Religion
Contact
Department Chair:
Cynthia Chapman

Administrative Assistant:
Brenda Hall

Department Email:


Phone: (440) 775-8866
Fax: (440) 775-6910

Location:
Rice Hall 316
10 N. Professor St.
Oberlin, OH, 44074

Course Supplement

Course Supplement

2014-15
RELIGION DEPARTMENT
COURSE SUPPLEMENT


FALL 2014                                                                 


FYSP 046 - Japanese Religion and Pop Culture
Full Course
Credits: 4 Credits
Attribute: 4HU, WINT
TR 1:30-2:45
This course examines the representation of religion in manga and anime and explores the role these new media have played in re-creating the religious and cultural landscape of modern Japan. In addition to analyzing the form and content of these new media, we will be looking at the production of manga and anime by religious organizations and analyzing the reception of these popular media by devout fans and religious practitioners.
Enrollment Limit: 14
Instructor: C. Callahan
Consent of the Instructor Required: Yes

FYSP 050 - Conceptions of the Self East and West
Full Course
Credits: 4 Credits
Attribute: 4HU, WINT
TR 11-12:15
This course examines important, indeed classic, statements on the nature of human existence from the ancient and modern West, and from East Asia, and endeavors to sensitively compare these diverse visions of human life without capitulating to nihilism, relativism, or self-satisfied cultural chauvinism. We examine influential representatives of several traditions, including Confucianism, Daoism, Christianity, and contemporary democratic political theory.
Enrollment Limit: 14
Instructor: C. Cottine
Consent of the Instructor Required: Yes

RELG 205 - Hebrew Bible in its Ancient Near Eastern Context
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU, CD
MWF 10-10:50
An introduction to the literature, religion, and history of ancient Israel as contained within the Hebrew Bible and to the methods of interpretation used by modern scholars to understand this ancient text. Biblical writings will be studied within the context of other ancient Near Eastern texts. Thematic emphases include the emergence of monotheism, the conceptualization of the divine/human relationship, the mediation of priest, prophet and king, and issues of canon.
Enrollment Limit: 35
Instructor: C. Chapman
Prerequisites & Notes
No previous knowledge of the Hebrew Bible is assumed.
Cross List Information This course is cross-listed with JWST 205.

RELG 225 - Modern Religious Thought in the West: Late 17th to Mid-19th Century
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU
MWF 11-11:50
This course analyzes the development of Western philosophy of religion and theology from the end of the Thirty Years War to the mid 19th century. Of special interest will be how the emerging scientific worldview affected traditional religious beliefs including views of God, human nature, the authority of scripture, the legitimacy of religious institutions, and the true ‘essence’ of religion. Some of the thinkers to be studied include Pascal, Locke, Hume, Voltaire, Rousseau, Kant, Mendelssohn, Schleiermacher, and Kierkegaard.
Enrollment Limit: 35
Instructor: D. Kamitsuka

RELG 228 - Recent Developments in Christian Thought
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU
TR 1:30-2:45
This course examines a range of religious and philosophical issues arrising from contemporary culture, including the natural sciences, environmentalism, atheism, postmodernism, feminism, heterosexism, religious pluralism and evil in a post-Holocaust and nuclear age. The primary focus will be on how and why religious thinkers from various perspectives are reinterpreting traditional Christian beliefs in light of these issues.
Enrollment Limit: 25
Instructor: D. Kamitsuka

RELG 231 - Rituals, Asceticism, and Devotion in Classical Hinduism
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU, CD
MWF 11-11:50
A study of the Hindu tradition in India, from its origins to the development of the later devotional movements. Textual study focuses on ritual hymns, renunciatory texts, devotional poems, and classical mythology. Attention is also paid to analysis of religious practices, especially as they vary according to social location and gender of adherents. Societal aspects of Hinduism to be explored include religious constructions of “caste,” notions of religious kingship, and gendered perceptions of the divine. The last section looks at the ways in which the early Buddhist movement developed out of Hindu roots.
Enrollment Limit: 35
Instructor: P. Richman

