Religion

  • SHERRY FOHR, religion program coordinator

The study of religion provides a means for understanding human history, experience, and society through the examination of religious traditions and other forms of meaning-making. Students are challenged to reflect upon broad questions of human society and culture, as well as personal questions of ethics and responsibility.

Thus, studying religion is by nature interdisciplinary and complements the study of other areas of the humanities, arts and sciences. Women’s issues and gender analysis are given particular attention and student research is emphasized.

The General Education Program is a requirement for all degrees. The requirements listed below are approved for the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Fine Arts.

ENG 101 3 hours
Language and Culture 9 hours
MTH 108 or higher 3 hours
One course designated as Quantitative reasoning 3–4 hours
Health and Well-being Wellness 2 hours
Activity course 1–2 hours
Humanities 6 hours
Literature 3 hours
Fine Arts 6 hours
Natural Science 7–8 hours
Social Science 6 hours
Total 49–52 hours

Graduation requirements but not a separate course:

  • First Year Seminar
  • Writing Intensive course
  • Non-European/non-Anglophone course Capstone experience.

Degrees and Certificates

Classes

REL 100 : INTRODUCTION TO RELIGION

This course is an introductory study of human religious beliefs and practices, including ritual, myth, symbol, and the sacred. The application of these concepts to the contemporary world is emphasized.

Credits

3

REL 104 : INTRODUCTION TO WORLD RELIGIONS

A study of the basic forms of religious belief, activity, and experience in the major world religions. Traditions to be discussed may include tribal religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Chinese religion, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Non-European/non-Anglophone. Interfaith Studies.

Credits

3

REL 125 : FIRST YEAR SEMINAR

The purpose of this course is to expose first-year students to a specific interdisciplinary theme or topic using the methods of philosophy, and within connection with related material in other fields. Specific emphasis is given to cultivating critical thinking, effective speaking and writing skills. Such a course is required for all first-year students, and may be taken with a corresponding Student Success Seminar.

Credits

3

REL 199H : FRESHMAN HONORS SEMINAR

A study of a selected subject within the disciplines which will vary from term to term. The course is designed to encourage student participation in the intellectual processes through class discussion, research and writing, special projects, problem solving, and evaluation and defense of positions. When the subject matter duplicates that of another course, credit toward graduation will be granted for only one of the courses. Offered periodically in rotation with seminars in other disciplines.

Credits

3

REL 200 : THE CHRISTIAN TRADITION

This course is an introduction to Christianity that focuses on examination of the major theological themes and problems that have commonly occupied Christians and how these issues have developed over time. We will use primary sources for the most part in our explorations. While this course focuses on Christian thought (theology), we will also make connections between theology and worship, ethics, and other aspects of Christianity.

Credits

3

REL 201 : SPECIAL TOPICS IN INTERFAITH STUDIES

Studies in selected topics concerning interfaith and diversity literacy, dialogue and/or cooperation. May be repeated for credit if subject matter is not duplicated. Interfaith Studies.

Credits

3 - 4

REL 250 : APOCALYPTIC LITERATURE AND MOVEMENTS

A study of the origins of apocalyptic thinking in Judaism and Christianity with a subsequent exploration of the influences of the apocalyptic worldview in contemporary contexts. Students will investigate ancient texts, modern movements, films and novels. Writing Intensive.

Credits

3

REL 263 : JAINISM

This course approaches the minority Indian religion of Jainism through textual, historical, and anthropological information concerning ethics, narratives, festivals, rituals, worldview, and the various roles and practices of men and women in different sects and subsects. Non-European/non-Anglophone/Women’s Studies. Cross-listed with ATH 263.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

Either REL 100, REL 104, or permission of the instructor.

REL 264 : HINDU RELIGION AND CULTURE

This course approaches Hinduism not merely as a religion within a culture, but as coextensive with a culture of great diversity. There will be examinations of textual, narrative, historical, sociopolitical and anthropological information concerning gods and goddesses, festivals, rituals, renunciation and various roles and practices of different Hindu men and women. Non-European/non-Anglophone. Cross- listed with ATH 264.

Credits

3

REL 265 : CHINESE PHILOSOPHY

This course explores the intellectual texts and traditions of China in the classical period, with an emphasis on Confucianism, Mohism, Daoism, and Legalism. Special attention may be devoted to comparing these Chinese traditions with dominant Western interpretations and alternative philosophies and religions. Supplemental material may explore artistic representations of classical Chinese thought, as well as the continuing relevance of such traditions in contemporary Chinese society. Non-European/non-Anglophone. Cross listed with PHI 265. Interfaith Studies.

Credits

3

REL 299H : INTERDISCIPLINARY HONORS COURSE

This course is team taught by members in two departments and is open to Nisbet Honors Program participants and to others who meet Honors Program guidelines. All students registering for these courses must register not only through the Honors Program but also with their adviser and the Registrar’s Office.

Credits

3

REL 303 : THEMES IN RELIGIOUS ETHICS

Studies in selected ethical problems and the process of making decisions in religious contexts. May be repeated for credit if subject matter is not duplicated.

Credits

3

REL 306 : FIELD STUDIES IN RELIGION

Field studies courses focus on significant investigation of religious phenomena outside as well as in the classroom. Travel may be involved in some field studies. May be repeated for credit if subject matter is not duplicated. Cross-listed with ATH 306.

