RELS 6030 Introduction to Human Rights
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Introduces students to historical and contemporary debates around human rights. Drawing on scholarship from disciplines such as history, anthropology, sociology, political philosophy, religious studies, and literature, students will review case studies in order to bring different scholarly perspectives to bear on human rights claims in a globalized world.

RELS 6040 Augustine and Aquinas
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

(Same as PHIL 6040.) Selected works of the major religious philosophers of the Middle Ages with emphasis on their views on topics such as God, sin, human nature, free will, faith, and politics.

RELS 6060 Evil and God
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

What is evil. Does the existence of evil in the world challenge belief in God. When we encounter famine, disease, hurricanes, torture, war, or poverty, who (or what) do we hold responsible. How can bad things happen to good people. The course will examine how these questions are approached in religious thought, and also in philosophy, literature, and film.

RELS 6080 Religious Dimensions in Human Experience
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Examines religions as integral aspects of human cultures. Integrates theoretical and methodological approaches to religious studies that center on human experiences, expressions, practices and beliefs with examples from particular historical and geographical locations. Topics and source materials may include material culture, archaeology, visual culture, literature, aesthetics, film and ethnography.

RELS 6100 Religious Studies Study Abroad
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

No prerequisite. Provides students with opportunities to study religious life and practice outside of the United States. Includes travel to selected sites for visitation and study led by faculty familiar with the site’s history and religious significance. Also includes direct supervision of students’ on-the-ground experience of religious life around the globe. Open to majors and non-majors. No foreign language necessary; instruction will be in English. Enrollment must be approved by program director.

RELS 6140 Religion and American Law
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Explores the intersection of religion and American law, focusing on First Amendment jurisprudence. Topics include religion and public schools, government funding for religious institutions, public religious monuments, and the free exercise of religion. Also may consider the historical origins of religious freedom, the role of law in religion, religion’s position in American public life, and alternative legal frameworks.

RELS 6200 Religion in America
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Introduction to the religious experiences of Americans from colonial times to the present. Topics may include Native American religion, Puritanism, Mormonism, spiritualism, Reform Judaism, Catholic modernism, Islam, fundamentalism, and African-American religion.

RELS 6225 Psychology and Religion
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

This course will survey the fields of psychology and religious studies. Addressing this tension, our course is designed to create a constructive, respectful dialogue between both perspective. Can we conceive ways in which religious behavior and the study of religion may inform, or even construct, psychological theory. Conversely, how do psychological perspectives and cognitive science tell a richer, deeper story of what is happening in religious experiences. We will consider postmodern and qualitative critiques to such investigations, as well as the emerging field in “explaining” religion through cognitive science and evolutionary theory. This course will also consider Eastern forms of religious expression and spirituality.

RELS 6240 Death and the Afterlife
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Introduction to the general beliefs and practices associated with death and the afterlife in several world religious traditions. Topics may include religious perspectives on the process of dying, treatment of the body, methods of grieving, views of suicide and martyrdom, and contemporary issues surrounding death and the afterlife.

RELS 6245 Cognitive Foundations of Religion
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

This course will explore the neural foundations and cognitive mechanisms of religious behavior and experiences. This course will also look at the evolutionary development of religion, the more recent findings in cognitive processing of particular religious beliefs, and the neural imaging of religious experiences.

RELS 6250 African-American Religion
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

(Same as AAS 6090.) Survey of the development of African-American religion from colonial times to the present, including an examination of both theological arguments and spiritual experiences.

RELS 6255 Religion, Race, Nation
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

From colonialism to black nationalism to globalization, how do the three issues of religion, race, and nation affect each other. How has religious thought dealt with issues of race, and how has the concept of race been shaped by religious thought. How do racial and religious communities differ. We will approach these questions using theory, world literature, and film.

RELS 6260 Religion and Literature
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

(Same as ENGL 6260.) Examines how religious institutions, beliefs, and values have been presented in and challenged within novels. Readings include works by authors from various religious communities as well as theoretical work done by scholars working in the field of religion and literature.

