Current Course Information

The following list represents the detailed course descriptions of our current offerings; for the full range of courses offered in the Religious Studies program, please consult the Undergraduate Course Descriptions in the UNF Catalog.


REL 2300 Comparative Religion

The specific content of this course varies by instructor but in general it introduces students to one of the two primary approaches to Religious Studies: Comparative Religion (sometimes called the History of Religions).  It includes an introduction to the academic study of religion, a survey of the world's major religious traditions and a discussion such categories as myth, ritual, religious experience, and religious institutions.  This course fulfills the University’s “Cultural Diversity” requirement and is a requirement for both the major and the minor.

Fall 2016 Upper Division 

REL 3040 Religion: Theory & Methods

CRN: 82231
F 1200-1445 
Instructor: B. Denison 



Do you know what religion is when you see it? This class will challenge your ideas about what counts as religion and how we think about religion. We'll read some of the most influential thinkers in religious studies in order to dissect and understand how religious people and scholars approach the idea of religion. Along the way, we'll consider Tupperware, Oprah, and rock n' roll as religions in order to test a variety of theories about religion. By the end of the semester, you will be well-versed in how academics think about religion and will be able to hold your own in any conversation about religion. This is a requirement for the religious studies major.



REL 3102 CD-Religion as Culture

CRN: 80916
MW 1330-1445 
Instructor: J. Ingersoll 



This course will introduce students to one of the primary approaches to Religious Studies: the Social Scientific Study of religion as culture. We will begin with a unit examining classical theorists (Durkheim and Weber) and current theoretical developments and exploring some key methodological issues.  In Units Two and Three we will draw on case studies illustrating religious diversity in the United States to refine/apply our understandings of theory and method and practice that application in the context of a field based research project. This course fulfills the University’s “Cultural Diversity” requirement and is a requirement for both the major and the minor.


REL 3111 Religion and Film

CRN: 83054
Distance Learning 
Instructor: B. Denison



American film has a long history of fraught interactions between religious Americans and popular cultures. The course explores the politics of representing religion at key moments in both American film and American religious history. We will attend to the interplay among representations of religious belief, practice, individuals, and institutions and constructions of nation, race, gender, and sexuality. The course will consider what the processes of movie production and the cultural experience of movie-going can disclose about aspects of American religious life. We will also explore what representations of religion reveal about understandings of American national identity. 




REL 3148 Religion and Violence

CRN: 83055
MW 1630-1745 
Instructor: J. Ingersoll 



After the events of September 11, many commentators and scholars, wishing to ensure that the American public did not blame Islam for the violence, sought to argue that Islam is a peaceful religion and that violent Muslims are not “real” Muslims. This perspective is based in several problematic assumptions. First, it assumes that there is such a thing as "real (authentic) religion" that exists independent of its cultural expressions; second, it assumes that elites in the mainstream are the only ones who can say what a religion “really” is; third, it assumes that religion is always “good.” This course will seek to problematize those assumptions (about Islam, but about other religions as well). We will look at studies of several different groups (Muslim, Christian, Buddhist) that claim religious justifications for violence and then explore some theoretical perspectives aimed at explaining the relationship between religion and violence.



REL 3936 Chinese Philosophy

CRN: 83034
MW 1330-1445
Instructor: S. Mattice 



This course will introduce students to the main philosophical texts, ideas, and trends in Chinese philosophy. Students will gain familiarity with major texts such as the Analects and the Zhuangzi, as well as key philosophical vocabulary such as dao, de, ren, ziran, li, qi, and xiao. After completing the course, students will have a grasp of the main schools of thought in China, including Confucianism, Daoism, Mohism, and Chinese Buddhism, and how these schools developed over time. 



REL 3936 Philosophy of Religion

CRN: 83039
TR 1340-1455
Instructor: J. Matheson 



This course will examine several debates within the philosophy of religion.  We will focus on two broad questions.  Q1: What would God be like?   Q2: Is it rational to believe in God?  Under Q1 we will examine such puzzles as: Can God create a stone too heavy for God to lift?  Can God know the future free actions of people?  Can God be perfect and still be free?  What is God’s relation to morality?  Under Q2 we will examine such puzzles as: Does the existence of evil show that God does not exist?  Does religious disagreement or science show that God doesn’t exist?  Do religious experiences make it reasonable to believe that God exists?  Does the existence and intricacy of the universe make it reasonable to believe that God exists? This course can be used to fill university electives or requirements of the Religious Studies Major or Minor.

REL 3936 Religion and Monsters

CRN: 83056
TR 1215-1330
Instructor: B. Denison 



Religion tells us what we should shun: the unfamiliar; the impermissible; the Other. We turn to religion to protect us from demons, vampires, and other monsters. Knowing what scares us tells us who we are, what we want, and what we cannot or will not tolerate. This course uses monsters and the idea of the monstrous to introduce foundational concepts in the academic study of religion. Students analyze popular culture sources, including films, short stories, and novels, in conversation with scholarship on religion and cultural studies to explore what monstrosity can tell us about religious identity.