RELG 235 - Chinese Thought & Religion
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU, CD
MWF 9-9:50
A historical survey of the three major religious and philosophical traditions of China: Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism. Attention is given to how each comprehends the universe and translates its ideal into philosophical thought, religious practice, and social and moral imperative. Interaction and mutual borrowing among the three will be examined to show how each was changed or inspired by the others and evolved under their influence.
Enrollment Limit: 40
Instructor: C. Callahan
Cross List Information This course is cross-listed with EAST 151

RELG 245 - Religion and Ethics
This course may also count for the major in (consult the program or department major requirements):
Law and Society
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU
TR 3-4:20
This is an introductory course in religion and ethics, focusing on social responsibility and moral reasoning. We examine the basic methods and tools in ethics, after which we survey several topics including: medical ethics, environmental ethics, athletics and ethics, just war theory, and global justice. Our aim is to explore the complexity of these topics and to understand what intellectual resources various religious traditions bring to the moral discussion in American public life today.
Enrollment Limit: 35
Instructor: C. Cottine

RELG 251 - Modern Jewish Thought
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU, CD
MW 2:30-4:20
A historical and philosophical investigation of modern Jewish thought. This course will consider the approaches of major Jewish thinkers from a range of movements and ideological perspectives. We will explore perspectives on topics including the meaning of Judaism, the authority of rabbinic tradition, the role of ethics, the relationship between Jews and non-Jews, and the nature of God.
Enrollment Limit: 35
Instructor: A. Socher
Cross List Information This course is cross-listed with JWST 151

RELG 263 - Roots of Religious Feminism in North America
This course may also count for the major in (consult the program or department major requirements):
Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies.
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU, CD
MWF 10-10:50
This course analyzes the religious views underpinning women’s literature, political advocacy, public speaking, and social reform work from colonial days to the 1970s, with a focus on primary sources. Students will apply the knowledge and methods acquired during the course to pursue their own research interests in women’s religious history in North America. No previous study of religion, U.S. history, or gender theory is necessary.
Enrollment Limit: 35
Instructor: M. Kamitsuka

RELG 270 - Islam
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU, CD
MWF 1:30-2:20
This course provides surveys Islam in its religious, intellectual, historical, socio-political and institutional dimensions. It provides an overview of Muslim religious traditions for purposes of further historical study and for understanding contemporary Muslim societies. Topics covered include elements that constitute Muslim traditions, cultures and identities, such as: pre-Islamic Arab society and surrounding Persian and Roman civilizations, the Prophet and the Qur’an, Islamic theology, law, devotional rituals, arts and literatures, mysticism, mosque and madrasa.
Enrollment Limit: 35
Instructor: M. Mahallati

RELG 281 - Traditional African Cosmology and Religions: Shifting Contours and Contested Terrains
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU, CD
TR 3-4:15
This class will explore how African Cosmology (the conception of the origin and nature of the universe) helps to frame the understanding of Traditional African religions (TAR) and their practices as they have emerged in the history of the African continent. It examines the underlying nature of African Religious thought and the role and function of myth and ritual in these religions. The class will investigate indigenized Islam and Christianity as well as western modernity.
Enrollment Limit: 35
Instructor: A. Miller, D. Opoku
Cross List Information This course is cross-listed with AAST 131.