RELS 6270 Women and Religion
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

(Same as WGSS 6370.)
Multicultural exploration of the role of women and female divinities in diverse religious traditions; readings from ancient myths to contemporary feminist theology.

RELS 6290 Pilgrimage
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Exploration of the central role played by pilgrimage in world religious traditions, including study of its vital social and religious functions. Examples from Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, as well as theoretical readings on the phenomenon of pilgrimage.

RELS 6295 Religion, Sport and Spirituality
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

A comparative study of the ancient and modern Olympics with an emphasis on the religious character of these games. Questions explored may include: why were the games shut down by the newly Christianized Roman Empire for religious reasons, and why were they revived in the nineteenth century?.

RELS 6300 Metaphysics
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

(Same as PHIL 6300.) Topics may include personal identity and human nature; space, time, matter, and causality; freedom and determinism; teleology; conceptions of divinity; and world views and paradigm shifts.

RELS 6400 Internship in Relgious Studies
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Supervised worked coupled with academic instruction. Students may propose internships they have been able to arrange (although these must be approved by the department faculty member supervising the internship and the undergraduate or graduate director, as appropriate). Students may also choose from several internship opportunities established by the department, including internships in the media, non-profit administration, business, and government.

RELS 6430 American Jewish History
Credit Hours 4.0
Description

This course surveys the Jewish experience in the United States, examining the religious, cultural, political, and economic activities of American Jews from the colonial period to the present. Students will explore the ways Jewish tradition has been adapted in America, what the relationship of American Jews has been to other Americans, and how American Jewish identities have been created from modern Jews’ dual impulses for integration and distinctiveness. The course will include a significant examination of issues with regional identity, with particular focus on Southern Jewish experience. We will explore Jewish relationships with black and white gentile southerners, as well as southern Jews’ embrace of southern culture and southern identity. This course will also familiarize students with the excellent resources on Atlanta Jewish history available at local archives.

RELS 6450 Modern Judaism
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Key issues and historical events shaping Judaism in the modern world, including Zionism, the development of Jewish denominations, the Holocaust, Middle East conflict, women’s roles in Jewish life, and the development of Judaism in the United States. No previous knowledge of Judaism is required; all readings are in English.

RELS 6460 Judaism in the South
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Examination of the historical and cultural development of Judaism in the American south. Topics may include Jewish immigrants, issues of assimilation, Jews and the Civil War, Jewish involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, the Leo Frank case, the Temple bombing in Atlanta, and contemporary issues in Southern Jewish life.

RELS 6465 Religion in the American South
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Examines the historical and cultural development of Religion in the American South. Students will explore the increasing religious diversity in the “New South” and discuss the ways in which southern religious values have shaped conversations on race, sex, gender, politics, nationalism, science, and social reform.

RELS 6470 Martin Buber: His Thought and Influence
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

An exploration of Buber’s writings on subjects such as Hasidic folklore, Asian thought, dialogical philosophy, and Middle Eastern politics, with consideration of how his work has been received both inside and outside of Jewish circles.

RELS 6480 Modern Islam: Tradition & Transformation
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

The purpose of this course is to understand the Islamic tradition in the contemporary world through a study of its history, society, institutions, as well as its various relationships to non-Muslim societies and cultures. The task is to try to gain familiarity with the multiple manifestations and transformations of Islam from the pre-modern to the modern periods, with an emphasis on the changes brought about by the rise of European hegemony and colonial modernity. As a survey, the course will review broad socio-historical patterns in order to give students the ability to better assess a range of contemporary issues related to Islam as well as provide a basis through which further investigations can be made.

RELS 6483 Contemporary Issues in Islamic Faith and Practice
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

What challenges has the modern period posed to Islamic faith and practice. This course treats a number of issues–such as gender and family, the formation of the modern nation state, and minority Muslim populations–as a way to explore changing constructions of authority and evolving beliefs and practices within contemporary Muslim populations.

