Online and Blended Courses

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: Multiple

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

SECTION B (FULLY ONLINE)

COURSE DIRECTOR:

Eric Bronson

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 M (WINTER; FULLY ONLINE)

COURSE DIRECTOR (CLICK ON IMAGE FOR FACULTY PROFILE):

Selma Zecevic

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

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 B (FULLY ONLINE)

COURSE DIRECTOR:

Donald Burke

COURSE WEBSITE:

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

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

HUMA 3831 3.0 (WINTER) TORAH & TRADITION: JEWISH RELIGIOUS EXPRESSIONS FROM ANTIQUITY TO THE PRESENT

This course offers an exploration of Jewish beliefs, institutions, and bodies of literature, emphasizing continuities and changes in religious expression within and across different places, circumstances, and times. Themes covered include God, the Jewish people, Torah and its interpretation, the land of Israel; the commandments (mitzvot) and their legal (halakhic) expressions; the Sabbath; daily and calendrical cycles of holiness; rites of passage, and messianic teachings. Particular attention will be paid to the varieties of Jewish religious denominations in modern times. This course will be offered totally online. Lectures and many of the readings will be posted on the course website. All assignments will be submitted online except for the final examination in the official final examination period of the university.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religious Thoughts and Practices

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Judaism

COURSE DIRECTOR (CLICK ON IMAGE FOR FACULTY PROFILE):

Martin Lockshin

CLASS TIME AND LOCATION: Online

RESERVED SPACES: Some spaces reserved for Humanities & Jewish Studies and Religious Studies Majors and Minors.

HUMA 3800 6.0 GOD ONLINE: RELIGION IN THE DIGITAL AGE

An interdisciplinary investigation into the changing nature of traditional religions in the digital age. This course examines ways in which religion is being shaped by digital culture, including the widespread social acceptance of new technologies and scientific ideals. The digital is changing human beings—we are adapting to new technologies more so than technologies adapting to us. Living in the digital age is not merely about new forms of communication and binary thinking, but about radical changes in beliefs, practices, and even self-identity. This course takes an interdisciplinary approach (sociology, history, religion, philosophy, psychology) that relies on the basic paradigm—friends, enemies, strangers—in order to frame the dynamic relationship between religion and the digital. Topics include religion in the context of: new technologies, new forms of communication, popular culture, film and media, changes to notions of social justice (ethics), and current science/religion debates. Broad and narrow course questions include: Has religion been largely supplanted (replaced) and/or augmented by secularism, which depends on human practical and technological innovation? Is the supplanting of religion a myth created by intellectuals? What does the current digital and techno-scientific culture mean for religion, and vice-versa? Is spiritual understanding possibly based on a digital understanding? Does the digital offer us new ways of participating in religion? Does the digital mount a fundamental opposition to the spiritual?

NOTE: this course is offered exclusively online.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religious Thoughts and Practices

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Multiple

THIS COURSE WILL BE OFFERED IN SPRING/SUMMER 2021

HUMA 4813 3.0 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS: MORALITY, SEXUALITY AND STRATEGIES OF INTERPRETATION

This course examines the history of the reception and interpretation of The Arabian Nights, from its first appearance in Galland’s 1701 translation to its modern editions by Husain Haddawy in 2008. Interdisciplinary in approach, this course exposes students to concepts derived from the contemporary discussions of the problems of originality, authorship, translatability, and the reception of the Arabian Nights.

In the first part of the course (sessions 1-4), students acquire the theoretical and methodological tools necessary for a critical examination of different visual and textual versions of the stories from The Arabian Nights. In the second part of the course (sessions 5-15), students examine individual tales in conjunction with scholarly works that focus on story-telling techniques and narrative strategies of The Arabian Nights. In their analysis of selected stories, students focus on the concepts of morality, sexuality, spatiality, and gender. In the third part of the course (sessions 16-24), students examine different visual and textual renditions of the most popular tales from The Arabian Nights (Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp, Sindbad, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves). Students pay special attention to the European reception of these tales and the attempts by European ethnographers, linguists, historians and visual artists to represent their content as non-fictional, historical accounts of Arab society, Oriental sexuality, Islamic religiosity, and so on.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religion, Literature, and the Arts

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Islam

THIS COURSE IS NOT OFFERED IN 2020/2021

RESERVED SPACES: All spaces reserved for Yr 03 & 04 Humanities & Religious Studies Majors and Minors.

HUMA 4816 6.0 WOMEN IN ISLAMIC LITERATURE

This interdisciplinary course focuses on the representations of women in modern-day literary, scholarly, and visual “texts,” produced by both men and women in Muslim-majority countries and their diasporas in the West. It covers a wide range of geographical regions and treats a variety of literary texts (novels, short stories, poetry), as well as other art forms (painting, photography, film). Thematically, its main goals are two: a/ To explore issues of gender, as reflected in the selected sources, and to discuss the factors which affect the perception of gender roles and the representations of women in a given cultural setting; b/ To acquaint students with authors of international renown, whose works reflect important cultural, ideological, and aesthetic trends in modern Muslim societies and communities. Students are invited to consider the extent to which religion shapes the creative choices of the authors. Is the dominant mode of women’s representation typified by Islamic values and ideals? Or is there an array of associations and images of women that stem out of different cultural, political, and aesthetic sensibilities? How is the female body, behavior, sexuality, and identity at large constructed in reference to literary, cultural, and societal norms? What is the relationship between text and context? How do historical circumstances, “the spirit of the times”, and the priorities of the moment affect the representation of women, and the issues which authors choose to highlight? In addressing these topics, the course explores--and in part problematizes--the term “Islamic literatures/cultures” when used as a common denominator for a host of creative activities that transcend purely religion-oriented behavior and experience. It also tests the conventional polarities between tradition and modernity, religion and secularism, East and West.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religion, Literature, and the Arts

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Islam

THIS COURSE IS NOT OFFERED ONLINE IN 2020/2021

RESERVED SPACES: All spaces reserved for Yr 03 & 04 Humanities & Religious Studies Majors and Minors.