical practices that enable black people to survive and build "communities of resistance" and allow them both to carve out a space in the Americas they can call home and to contribute variously to the cultures of the region.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religious Thoughts and Practices; Self, Society, and the Other

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Christianity

COURSE DIRECTORS (CLICK ON IMAGE TO SEE FACULTY PROFILE):

Andrea Davis

Andrea Medovarski

CLASS TIME AND LOCATION: Tues 12:30–2:30 pm (plus tutorial), CLH E

COURSE WEBSITE:

RESERVED SPACES: Some spaces are reserved for Year 01 students.

HUMA 1400 9.0 CULTURE AND SOCIETY IN EAST ASIA

No single course can adequately address the richness and complexity of the cultures and societies of East Asia. However, this course will introduce students to important practices and concepts from a broadly humanistic perspective and offer a peek into what it might have been like to actually live in East Asia before widespread globalization. In order to do this, we will examine elements of the social, political, philosophical, artistic, and economic traditions that shaped both elite and popular culture in East Asia from the 1600s to the early 1800s. Our sources will include cultural artifacts (e.g., poems, paintings, clothing, etc.) from this period, writings by East Asians on their own and their neighboring societies, observations on East Asia by contemporary outsiders, and secondary sources by modern scholars who explore particularly challenging topics in depth. By analyzing both the forging of shared beliefs and the development of distinct identities in this critical period, we can better understand the ties between historical and contemporary East Asia, as well as between East Asia and the rest of the world.

Though the primary goal of the course is to teach students about a time and place quite removed from our own, the course is also designed to strengthen each student’s ability to comprehend and critique his or her own culture. As a foundation for broader study at the university level, we will place significant emphasis on analytical skills, class participation, research methods, and writing. Since many aspects of East Asian culture will fall outside of the course curriculum, students will be expected to learn the critical skills of asking important and interesting questions and then figuring out how to produce informative and satisfying answers.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religious Thoughts and Practices

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: East Asian Religions

COURSE DIRECTOR:

Gordon Anderson

CLASS TIME AND LOCATION: Mon 12:30–2:30 pm (plus tutorial), SLH F

COURSE WEBSITE:

RESERVED SPACES: Some spaces are reserved for Year 01 students.

HUMA 1710 6.0 ROOTS OF WESTERN CULTURE

This course investigates the two major branches of Western thought: the Greco-Roman and the Judeo-Christian.  The course begins by critically thinking about how history is “made,”  reworked and transmitted, about oral culture, and how cultural identities emerge (ex. the Hebrews).   Most of the course will be engaged with the ancient Greeks from the Archaic period to the Classical and Hellenistic, and the Romans from the Republic to the early Empire.  The course will end with a consideration of the emergence of proto-orthodox Christianity within the surprising mix of philosophical and religious ideas in the Roman world. Our aim will be to examine texts both critically and in context.  For example we will study the documentary hypothesis which suggests that the Hebrew Bible is a composite work from several sources, and we will consider how our knowledge of “the Greeks” is often based on scant physical remains, fragmentary literary sources which are themselves dependent on second and third hand authors.

Students will be introduced to many kinds of works that emerged in the ancient period:  epic poetry, lyric poetry, fables, parables, dramatic works, philosophical and medical treatises and historical prose.  We will want to engage in close readings of primary texts with a view to understanding key themes and ideas, historical, political, and social contexts, and religious beliefs and practices.  We will consider influences from even more ancient civilizations; highlight certain Greek gods and goddesses and their festivals;  consider the social status of women and slaves and differences between ethnic groups such as the Spartans and Athenians.  We will engage with the texts interpretively which will involve examining various perspectives, examining the use of art and literature for ideological ends, as well as examining our own embedded assumptions about the past. Our primary texts will include most of the following and many more:  excerpts from the Hebrew Bible,  Homer, Hesiod,  Sappho, Aesop, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, Herodotus, Thucydides, Hippocrates,  Livy, Virgil, Lucretius, Epicurus, Epictetus, Apuleius, Marcus Aurelius, Ovid, and excerpts from the New Testament.