RELS 6485 Ethics and Morality in the Islamic Tradition
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

How have morality and ethics been articulated in the Islamic tradition. What determines moral weight of any given action, whether something is “right” or “wrong” for Muslims. Many have argued that Islamic Law (Shariah) is the locus where ethics and morality are discussed in the Islamic tradition, but are there other modes of discourse that deal with these subjects (such as hadith studies and Sufism). This course will explore the above questions as an introduction to the study of ethics and morality in Islam.

RELS 6490 Topics in Judaism
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Examination of selected topics in Judaism. May be repeated if topic varies.

RELS 6500 Ethics of Violence
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

In this course we will work our way through theoretical, ethnographic and fictional texts in order to explore the different ways in which violence has been examined as a dimension of human experience.

RELS 6570 Special Topics in Islam
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Investigation of a specific theme, figure(s), or text(s) within Islam, such as Islamic ethics, historical portrayals of Muhammad, or the Nation of Islam. May be repeated if topic varies.

RELS 6580 Life of Muhammad
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Study and contrast of various perspectives of the life of the Prophet Muhammad, including medieval Muslim hagiographies, medieval European polemics, and modern reinterpretations by both Muslims and non-Muslims.

RELS 6610 Hinduism
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

(Same as PHIL 6610.) Introduction to the Hindu gods and goddesses, Hindu temple and domestic worship, and key themes in modern Hinduism. Will include an overview of the development of Hindu thought and practice from ancient times to the present.

RELS 6612 Hindu Sacred Myths and Epics
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Introduction to the classic religious text in the Hindu tradition. Readings include selections from the Rig Veda, the Upanishads, the Satapatha Brahmana, the Yogasutras, the Mahabharata (including the Bhagavad Gita), devotional poetry, and writings from several modern Hindu religious leaders. All reading in English translation; no prior knowledge of Hinduism necessary.

RELS 6615 Buddhism
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

(Same as PHIL 6615.) Historical introduction to the Buddhist tradition, tracing its developments in India, Southeast Asia, Tibet, China, Japan, and the West.

RELS 6620 Confucianism and Taoism
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

(Same as PHIL 6620.) Historical introduction to Chinese religion and philosophy, tracing their developments in Confucianism and Taoism. Some consideration is given to Chinese Buddhism and popular religion.

RELS 6622 Classical Chinese Philosophy
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Focused exploration of the surviving works from the ‘Hundred Schools Period’ of ancient China, (roughly 550 – 200 BCE). Readings include the Analects of Confucius, Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, and several works by lesser known thinkers from various philosophical schools.

RELS 6625 Zen and Shinto
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

(Same as PHIL 6625.) Historical introduction to Japanese religion and philosophy, tracing their developments in Shinto, folk religion, and various Buddhist schools. Special consideration is given to Zen Buddhism.

RELS 6628 Topics in Asian Religion
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Investigation of a selected topic within Hindu, Buddhist, Chinese, and/or Japanese religion. Possible topics include classical Taoist philosophy, new religions in Japan, Tibetan Buddhist texts, and human rights in Asian religion. May be repeated if topic varies.

RELS 6630 Comparative Study of Mysticism
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

In-depth study of mystical texts and traditions, with special attention given to theoretical and methodological inquiry. Readings drawn from a range of traditions and historical periods, as well as from works in contemporary critical theory in the study of religion.

RELS 6640 Religion and Sexuality: The Problem of the Erotic
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Beginning with a reconstruction of ancient Greek and Roman sexual attitudes, the course examines how these attitudes and practices were inherited by, changed by, later Jewish and Christian communities. After a study of the new medieval language of heresy and expulsion in Europe, the course turns to modern rehabilitations of Classical ideas in thinkers such as Freud and Foucault.

RELS 6645 Religion & Sex in Pop Culture
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Explores religion and sexuality in forms of American popular culture such as music, television, motion pictures, fashion, print/nonprint media, and the internet. Students will also examine how popular culture has shaped religious debates about sexuality and been shaped by religious values.

RELS 6650 Religion and Ethics
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

(Same as PHIL 6650.) Study of the relation between religion and morality, including both Eastern and Western religious perspectives. Topics may include such issues as warfare, social justice, sexual ethics, and issues in modern medicine.

