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 

Summer A 2014 Upper Division

REL 3936 Bible & Moral Discourse

CRN: 51176
MW 1810-2140
Instructor: t. Simpson

   

 

This class is an examination of the manner in which the Christian Bible has been and is employed in moral, political, and cultural discourse.  After considering the structure of both testaments of the Bible and the circumstances surrounding their emergence, the course examines historical and contemporary ways in which the Bible has been used in public debates, focusing on such topics as slavery, modern capitalism, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, homosexuality, immigration, abortion, and end of life issues.  A central aim of the course is to teach students skills needed to reach the Bible and Biblical passages with regard to matters of current and historical moral controversy.  The course also seeks to assess what value the Bible may hold in clarifying contemporary moral controversies and in contributing to contemporary public discourse.This course can be used to fill university electives or requirements of the Religious Studies Major or Minor.
 

Summer B 2014 Upper Division

REL 3936

CRN: 51178
TR 1240-1610
Instructor: M. Treyz

   

 

Why does a good God allow bad things to happen?  Why do good people do bad things? How are evil and suffering related?  What role does free will play?  These are some of the questions we will be asking over the course of the semester.  We will examine the traditional answers to these problems, beginning with the biblical story of Job and moving to answers involving Satan, process theology, evil as a "soul-making" mechanism, and the standard eschatological solutions of heaven and hell.  We will look beyond theology to the work of social psychologist Philip Zimbardo in his book The Lucifer Effect.  Finally, we will turn to the fiction of holocaust survivor Eli Wiesel and Roman Catholic writer Flannery O'Connor in their works "The Night" and "A Good Man is Hard to Find." Those with practical experience in evil are encouraged to attend. This course can be used to fill university electives or requirements of the Religious Studies Major or Minor.

 

Fall 2014 Upper Division

REL 3102 CD-Religion As Culture

CRN: 81105
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. This course can be used to fill university electives or requirements of the Religious Studies Major or Minor.

 

 

REL 3148 Religion And Violence

CRN: 82963
MW 1200-1315 
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. This course can be used to fill university electives or requirements of the Religious Studies Major or Minor. 

 

 


REL 3300 Religions of India

CRN: 82954
TR 1050-1205 
Instructor: P. Carelli

  

 

 

This course will follow the development of Indian Philosophies from the early Vedic culture of the Indus Valley civilization through the Upanishadic and epic traditions, heterodox traditions of materialism, Jainism, and Buddhism, and orthodox responses of Mimamsa, Samkhya, Yoga, Vaishesika, and Nyaya. This historical survey will be followed by a careful reading of Nagarjuna’s Middle Way, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Yoga Sutra. Finally, we will look at modern developments in Indian philosophy, including the thought of Gandhi. Among the questions this course will consider are the following: What is the self? What is the relationship between the self, the personality, and the mind? What really exists and how can I know about it? What is the goal, purpose, meaning of human life? What is the role of philosophy in the Indian intellectual and religious tradition? How do the presuppositions, goals, methods, and values of the Indian philosophical tradition differ from other traditions?  This course can be used to fill university electives or requirements of the Religious Studies Major or Minor. 

 

 

 

 

REL 3930 Religion And Film

CRN: 82964
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.  This course can be used to fill university electives or requirements of the Religious Studies Major or Minor. 

 

 

 

REL 3936 Confucianism

CRN: 82959

T 1800-2045 
Instructor: S. Mattice

 

 

 

 

This course will explore the thought and influence of one of the most influential people of all time— 孔子 (Confucius). Much of what we see today as distinctive contributions of East Asia to world culture comes from a Confucian approach to the world. We will begin in ancient China with the great Confucian classics, and then proceed historically through movements and developments in Confucian thought, from the Analects and the Mengzi to Dong Zhongshu, Zhu Xi, and New-Confucianism as it exists today. We will examine questions of how to categorize Confucianism—philosophy, religion, both, neither? We will also explore the “Asian Values” controversy and discuss the rise of Confucianism in contemporary China, including various Confucian responses to problems such as human rights, environmental ethics, and bioethics. Students will benefit from having some background in non-western philosophy or religion. This course can be used to fill university electives or requirements of the Religious Studies Major or Minor.  

 

 


REL 4937 Judaism In America

CRN: 82967
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.  This course can be used to fill university electives or requirements of the Religious Studies Major or Minor.