RELG 284 - The History of the African-American Religious Experience
This course may also count for the major in (consult the program or department major requirements):
African American Studies
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU, CD
TR 11-12:15
An introduction to the religious movements and institutions of African Americans from the period of slavery to the present. Various topics include African religions; slave religion; independent black Protestant churches; gender and race relations in American church life; politics in black churches; missionary efforts to Africa and the Caribbean; Islam, Judaism, Catholicism, Pentecostalism; the civil rights movement; modern role of religion in African-American life.
Enrollment Limit: 35
Instructor: A. Miller

RELG 325 - The Karma of Words
This course may also count for the major in (consult the program or department major requirements): East Asian Studies
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU, CD, WINT
T 6:30-8:30 pm
This course explores the relation between Buddhism and the Literary Arts of Japan. After introducing the ideas, motifs, paradigms and images of the Buddhist tradition and reading Buddhist scriptural texts from a literary perspective, we will then analyze how Buddhism was re-expressed and reshaped in Japanese literature through a close reading of court poetry, karma stores, tales of romance and war, literary essays, noh drama, haiku and a modern novel.
Enrollment Limit: 15
Instructor: C. Callahan
Consent of the Instructor Required: Yes

RELG 329 - Hindu Epic Narrative in Indian Theater
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU, CD, WINT
M 2:30-4:20
An overview of the Ramayana as recited, retold, mimed, danced, and acted in Indian classical theater and regional folk forms. Looks at puppet productions, ensemble dance-dramas such as Kathakali and Yakshagana, and open-air spectacles such as the Ramlila. Readings include Sanskrit dramas and ethonographic studies of folk theater, supplemented by electronic recordings of actual performances.
Enrollment Limit: 15
Instructor: P. Richman
Consent of the Instructor Required: Yes

RELG 336 - Christian Mysticism
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU, WINT
M 7-9pm
This seminar will examine the complex realities of medieval Christian mysticism and its goal of contemplative or ecstatic union. Particular attention will be given to the various methods of pursuing this goal, including contemplative prayer, ascetic practices, and eucharistic reception. The seminar will cover the difficulties of conceiving and expressing the inconceivable and inexpressible, the notion of bodily knowing, and suspicions regarding mystics and mystical visions.
Enrollment Limit: 15
Instructor: C. Barnes
Consent of the Instructor Required: Yes

RELG 373 - Islamic Mystic Traditions and Literature
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU, CD, WINT
W 6:30-8:30
This seminar examines Sufism as both an esoteric and a devotional tradition, along with its relevance to modern Muslim life. Topics covered include the theory and history of ascetic movements, Sufi schools and institutions from classical to the modern times. Emphasis will be on reading and discussing selective and representative prose and poetry produced by great Sufi masters such as Ibn Arabi, Attar and Rumi as well as literary figures like Sa’di and Hafez. The course will also explore experiential, artistic and musical dimensions of Sufi-oriented religiosity.
Enrollment Limit: 15
Instructor: M. Mahallati
Consent of the Instructor Required: Yes

RELG 401 - Capstone Research Methods
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU, WADV
W 2:30-4:20
This course focuses on the skills necessary for doing research in and using the methods of the academic study of religion. Students work one-on-one with a faculty advisor and in a group peer review process to develop a literature review and first draft of their capstone project, which is completed in RELG 402.
Instructor: C. Chapman, M. Kamitsuka
Consent of the Instructor Required: Yes
Prerequisites & Notes
Students must have completed at least one 200-level course in two of the three general approaches to the study of religion. Students are strongly encouraged to have completed an advanced 300-level seminar before taking RELG 401.


SPRING 2015                                                                    

RELG 102 - Introduction to Religion: Roots of Religion in the Mediterranean World
Full Course
Spring 2015
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU
MWF 1:30-2:20
This course introduces students to the academic study of religion and provides a historical framework for understanding the development and central ideas of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, beginning from their origins in the Mediterranean region. The foundation of the course will be close reading of primary texts, both the sacred texts of each tradition and reflections on these texts by classical interpreters from the second century to the medieval period.
Enrollment Limit: 35
Instructor: C. Barnes

