Religion and Culture Course List
This course introduces students to foundational concepts and debates within the humanities and social sciences by studying one of a rotating set of themes (e.g. love, evil, apocalypse) located at the intersection of religion and culture. Emphasis on cultural diversity, historical transformation, interdisciplinary inquiry, problem-solving and the application of academic discussions to everyday life situations.
Nature of religion and the analysis of it from an academic perspective. Basic tenets of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, including their manifestations in the United States and their involvement in critical issues in a global context. Interpretation of key texts from various historical and cultural contexts.
Modern challenges to traditional religion and responses to these challenges, including: religion as an object of critique; law, sovereignty, and religion; religion, gender, and race; religion, science, and technology; religion and media presentations.
Influential representative social and religious ethical perspectives from the mid-sixties to the present; ethical reasoning on current pressing and perennial social issues based on historical and ethical analysis of case studies; theoretical assumptions about morality as the relation between justice and the good.
Fundamentals of Modern Hebrew language with emphasis on grammar, reading, composition, and conversation. For students with no prior knowledge of the language.
Complementary introduction to the fundamentals of Modern Hebrew language with continued emphasis on grammar, reading, composition, and conversation. This course is for students who have completed 1104 or with permission from instructor. 1114 is a four-credit course with a self-instruction component that demands student time outside of class. Pre: 1104.
Ancient cultures of the Mediterranean world with a focus on their embodiments in the arts, literature, history, philosophy, and religion. Emphasis on Green, Hellenistic and Roman cultures, their interrelationships with each other and their historical, cultural, material and intellectual encounters with contemporary Mediterranean cultures as well as their influence on later and modern cultures.
Introduction to Europe and the Mediterranean world in the period between antiquity and the European encounter with the Americas. Investigation of the arts, literature, philosophy, and history of the period in the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic traditions and the multiple types of encounters that those communities experienced. Analysis of the impact the medieval world continues to have on the modern West.
The shifts in thought and values during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the global imagination, including issues of commerce, scientific inquiry, industrialization, nationalism, war, labor, gender, class differences, race, and the beginnings of postmodernity. Emphasis on interpretive and analytic skills in terms of reading, discussing, and writing about the interrelationships among the arts, literature, philosophy, history, religion, and science, and their contributions toward shaping the values and aspirations of the age, including global contexts and Asian cultures.
Explores written, visual, and performing arts of selected periods and cultures, setting them in the context of their times. Study of these periods linked with overarching questions of cultural encounters, interactions and negotiations. Introduces principles of each art form as well as the means of appreciation. Students taught methods in researching, writing, and presenting on these art forms.
Introduces students to the history of the Appalachian region from European contact to the present. Traces the idea of Appalachia by tracing ways in which Americans have imagined the region over time. Explores humanistic problems of cultural identity, race and ethnicity, place and globalization, and impacts of natural resource extraction.
Historical and geographical overview of diverse religious/cultural traditions in Asia, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Confucianism, Daoism, and Shinto. Investigation of the categories "religion" and "culture" and their interactions in Asia. Examination of different methodological and interdisciplinary approaches and their integration, with emphasis on critical thinking about the complexities of studying religion and culture in Asia. Asia on a global stage, including Western views of Asia and Asian views of the West.
Significant case studies in the study of religion and culture with an emphasis on influential and emerging research. Focused engagement with humanities and social sciences research grounded in analysis, comparison, and evaluation of relevant case studies.
Introduction to the methodological tools used by anthropologists and other social scientists to study culture. Engagement with the development of, and debates about, ethnographic methods, as well as their application to case studies. Focus on analyses of sample ethnographic accounts of peoples throughout the world, as well as research techniques applicable to many different cultural environments.
Readings from the New Testament in Greek, with attention to grammatical analysis, historical background and other clues interpretation. May repeated with different content for a maximum of 9 credits. Pre: GR 1106.
Understanding and integrating source materials for the study of religion in American life. Genealogy of religion and culture in American (USA). Changes and transformations in religious beliefs and practices and their influences on American life. Debates about religion and culture. Entanglements of religion, politics, race, ethnicity, and law.
Introduction to the academic study of Judaism; a variety of scholarly approaches to Jewish textual and cultural sources, including the Hebrew Bible, rabbinic literature, and diverse contemporary cultural, religious, and social expressions. Emphasis on developing skills in critical thinking, reading, and writing about Judaism as a way of understanding the beliefs, philosophies, and histories of global Jewish communities past and present.
The role of religious (or belief) systems in African societies, especially the three predominant religious traditions in Africa: the so-called African Traditional Religious, Islam, and Christianity; the universe of religious systems and religious experiences and processes of Africa, in particular, Sub-Saharan Africa; critical examination of the mythic stature of Africa's "religions" within Western cultural (and scholarly) world views and institutions.
Influence of race and gender on religion and culture. Overview of approaches to categories of diversity, particularly race and gender, in religious and cultural traditions. Utilization of humanistic and social scientific approaches to investigate geographically variable historical and/ or contemporary case studies.
The rise of Islam under the Prophet Muhammad in Arabia and its spread across Asia and Africa. The development of Islam in the middle Ages and its resurgence in the 20th century.