COURSE CATEGORY: Self, Society, and the Other

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Ancient Near East Religions, Greek and Roman Religions, Christianity, Judaism

COURSE DIRECTOR:

Carol Bigwood

COURSE TRAILER:

CLASS TIME AND LOCATION: Thurs 11:30 am–2:30 pm, CC 211

COURSE WEBSITE:

RESERVED SPACES: Some spaces are reserved for Year 01 students.

COURSE CREDIT EXCLUSION: AP/HUMA 1110 9.0.

HUMA 1844 6.0 MUSLIM TRAVEL NARRATIVES

New course to be offered in 2020/2021.

HUMA 1845 6.0 ISLAMIC TRADITIONS

This course examines the beliefs, doctrines and institutions that have constituted the Islamic tradition from its inception until the present. While examining some of the most important primary sources that have emerged within Islamic tradition, particular attention is placed on the variety of interpretive strategies used by Muslim exegetes, theologians, legal scholars, Sufis, feminists, etc. in their approach to a variety of issues related to the sacred texts, the Qur’an and the Hadith. Since Islamic tradition is also viewed as a cultural construct, the course also explores its different manifestations throughout the Muslim world and beyond. In line with that view, the course considers the Islamic tradition in terms of its system (“Great Tradition”) and dynamics (“Little Traditions”), which find expression in a wide scope of doctrines, interpretations, and concerns facing Muslims now and in the past.

This course is designed to offer a basic insight into the historical and ideological unity and diversity of Islam. It is an introductory course aimed to provide a comprehensive survey of this religious tradition in accordance with the expectations of a first-year University course. As part of the Religious Studies program it is meant to offer some basic tools for the study of religion in general, exploring the rules of the discipline and its specific vocabulary. As part of the General Education program, the broader goals of this course are to strengthen and develop transferable critical (academic) skills necessary for successful engagement with course material at the university level, in any academic discipline. Some of these skills include: analytical and critical thinking; effective reading of scholarly texts; research and writing techniques; defining, communicating, and defending a viewpoint; building an argument; collaboration with peers.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religious Thoughts and Practices

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Islam

SECTION A

COURSE DIRECTOR:

Marta Simidchieva

CLASS TIME AND LOCATION: Tues 12:30–2:30 pm (plus tutorial), DB 0016

SECTION M (FULLY ONLINE)

COURSE DIRECTOR (CLICK ON IMAGE TO SEE FACULTY PROFILE):

Selma Zecevic

RESERVED SPACES: Some spaces are reserved for Year 01 students.

HUMA 1846 6.0 ARTS AND CULTURE IN SOUTH ASIA

This course examines Indian literature, arts and culture in historical and contemporary context. The course is organized around themes and issues in Indian and South Asian culture. To contextualize the assigned material, class lectures and tutorials will explore the region’s various religious traditions, histories and politics. Arts and literature will provide a framework through which to explore a range of contemporary issues in India and the South Asian subcontinent, including (but not limited to): religion and social difference; communalism and religious conflict; environment, landscape and displacement; histories of music and dance; boundaries, nations, and partitions; gender, sexuality and rights; caste identities and caste-based oppression.

COURSE CATEGORY: Self, Society, and the Other

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Hinduism

COURSE DIRECTOR: Anindo Hazra

CLASS TIME AND LOCATION: 10:30 am–12:30 pm (plus tutorial), DB 0006

COURSE WEBSITE:

RESERVED SPACES: Some spaces are reserved for Year 01 students.

COURSE CREDIT EXCLUSION: AP/HUMA 2440 9.0 (prior to Fall 2014).