RELG 104 - Intro. Relg: Religious “lives” in East Asia
This course may also count for the major in (consult the program or department major requirements): East Asian Studies
Spring 2015
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU
TR 1-2:15
This course is an introduction to East Asian Religion through an examination of the religious biographies of Buddhism, Confucianism and Daoism. After reading the traditional
accounts of the lives of the Confucius, Laozi and the Buddha, we will examine a variety of biographical genres and explore the continued life of these figures and their teachings in the “lives” Confucians, Daoists and Buddhists up to the present day.
Enrollment Limit: 35
Instructor: C. Callahan

RELG 108 - Introduction to Religion: Women and the Western Traditions
Spring 2015
This course may also count for the major in (consult the program or department major requirements):
Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU, CD
TR 11-12:15
An introduction to Judaism, Christianity and Islam that focuses on women’s experiences and gender roles. This course will examine representations of women in sacred texts; primary sources by and about women from various historical periods, and contemporary feminist voices within each religious tradition. Topics to be investigated include: rabbinic teachings on biblical women, the role of women in early Christian heretical movements, discourses of the veil in Islam. Enrollment Limit: 35
Instructor: M. Kamitsuka

RELG 208 - New Testament and Christian Origins
Spring 2015
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU, CD
MWF 9-9:50
An introduction to the diverse writings that make up the New Testament. We will examine these texts in the historical context of Judea in the first two centuries CE and also in relation to the earlier writings of the Hebrew Bible. Thematic emphases include the development of the biography of Jesus, the social structure of the Jesus movement, the writings of Paul, and the development of house churches.
Enrollment Limit: 35
Instructor: C. Chapman
Prerequisites & Notes
No previous knowledge of the New Testament is assumed.
Cross List Information This course is cross-listed with JWST 208.

RELG 218 - Christianity in the Late Medieval World: 1100-1600
Spring 2015
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU, WINT
MWF 10-10:50
An interpretive study of late-medieval Christianity through reform movements from the twelfth-century renaissance to the Protestant and Catholic reformations of the sixteenth century, all of which tried to retrieve an idealized past. Topics include clerical authority and abuse, the role of women, free will, grace, embodiment, asceticism, mysticism, and heresy. The background will be the changing landscape of medieval Europe through urbanization, crusades, plagues, and economic developments
Enrollment Limit: 25
Instructor: C. Barnes

RELG 226 - Modern Religious Thought in the West: Mid-19th Century to the Present
Spring 2015
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU
MWF 11-11:50
This course analyzes our assumptions and judgments about religion in light of the clash of religious and secular frameworks. Topics to be examined include religious responses to modern scientific and historical consciousness, secular critical analyses of religion, debates on the human condition, efforts to address cultural and religious issues arising from the devastation of the two world wars, and the challenge of religious pluralism. Thinkers and movements studied include: Schleiermacher, Hegel, Feuerbach, Nietzsche, Buber, Barth, Rahner, post-Holocaust theologies, feminist and liberation theologies.
Enrollment Limit: 35
Instructor: D. Kamitsuka

RELG 233 - Modern India: Colonialism, Critique, and Conversion
Spring 2015
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU, CD
TR 1:30-2:45
A study of the effect of colonial rule and social change on Indian religious traditions. We examine theological tracts and debates, mythological and ritual texts, oral traditions, and contemporary novels about religion. Topics include: social mobility and orthodoxy, religious roots of the Gandhian movement for independence, changing rituals within the joint family, religion in the present-day political sphere.
Enrollment Limit: 35
Instructor: P. Richman

RELG 236 - Japanese Thought and Religion
Spring 2015
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU, CD
MWF 9-9:50
A historical survey of the development of Shinto and Buddhism in Japan and the roles they have played in Japanese culture and society. Among the topics to be discussed are the ancient myths of Shinto, the transmission of Buddhism to Japan, the emergence of new forms of Buddhism (i.e., Zen, Pure Land, and Nichiren), and the use of Shinto as a nationalistic ideology.
Enrollment Limit: 40
Instructor: C. Callahan
Cross List Information This course is cross-listed with EAST 152