Introduction to the academic study of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), including its contents, contexts, major themes, and reception; a variety of scholarly approaches, including historical-critical, literary, ethical, and gender studies methods. Emphasis on developing skills in critical thinking, reading, and writing about the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament).
Introduction to the academic study of the New Testament, including gospels, Pauline materials, theological themes, and sources on the emerging church. A variety of scholarly approaches to the New Testament texts and contexts, including historical-critical, redaction critical, and literary methods. Emphasis on developing skills in critical thinking, reading, and writing about the New Testament and the ancient Mediterranean world as a way of understanding the religion and history of early Christianity.
Surveys ancient Greek and Roman mythology. Provides students with an introduction to selected myths from ancient Greek and Roman literature, including appropriate historical background information. Familiarizes students with how theories of myth have been applied to individual stories and how such mythological tales have been received by authors and artists in subsequent cultures. Explores the interaction and interdependence of mythological tales from different cultures and perspectives. In English.
Exploration of the relationships between religion and science in the western tradition. Basic frameworks for relationships between religion and science in historical and cultural context, types of human knowledge and truth, similarities and differences between science and religion, evolution, the origins of the creationist movement, and contemporary moral and ethical issues.
Investigation of the categories of religion and secularity as they apply to war and peace. Analysis of episodes from both past and present in which religion seems to have played a role. Introduction to research skills related to the study of religion and violence, building from theoretical and historical considerations.
Methodology and tools of American Studies, with a focus on developing analytic skills to assess discourse across varied media. Interdisciplinary investigation of histories, politics, cultures, and beliefs in the Americas, including the impacts of encounter and exchange. Intensive study of a specific topic or period.
Critical overview of diverse Asian-American experience, the complexity of minority status, and meaningful citizenship in the USA. Topics include different historical tracks of various Asian ethnicities, experience of racism, activism, cultural adaptation and conflict, and economic survival and success.
An examination of women and gender in Islam from a variety perspectives including Muslim women in Islamic history, normative constructions of the role of women in Islam, and women's roles in contemporary Muslim societies. Understanding of women in classical Islam; feminist and reformist approaches; and Western constructions of the "rights of women if Islam."
Read works from world literature, guided by selected critical readings. Compare/contrast diverse models of "religion" and "literature." Study how modernity has impacted traditions of religion and culture. Interpret literary texts that draw from multiple religions. Analyze religion-literature controversies in a range of social, cultural, political contexts. Synthesize sources of multiple media, formats, and contexts.
Examination of theories for understanding the ways in which popular objects and practices (such as television programs, films, or attending sporting events) represent, maintain, and contest societal norms, including norms regarding gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, and class and place with an emphasis on the United States.
Focuses on interdisciplinary topics involving interrelationships among various arts and/or artists. Explores the religious and/or cultural impacts of arts and/or artists on societies and of societies on artistic expression. Investigates humanistic debates about the nature of art. May be taken a maximum of 3 times for credit with different topics.
Exploration of how racial and ethnic identity are expressed through the use of different languages and dialects. Examination of how language is related to issues of equality, social opportunity, and discrimination in the United States. Pre: ENGL 1106 or ENGL 1204H or COMM 1016.
Exploration of communication in various cultural groups through the medium of performance. Emphasis on understanding cultural differences and similarities in styles of communications, aesthetics, worldviews, and values.
Interdisciplinary examination of the genealogy of Indian religions (including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism) through anthropological, literary, historical, and textual source materials. Colonial construction and reform of these religions according to modern, “universal” European ideas of religion; how European notions of the modern nation-state, law, and religious tolerance, and European concepts of self, autonomy, community, (univocal) language, and multiculturalism impacted Indian religions. Pre-modern versus modern notions of tradition and power in Indian caste, and religious-political identity.
Premodern model of Chinese and Japanese religions: interactions of various traditions (e.g. Confucianism, Buddhism, Daoism, Shinto, and folk); inseparability of religion, culture, society, and politics. Modern reinventions of religion in China and Japan in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Contemporary issues such as state-religion relations in East Asia, religions of China and Japan in America, East Asian religions and globalization.
Detailed study of the first five books of the Bible, known as the Torah or Pentateuch. Scholarly approaches will include historical-critical research; comparative mythology; form and canon criticism; gender and literary studies; and the reception of these books in the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, and beyond. Pre: RLCL 2414.
Literary survey of the various representations of Jesus of Nazareth in canonical and apocryphal Christian literature of the first four centuries. Perspectives on Jesus and the interpretive authority involved in producing such variety. Ancient and modern interpretive frameworks for understanding the person and legacy of Jesus in earliest Christianity, including historical-critical frameworks, redaction criticism, genre criticism, and other literary methods. Analyses of modern religious/political discourses and continuations of ancient theological debates. Emphasis on developing skills in critical thinking and close reading of early Christian texts as a means of understanding the religion(s) and histories of the earliest Christians.