HUMA 1850 6.0 THE BIBLE & MODERN CONTEXTS

This course offers a survey of much of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the Christian Bible (New Testament). We begin with a discussion of pre-Israelite religion (i.e., a reconstruction of religion in Palestine before the composition of the Hebrew Bible) and its parallels in Mesopotamian and Egyptian religious practices and texts. Then, we move through the texts of the Hebrew Bible from Genesis to Daniel, discussing each text’s origins, themes, aims and parallels in ancient literature. In the second term we begin an examination of the New Testament noting, again, each text’s origins, themes, aims and parallels in other literature of the time. Throughout the course we will note the historical context of each of the writings, and how ideas and imagery develop over time, from one text/location to another. Students taking the course will finish having a firm grasp of how the Bible is approached in the Humanities and a sound knowledge of fundamental writings that continue to influence Western culture.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religious Thoughts and Practices

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Christianity, Judaism

SECTION A

COURSE DIRECTORS (CLICK ON IMAGES TO SEE FACULTY PROFILES):

Tony Burke

Tony Michael

COURSE TRAILER:

CLASS TIME AND LOCATION: Mon 7–10 pm, SLH B

SECTION M (WINTER)

COURSE DIRECTOR:

Tony Michael

CLASS TIME AND LOCATION: Mon & Wed 2:30–4:30 pm (plus tutorial), DB 0007/CLH 110

RESERVED SPACES: Some spaces are reserved for Year 01 students.

HUMA 1855 9.0A BUDDHISM AND ASIAN CULTURES

This course introduces the diversity of Buddhist ideas and practices in Asia. Exploring Buddhism as a living tradition, it focuses on the impact and interpretation of Buddhism in historical and contemporary cultures. After developing a background in basic Buddhist philosophy we explore Buddhism’s cultural impact in literature, art, ritual, ethics, economics, social interaction and politics. Beginning with the biography of the Buddha and origins of Buddhism in ancient India, the course covers the development of Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana schools. The first semester will focus on the development of Buddhist ideas and their interpretation in contemporary practice in Southeast Asia (Burma/Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia or Laos), South Asia (India, Nepal, or Sri Lanka) and East Asia (China, Japan or Korea). The first semester's topics will include philosophical and narrative texts, art, archaeology, film and studies of ritual, including issues of monasticism and meditation. The second semester will explore ethnographic accounts of Buddhist life and contemporary issues, including discussions of magic, alchemy, gender and sexuality, democracy, nationalism and war.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religious Thoughts and Practices; Self, Society, and the Other; Religion, Literature, and the Arts

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Buddhism, East Asian Religions

RESERVED SPACES: Some spaces are reserved for Year 01 students.

THIS COURSE IS NOT OFFERED IN 2019/2020

HUMA 1860 6.0 THE NATURE OF RELIGION

Explores the nature of religious faith, religious language (myth and symbol) and clusters of religious beliefs through an examination of the primary texts of several major world religions. Methodologies for the study of religion will also be examined. This course is a critical study, based on classical and contemporary readings, of such issues as: the basis of religious claims, the meaning of religious discourse, the relationship between faith and reason, the nature and existence of God, the nature of religious experience, and the problems of evil and human destiny. We will critically examine the nature and various expressions of religious questions about human life, death, suffering, and the afterlife. One of our main goals is to better appreciate religion as it exists in a modern global society. We will examine many different views and ideas in this course. What is sacred? What role do myth, ritual, and scripture play in people’s lives today? Should we (I) care about the transcendent?

COURSE CATEGORY: Methods and Approaches

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Varies by year

SECTION A

COURSE DIRECTOR:

Donald Burke

CLASS TIME AND LOCATION: Tues 4:30–6:30 pm (plus tutorial), CLH E

SECTION B (FULLY ONLINE)

COURSE DIRECTOR:

Donald Burke

RESERVED SPACES: Some spaces are reserved for Year 01 students.

COURSE CREDIT EXCLUSION: AP/HUMA 2800 9.0, AP/SOSC 2600 9.0.