Credits

3

REL 308 : RELIGION IN AMERICA

Historical survey of religious life and thought in America, with attention given to the diversity of religious experience in the United States. Emphasis is given to the role of religion in American life and the impact of the American experience on religious traditions. Writing Intensive.

Credits

3

REL 309 : STUDIES IN RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS

Studies in selected topics in religious thought, culture and history. Recent course topics have included the history of the Black Church, the history and literature of Englishwomen in the Reformation, and a critical comparison of Jesus, Martin Luther, and Karl Marx. May be repeated for credit if subject matter is not duplicated.

Credits

3

REL 310 : INTERFAITH COOPERATION

This course will explore the knowledge and skills needed to foster interfaith literacy and cooperation. Interfaith literacy is approached as an essential characteristic of leadership in a religiously diverse world. Interfaith cooperation is approached through service-learning beyond the classroom by planning an interfaith event for the Converse community. Interfaith Studies.

Credits

3

REL 311 : LOVE AND KINDNESS

This seminar is an interdisciplinary and interfaith examination of love and kindness. Non-European/non-Anglophone. Interfaith Studies.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

REL 100, REL 104, or permission of the instructor.

REL 312 : EVANGELICALS IN THE SOUTH

This course examines the role of evangelical Christians in Southern culture, past and present, including contemporary interfaith developments. Interfaith Studies.

Credits

3

REL 313 : STUDIES IN RELIGIOUS THOUGHT

Studies in selected issues, figures or movements in religious thought. May be repeated for credit if subject matter is not duplicated.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

Either REL 100, REL 104, or permission of the instructor.

REL 330 : STUDIES IN RELIGION AND CULTURES

Studies of significant humanistic issues in religion. May be repeated for credit if subject matter is not duplicated. Cross- listed with ATH 330.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

Either REL 100, REL 104, or permission of the instructor.

REL 331 : STUDIES IN RELIGION

Studies of significant humanistic issues in religion. May be repeated for credit if subject matter is not duplicated.

Credits

3

REL 340 : RELIGION AND LITERATURE

A study of religious thought and problems reflected in the writing of selected authors. May be repeated for credit if subject matter is not duplicated. Only the topic of Women in Asian Traditions through Fiction and Film meets the Non- European/non-Anglophone.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

Either REL 100, REL 104, or permission of the instructor.

REL 341 : AMERICAN FILM AND RELIGIOUS PLURALISM

This course explores how religion has appeared in a variety of American films with regard to questions of how various forms of religious identity interact with American culture and how various religions can coexist with one another. Interfaith Studies

Credits

3

REL 342 : PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION

A study of philosophical problems relevant to religious belief. Topics to be considered may include proofs for the existence of God, the problem of evil, miracles, the nature of religious belief, the relation of religion and morality, and the nature of God. Cross listed with PHI 342.

Credits

3

REL 346 : JESUS IN ANCIENT AND MODERN MEDIA

An investigation of the historical Jesus and of the interpretation of Jesus in a variety of cultural contexts. Christian scriptures will be central, but the course will also explore Jesus as he is portrayed in fiction, film and popular religion.

Credits

3

REL 354 : INTERFAITH INTERNSHIP

Students enrolled in this internship will work with either a local, national, or international organization and/or through the Converse Chaplain’s office. Interfaith Studies

Credits

3 - 6

Prerequisites

permission from a co-director of interfaith studies.

REL 355 : THE BIBLE, GENDER, AND SEXUAL LITERACY

An exploration of the influence of the Bible upon the construction and understanding of gender roles, identities, and sexual mores. The dual emphasis will be both the text itself and the history of its interpretations. GEP Humanities/Women’s Studies.

Credits

3

REL 356 : WOMEN IN CHRISTIAN REFORMATIONS

This course explores changing interpretations of English Women’s lives during the tumultuous years of the European Reformations. May be taught as an honors course. Cross-listed with ENG356 when taught as “Women in Protestant Reformations.” Interfaith Studies. Women’s Studies.

Credits

3

REL 380 : RESEARCHING ASIAN TRADITIONS

In this course students will conduct independent research on topics of their choice concerning Asian traditions. Non-European/non- Anglophone. Writing Intensive.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

REL 104, 260, 261, 263 or 264 or permission of the instructor.

REL 406 : INTERFAITH FIELD STUDIES

Students will conduct field research with an area religious community and explore issues concerning interfaith dialogue. Cross listed with ATH 406, Interfaith Studies. Writing Intensive.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

REL 100 or REL 104, or permission from the instructor.

REL 470 : ISLAMIC AND MIDDLE EAST POLITICS

An introduction to Islamic politics and to the comparative and developmental issues of the Arab world and the larger Middle East. The approach will be historical as well as contemporary. Cross-listed with HST 470 and POL 470. Non-European/non-Anglophone. Interfaith Studies. Writing Intensive.

Credits

3

REL 491 : SENIOR PROJECT IN RELIGION

In consultation with religion faculty, the senior student will choose a topic on which to conduct a major research project. While all capstone projects will ultimately culminate in written form, the form might vary: classic senior research thesis, sophisticated analytical article, written research talk or position paper are some possibilities. Whatever the format, the project should reflect the student’s development in coursework and independent research. Each senior will present the project in some form in the spring of the student's senior year. Capstone.

Credits

3