2021-22 Fall/Winter - History of Religions: Topic Courses

RLG350H5F - Topics in Islam: Magic and Occultism in Islam (A. Mansouri)

This course aims to examine various religious, social, and political dimensions of the fascinating history of the occult in the Islamic world. While occultism was often perceived as "pseudo-scientific", "superstitious", and "religiously improper", hence it was exorcised from the academic community, contemporary scholarship has given a prominent place to this topic and integrated it into the study of religion. We thus explore theoretical debates about modernity, colonialism, and the study of occult sciences and how they reshape our understanding of religion with a particular focus on various branches of occult traditions in Islam such as alchemy, astrology, popular medicine, and magic of letters.


RLG360H5F - Topics in South Asian Religions: Oral Histories of South Asian Peel (J. Vig)

While South Asian Canadians are an essential part of the rich diversity of Missisauga, Brampton, and surrounding areas, the stories of this community are rarely told or collected in a systematic way. This course will focus on uncovering, analyzing, and presenting the stories of the South Asian community in the Peel region. Students will learn the methods of oral history as well as the technological side of preparing a digital humanities project. These students will design, undertake, produce, and archive the interviews. The final project will involve a digital exhibition of their findings.


RLG388H5S - Special Topics: Religion and the Colonial Encounter (K. Ali)

This course introduces undergraduates to topics related to European colonial expansion from the 15th to 20th centuries in Asia, Africa, and the Americas, and asks the question: How have various colonized communities navigated the conditions of life under colonial rule? This course will study religion within a postcolonial and decolonial framework, looking at how imperial encounters have shaped the development of religious traditions in colonial spaces in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. The course specifically asks critical questions about the ways in which various communities practice, think about, and debate religion and tradition in the colonial period, and how colonial legacies have shaped and limited the ways in which peoples have organized their lives and reinterpreted their traditions.


RLG401H5F - 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 almost anything, and be in any kind of media - books, film, video games, graphic novels, podcasts, etc. Students will choose which stories they want to look at and how they want to look at them.


RLG470H5S - Advanced Topics in Buddhism: Buddhism as Translation  (C. Emmrich)

Buddhist texts are arguably the most widely and variously translated texts in the world. This process of ongoing transfer and reformulation spans from the Middle Indic languages in the early centuries BCE to the 'classical' Buddhist languages such as Sanskrit, Tibetan and Chinese, including most 'big' East, South, Southeast Asian and many less well-known languages such as Mon, Newar or Tocharian, as well as more recent global languages like the so-called "Buddhist Hybrid English" of contemporary academic translations. It is in these shifts that both the continuities and the discontinuities of Buddhism have been reinscribed into its very textual, poetic, hermeneutic, and intellectual fabric. As we do not even know wich language the historical Buddha spoke in, Buddhism has been forever both lost and found, and in fact may have never existed anywhere else than, in translation. This course, designed for students interested in the crossover of religion, language, and intercultural exchange will take a peep in the Buddhist translator's workshop, compare diverging English renderings of the same classical Buddhist text, and confront the insights gained therefrom with classical and more recent theories of translation.