RELS 6670 Church and State
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

(Same as PHIL 6670.) Philosophical and theological perspectives on the relationship between church and state. Issues such as conscientious objection, school prayer, the “free exercise” of religion, and Islamic attitudes toward the state.

RELS 6675 Christianity and Democracy
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

No prerequisites. Examination of the complex relationship between Christianity and democracy in theory and in practice. Exploration of such questions as: Is there a necessary link between Christianity and democracy. Do democratic values conflict with Christian commitments. Must religious commitments be set aside when citizens participate in democratic deliberation?.

RELS 6680 War, Peace, and Religion
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

(Same as PHIL 6680.) Comparative study of attitudes towards war and peace in major religious traditions. Topics may include the Christian just-war tradition; Islamic notions of jihad; Buddhist renunciation and pacificism; the writings of Gandhi; nuclear arms and the status of noncombatants; civil disobedience and conscientious objection; and religiously-motivated terrorism.

RELS 6690 Secularism, Liberalism and Religion
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Exploration of the role of religion and religious values in the modern, secular state with an emphasis on the past thirty years. Topics may include the defense of the principles of modern Liberalism from within religious traditions and critiques made by communitarians, Marxists, and Neo-Traditionalists.

RELS 6700 Issues in Religious Studies
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Examination of a selected topic in religion. May be repeated if topic varies, but only six credit hours may be applied toward the major.

RELS 6890 Religion On-site in Atlanta
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Introduces students to various local sites that express religious communities’ traditions and practices in Atlanta. Provides instruction to students at local sites integrated with lectures and readings that explore the history and diversity of Atlanta’s religious communities. Students will learn from on-site lectures presented by lead and guest instructors; from relevant historical documents; and from contemporary literature (secondary scholarship, relevant websites and blogs, community-published material). Students will be trained to integrate information from these sources and analyze them from an academic, critical perspective.

RELS 8200 Pro-seminar in Advanced Theory and Method
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Intensive seminar on theoretical and methodological issues in the academic study of religion. Specific attention to questions of what “religion” is, how it can be most appropriately conceptualized and studied, and how various research and interpretive methods can be applied.

RELS 8210 Seminar in Religious Studies
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Religious thinker or topic, such as Matthew Fox, Sri Aurobindo, gnosticism, or religious pluralism. May be repeated once if topic varies.

RELS 8950 Directed Readings
Credit Hours 1.0 TO 3.0
Prerequisites consent of instructor
Description

Designed to provide students with the opportunity to do more advanced work in an area of their choice. Not to be used as a substitute for topics normally covered in other graduate courses. May be repeated once for credit.

RELS 8960 Research in Religious Studies
Credit Hours 3.0 TO 12.0
Description

Does not count toward degree requirements. Authorization required. May be repeated for credit.

RELS 8970 Teaching Religious Studies
Credit Hours 6.0
Description

Does not count toward degree requirements. Preparation course for teaching, covering syllabus design, making up tests, grading papers, and other classroom techniques. Prerequisite for being a graduate teaching assistant. May be repeated with approval of graduate director.

RELS 8980 Teaching Practicum
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Does not count toward degree requirements. Apprenticeship in teaching for graduate teaching assistants under faculty supervision. Required for all graduate teaching assistants in their first semester of teaching. May be repeated for credit with approval of graduate director.

RELS 8985 Advanced Teaching Practicum in Religious Studies
Credit Hours 3.0 TO 12.0
Description

Does not count toward degree requirements. Apprenticeship in teaching for advanced graduate teaching assistants under faculty supervision. Required for all graduate teaching assistant in their seond and subsequent semesters of teaching. GTAs learn how to document and collect materials for Teaching Portfolio. May be repeated for credit.

RELS 8998 Prospectus Research & Writing
Credit Hours 3.0
Description

Students enrolled in this course will complete the research required to writing a Masters thesis prospectus that conforms to the guidelines established by the Department. Students who successfully complete this course and whose prospectuses are approved by the faculty may continue in the thesis research and writing process. Permission from the instructor.

RELS 8999 Thesis Research
Credit Hours 1.0 TO 6.0
Description