RELG 249 - Medical Ethics
Spring 2015
This course may also count for the major in (consult the program or department major requirements):
Law and Society
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU
TR 3-4:20
In this course we will consider major topics in medical practice and research. First we will discuss key terms in medical ethics and look at its history. Following this we will focus on specific contentious issues such as: children and medicine, physician assisted suicide, abortion, and genetic engineering. We will ask what different religious traditions have to say about advances in medical technology, and we will consider various articulations of what a just healthcare system entails.
Enrollment Limit: 35
Instructor: C. Cottine

RELG 258 - Introduction to the Talmud
Spring 2015
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU, CD
TR 3:00-4:20
The Talmud is a sprawling multi-volume compendium of rigorous legal argument, ingenious and fanciful biblical interpretations, rabbinic anecdotes, jokes and deep moral and theological investigations. Compiled between 200 and 600 CE, it has been the most important generative force in Jewish religion and culture for the following two millennia. Exemplary texts will be studied (in English translation) with an emphasis on developing students’ skills in close reading and critical discussion.
Enrollment Limit: 35
Instructor: Socher
Cross List Information This course is cross-listed with JWST 258.

RELG 272 - Introduction to the Qur’an
Spring 2015
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU, CD
TR 9:30-10:50
Introduction to the Qur’an, the sacred scripture of the Islamic religious tradition. Topics include: approaches to the idea of revelation and the history of the written text, its overall content and themes, the style of the Qur’an, the Life of Muhammad as a source for interpreting the Qur’an, and Muhammad and the Qur’an as the foundation of law, theology, aesthetics, politics, and practices of piety such as recitation. Emphasis on reading the Qur’an in English-language interpretation.
Enrollment Limit: 35
Instructor: M. Mahallati

RELG 276 - The Ethics of Conflict Resolution and Peace-Making in Christianity and Islam
Spring 2015
This course may also count for the major in (consult the program or department major requirements):
Peace and Conflict Studies Concentration
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU, CD
TR 1:30-2:45
The course offers a comparative introduction to the ethics of conflict resolution, peace-making and friendship in the Christian and Islamic traditions. By examining normative and philosophical analysis and theological conceptions of conflict, reconciliation, civic forgiveness and friendship, this course examines the place of religious practice and belief amidst unprecedentedinternational efforts to end violence, political oppression and economic injustice. This course provides a new appraoch to conflict resolution beyond cold-peace.
Enrollment Limit: 35
Instructor: M. Mahallati
Prerequisites & Notes
At least one course on Islam and one on Christianity or alternatively one course in Conflict Resolution.

RELG 285 - Evangelicalism in the United States
Spring 2015
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU
TR 9:30-10:50
This course will explore Evangelicalism from its 19th century beginnings to the present, including: its relationship to 19th century moral controversies such as slavery, abolition, women’s rights and temperance movements; the social gospel movement; fundamentalism versus modernism; diversification as a post-WWII movement; evangelism versus social action; and the continuing issues of race, class, and gender. Reformed, Arminian, Anabaptist, Pentecostal, and Holiness traditions will also be explored. Evangelicalism will also be informed by studies from sociology of religion, psychology, and anthropology.
Enrollment Limit: 35
Instructor: A. Miller

RELG 343 - Selected Topics in Modern and Contemporary Religious Thought: Realism and Liberation
Spring 2015
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU, WINT
T 1-2:50
A critical analysis of a significant problem in modern and contemporary religious thought, examined through the writings of selected philosophers of religion and theologians. Topic for 14-15: Religious Realism and Liberation. This seminar focuses on modern and contemporary political theologies.
Enrollment Limit: 15
Instructor: D. Kamitsuka
Consent of the Instructor Required: Yes