HUMA 1865 6.0 INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY OF RELIGION

This course introduces students to a variety of human religious experiences and traditions. This year we will explore the history, literature, practices and contemporary issues of the following religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, and Chinese and Japanese traditions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. We will study and critically analyze the sacred texts in translation and the various concepts of the lived traditions. As a Foundations course we will include the teaching in both lectures and tutorials of a variety of critical skills and basic research methodologies including: critical reading of primary and secondary sources forms of essay writing and referencing in the Humanities and Social Sciences, and critical thinking.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religious Thoughts and Practices; Methods and Approaches

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Buddhism, East Asian Religions, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity

COURSE DIRECTORS:

Gordon Anderson

Donald Burke

CLASS TIME AND LOCATION: Wed 8:30–10:30 am (plus tutorial), CLH E

COURSE WEBSITE: yorku.ca/ganderso/huma1865

RESERVED SPACES: Some spaces are reserved for Year 01 students.

COURSE CREDIT EXCLUSION: AP/HUMA 1860 6.0.

HUMA 1870 6.0 THE HEBREW BIBLE/OLD TESTAMENT AND THE ARTS

This course looks at selected passages from the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and their interpretative reflection in the western artistic tradition, including pictorial/representational art, music, literature, and cinema. The Hebrew Bible/Old Testament is one of the most influential works of western literature. Over the course of the centuries it has been the subject of myriad interpretations. In addition to traditional sectarian and scholarly readings, the text has served as the inspiration for countless artistic creations, ranging from novels, plays, short stories, paintings, and sculptures, to operas, oratorios, movies, and television shows (including The Simpsons!). Each one of these representations and retellings of these time-worn tales is also an interpretation, reflecting the specific perspective of the author/creator. In this course, we will read selected biblical stories and compare them to selected examples of their re-imagined and reinterpreted versions. The aims of the course are to teach first-year students (1) how to read texts in their broadest sense, (2) how to interpret texts, (3) how to compare differing versions of the same tale/tradition, (4) how to identify and comprehend the ideology and/or theology underlying a text, (5) how to read different types of texts, and (6) how to appreciate various types of artistic creations whose study and enjoyment may be new to them. In addition, the wide range of artistic creations examined in this course serves to introduce students to the temporal and genre-based wealth of the western cultural tradition.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religion, Literature, and the Arts

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Judaism

COURSE DIRECTOR: Meley Mulugetta

CLASS TIME AND LOCATION: Mon 4:30–6:30 pm (plus tutorial), SC 216

COURSE WEBSITE:

RESERVED SPACES: Some spaces are reserved for Year 01 students.

HUMA 1875 9.0 CHRISTIANITY IN CONTEXT

This is an introductory course. It offers a general overview of the Christian tradition from its inception to the present day. From its beginnings, Christianity has been inextricably intertwined with the societies and cultures surrounding it. The focus of this course is the interaction of the Christian tradition with the political, social and cultural environments with which it has come in contact as it has spread around the globe. The lives and thought of influential Christians, both men and women, as well as significant events, movements and texts are examined. Particular attention is paid to the diversity of Christian beliefs and practices resulting from those interactions. This course examines Christianity as a socio-historical phenomenon. It explores with the tools of the academic study of religion the movements, texts, beliefs and practices of this religious tradition and the factors and forces shaping them from its beginnings to the present day.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religious Thoughts and Practices; Self, Society, and the Other

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Christianity

COURSE DIRECTOR:

Tony Michael

CLASS TIME AND LOCATION: Mon 12:30–2:30 pm (plus tutorial), SLH B

RESERVED SPACES: Some spaces are reserved for Year 01 students.

HUMA 1880 6.0 JEWISH EXPERIENCE

An examination of the interaction of Jews and gentiles in selected periods from antiquity through the 20th century. A case study in ethnic adaptation, the course seeks to understand how Jews sometimes adapted their lives to the world around them, and at other times withdrew into themselves, and how at certain times they exerted considerable influence on the people among whom they lived or who lived among them.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religious Thoughts and Practices; Self, Society, and the Other

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Judaism

COURSE DIRECTOR (CLICK ON IMAGE TO SEE FACULTY PROFILE):

Keith Weiser

CLASS TIME AND LOCATION: Thurs 12:30–2:30 pm (plus tutorial), DB 0007

COURSE WEBSITE:

RESERVED SPACES: Some spaces are reserved for Year 01 students.