Literary survey focusing on the diversity of Christian beliefs in the first four centuries. Highlights a variety of theological debates and the historical and cultural contexts involved in the eventual production of a Christian orthodoxy, Over and against so-called heresy. The history and content of early Christian texts, both canonical and apocryphal. Ancient and modern interpretive frameworks for understanding the variety and diversity of earliest Christian beliefs, including historical-critical frameworks comparative reading, source criticism, and other literary methods. Emphasis on developing skills in critical thinking and close reading of early Christian texts as a means of understanding the religion(s) and histories of the earliest Christians.
The concept of community in Appalachia using an interdisciplinary approach and experiential learning. Interrelationships among geographically, culturally, and socially constituted communities, public policy, and human development. Pre: Junior standing.
This course provides a historical account, a psychological analysis, and an occasion for philosophical contemplation on the Holocaust. We will examine the deliberate and systematic attempt to annihilate the Jewish people by the National Socialist German State during World War II. Although Jews were the primary victims, Gypsies, people with disabilities, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses and political dissidents were targeted; we will discuss their fate as well. The class will be organized around the examination of primary sources: written accounts, photographic and film, personal testimony.
The origins and development of religious violence examined from an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural perspective; the place of that phenomenon in medieval society. Christianity, Islam, Judaism and their interactions in the medieval world.
This course provides a survey on the political history of the State of Israel and highlights major themes uniquely characterizing the specific events surrounding its establishment and its first 50 years of existence. Additionally, the course will add a comparative dimension by using the political history of Israel as a case study to discuss major themes in political science such as democracy, government, political, economy, etc. Pre: JUD 2134 or PSCI 1024.
Issues facing the contemporary Islamic world, with a focus on the Islamic resurgence and the concept of Jihad. Muslims re-formulate the Islamic tradition as a response to the pressures of modernity.
Religion as a social structure as well as an institution; with special attention to the functions of religion for individuals, groups and societies, social organization; and the interplay between religion and other social institutions including economics and polity. Taught alternate years. Pre: SOC 1004.
An empirical examination of how Appalachian speech both reflects and constitutes regional cultures. Emphasis is on applying sociological and anthropological methods and theories to the study of language in use.
Popular culture as a humanistic discipline; emphasis on archetypes, formulas, and genres; the function of ideas, images, and icons on the popular imagination.
Undergraduate participatory community research as applied to issues of cultural heritage, sustainability, and identity. Students engage in projects defined by community groups and organizations as being critical to their well-being, continuity, or growth. Emphasis is on developing concepts of civic professionalism and developmental democracy.
In-depth study of special interdisciplinary topic. Topics vary but involve a close and extensive study of the interrelationship between cultural ideas and their expressions in several of the following forms: literature, philosophy, religion, art, music, drama, material culture, and popular culture. May be repeated with different topics, for a maximum of 9 credits.
Uses sociological, anthropological, as well as artistic and humanist paradigms to analyze culture. Discusses 20th and 21st century cultural trends. Analyzes the implications of social context for cultural artifacts such as art. Topics are variable. Example topics include the cultural construction of race and the culture of the nineteen sixties. Course may be repeated with different course content for up to 6 credits. Junior or Senior standing. Pre: SOC 1004 or SOC 1014 or AFST 1714 or AINS 1104 or RLCL 1004 or RLCL 2004 or WGS 1824.
Selected topics from the religions of the world such as time and the sacred, preliterate religions, women and religion, religion and science, mysticism. May be taken three times for credit with different topics. Pre: RLCL 2004.
Selected topics in Jewish culture, history and thought. Possible topics includes: the philosophy of Maimonides, Spinoza or Buber, or a course dedicated to one of the following topics: Kabbalah, Hasidism, The American Jewish experience in the first half of the 20th century, and Oriental Jewish art and folklore. Two JUD courses or senior standing required. Alternate years.
Examination of informal learning systems, non-commodified socioeconomic systems, and traditional aesthetic expressions in Appalachia. Investigation of cultural resistance to globalized market economics as expressed in traditional artifacts and customs. Pre: Junior standing.
Topics course that examines major issues affecting sustainability and continuity of contemporary Appalachia. Focus is on problems of exploitation of human and natural resources. Comparison is made to other mountain communities worldwide. Specific topics vary. May be repeated one time with different topics. Pre: APS/HUM 1704.
Pass/Fail only. Variable credit course.
Variable credit course.
Variable credit course.
Variable credit course.
Survey and study of music traditions in Appalachia. Investigation of the formal elements of this music, including instruments and musical terms and forms. Exploration of style as a reflection of many cultural influences.
Examination of the world’s great oral traditional, both ancient and contemporary. Emphasis on performance contexts, relationships among multicultural traditions, including American Indian oral traditions, and the relationships among orality, literacy, technology, media, and culture.
Explores ways in which creativity and design can be understood historically as well as understood and practiced in a classroom setting. Subjects include any or all of the following: theories of creativity; traditions associated with understanding and making several kinds of art; studying artworks from different cultural backgrounds, working with the limitations and possibilities inherent in design preparing final creative projects for classroom presentation.
A consideration of religious belief and its justification with attention to such philosophical issues as the nature and existence of the Judeo-Christian-Muslim God, proofs for the existence of God, the problem of evil, a religious basis for ethics, the nature of faith, and the variety of religious beliefs.
Variable credit course.