RELG 347 - Seminar: Virtue, Religion, and the Good Life
Spring 2015
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU, CD, WINT
W 7-9
What does it mean to live the virtuous or good life? Are there advantages to focusing on character and virtue rather than on rights, duties, or consequences? What is the relevance of virtue language for contemporary moral and political philosophy? We explore these and other questions as we compare classical and contemporary statements from ancient China, Christianity, and the Greeks, among others, that address issues of human nature, ethics, and tradition.
Enrollment Limit: 15
Instructor: C. Cottine
Consent of the Instructor Required: Yes

RELG 356 - Buber, Rosenzweig and Heschel
Spring 2015
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU, WINT
R 7-9pm
Martin Buber’s I and Thou and Franz Rosenzweig’s Star of Redemption are classics of 20th Century religious thought. Both posit the necessity of a real encounter with the divine. We will study these two thinkers’ texts (and to some extent their lives), and then bring them into conversation with Abraham J. Heschel, whose approach to some of the same questions of God, Jewish tradition and the possibility of a religious life provides an interesting counterpoint.
Enrollment Limit: 12
Instructor: A. Socher
Consent of the Instructor Required: Yes
Prerequisites: One course in Jewish Studies or religious thought or modern philosophy
Cross List Info. This course is cross-listed with JWST 356.

RELG 365 - Seminar: Religion and the Body
Spring 2015
This course may also count for the major in (consult the program or department major requirements) :
Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU, CD, WINT
M 2:30-420
This seminar uses current theories about gender, sexuality, and religious experience as lenses for investigating how religion represents and regulates women’s and men’s bodies. Issues to be addressed include: suffering and medieval Christian asceticism, religious perspectives on women’s bleeding and birthing, gender and sexuality in Buddhism.
Enrollment Limit: 15
Instructor: M. Kamitsuka
Consent of the Instructor Required: Yes

RELG 387 - Seminar: Religion and U.S. Social Welfare Policy and Social Work Practice: A Historical Perspective
Spring 2015
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU, WINT
T 6:30-8:30
This course will focus on the religious origin of social welfare institutions within the USA, including Protestant, Catholic and Jewish traditions (Jewish sects, African American congregations, and conservative Protestant movements, to name a few), which provided material, financial, and spiritual supports. Given the constitutional clause of the separation between church and state, religious institutions established voluntary institutions that provided social supports. This course will also have a service-learning component.
Enrollment Limit: 15
Instructor: A.G. Miller
Consent of the Instructor Required: Yes

RELG 402 - Capstone Colloquium
Spring 2015
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU, COLQ, WADV
W 2:30-4:20
In this team-taught advanced course, students work in a colloquium setting to discuss the research process and produce an independent capstone project. Only students who have completed the RELG 401/ RELG 402 sequence may be considered for Honors.
Enrollment Limit: 999
Instructor: C. Barnes, C. Chapman, C. Cottine, D. Kamitsuka, M. Kamitsuka, M. Mahallati, A. Miller, A. Socher
Consent of the Instructor Required: Yes
Prerequisites & Notes
Prerequisite & Notes: RELG 401

RELG 405 - Capstone Seminar in Religious Studies
Spring 2015
Full Course
Credits: 4 credits
Attribute: 4HU, WADV
W 2:30-4:20
As an alterative to RELG 401/402, this capstone-experience course enables seniors to reflect upon, and apply in a wide variety of settings, what they have learned about the academic study of religion in light of their own coursework in the major. The seminar includes short papers, workshops and oral presentations, but students do not write a capstone thesis.
Instructor: P. Richman
Consent of the Instructor Required: Yes

RELIGION

Cynthia R. Chapman, Associate Professor, Department Chair
Joyce K. Babyak, Associate Professor
Corey Barnes, Associate Professor
Christopher Callahan, Visiting Assistant Professor
Cheryl Cottine, Assistant Professor
James C. Dobbins, Fairchild Professor
David G. Kamitsuka, Associate Professor
Margaret D. Kamitsuka, Associate Professor
Mohammad Mahallati, Presidential Scholar in Islamic Studies
Albert G. Miller, Associate Professor
Paula S. Richman, Danforth Professor
Abraham P. Socher, Associate Professor


