2019-2020 - History of Religions: Topic Courses

RLG340H5F: Topics in Christianity: Heaven and Hell: Christian Afterlives (D. Baillargeon)

What do Christians believe happens to us after Death? Where do we go and in what form? In studying the history of Christian conceptions of the afterlife from antiquity until the present, this reading-and-writing-intensive course surveys various historical, literary, philosophical, and theological texts that were fundamental in shaping how heaven and hell are envisioned in Western culture.

RLG370H5F: Topics in Buddhism: Buddhism and the Body (L. Obrock)

This course examines the ways in which the body has been conceptualized, despised, and venerated within the Buddhist tradition. Looking at sources from the earliest scriptures to tantric texts to neuroscience and meditation, we will examine the body and gender, the body as object of sacrifice, the body in ritual, and the body as site of virtue and vice. Relying on primary sources in translation and modern theoretical interventions, this course will act as more than a survey of Buddhist thinking on the body; rather it investigates Buddhism as a lived, practiced, and embodied tradition.

RLG401H5S: Advanced Topics in Religion and the Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts: Religion and Stories (K. Derry)

In this course we will examine multiple ways in which it is possible to think about connections between religion and stories. The form and content of these stories can vary widely. They can be about pretty much anything, and be in any kind of media - books, films, video games, graphic novels, podcasts, etc. Students will choose which stories they want to look at and how they want to look at them.

RLG460H5F: Advanced Topics in South Asian Religions: Ritual, Material Practice, and the Senses in South Asian Islam (K. Ruffle)

How do South Asian Muslims experience ritual events through the five senses: vision, touch, audition, taste, and smell? In this course we will consider the role of the Indo-Islamic sensorium and the ways in which it has shaped diverse forms of South Asian Islamic (Sunni, Shiʿi, and Sufi) religious ritual and material practice, and sacred space. We will engage with a broad range of approaches including religious studies, anthropology, film studies, ethnomusicology, history, and literature. We will pay careful attention to how scholars in different fields approach and question the ways in which South Asian Muslims engage with material objects and practices and sense the world religiously.