The Religion major is designed to serve as a focus of a liberal arts education for the general student and as a pre-professional foundation for those pursuing the study of religion beyond the baccalaureate degree. While offering a broad curriculum in the study of religion, the major also affords an opportunity for concentrated study in particular religious traditions and specific areas of religious thought and practice. Students who contemplate graduate study in religion or professional study in seminary or rabbinical school after graduation are advised to consult with the chair or other members of the department as early in their undergraduate careers as possible.
Approaches to the academic study of religion have developed in engagement with a host of historical factors. Understanding religious studies as an academic discipline requires an appreciation of the intersections and divergences among a variety of approaches. In our major, we focus on the following three influential general approaches:

• The tradition-based approach to the study of religion predates the “invention” of the Western academic study of religion in the 19th century, but continues to be vitally important for the academic study of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism in our curriculum. Religious tradition-based approaches provide the means for in-depth study of the synchronic and diachronic aspects of religions in global contexts. This approach includes historical, textual, and ethnographic methods of investigation.
• The modern-culture-based approach to the study of religion emerged with the development of modern religious thought in the West and modern religious social ethics. This approach initially focused on modern Western philosophical questions of metaphysical and moral truth and meaning but has expanded to include issues arising from other forms of critical theory such as gender theory and postcolonial theory.
• The geographical religion-based approach analyzes religious forms of life in terms of the history and cultures of a region. Oftentimes historical, anthropological, and archeological frameworks and methods are employed by this approach. This approach has been influential in the modern academic study of ancient Near Eastern religions (including biblical studies) and in the study of East Asian, South Asian, and African religions, and religions of the Americas—previously underrepresented in religious studies.
Some courses in the Religion Department are cross-referenced or cross-listed with, or generally fulfill requirements of, other programs of study in the College—e.g., African American Studies; Comparative American Studies; East Asian Studies; Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies; Jewish Studies; and Law and Society. Courses offered in the department are grouped in the following categories:

First-Year Seminars and 100-level Courses.
First-year seminars and lecture courses at the 100 level are intended primarily for non-majors. First-year seminars are writing intensive and focus on the essential skills of reading, analysis, writing, and discussion. The 100-level Introduction to Religion courses are intended to introduce students to at least three religious traditions. In addition a few colloquia for first- and second-year students are offered in varying years.

200-Level Courses.
Most 200-level courses serve as “gateways” to our major in that they are designed to introduce students to at least one general approach (described above) and disciplinary subfield in the academic study of religion. In addition, 200-level courses are where the breadth and concentration for the major are acquired. The particular focus of each 200-level course is indicated more fully in the course descriptions below.
300-Level Seminars.
Advanced 300-level seminars are primarily intended for Religion majors and minors who have completed at least one 200-level course in the applicable subfield.

RELG 400 – Senior Capstone Seminars
The senior capstone courses are designed to provide a culminating experience to the Religion major. Each major must complete a senior capstone seminar through one of two pathways.

Path One: The RELG 401 (Capstone Research Methods) & RELG 402 (Capstone Colloquium) sequence. See below in Major description.

Path Two: RELG 405 (Capstone Seminar in Religious Studies). See below in Major description.

Major
Before declaring the major in Religion, students must complete the following forms, in consultation with an advisor (a continuing faculty member in the department): (1) a Plan for the Major, (2) a Majors Checklist (available on Blackboard), and (3) the Declaration of Major form (available from the Office of the Registrar). The Plan for the Major should describe the student’s intentions and goals for the major as well as a strategy for achieving those goals. The student and advisor should re-visit the Plan for the Major several times during the student’s work in the department and revise it as appropriate.
The Religion major consists of a minimum of 9 courses in the department. Under ordinary circumstances, no more than one first-year seminar (FYSP 050, 058, 085, 091, 101, 118, 124, 131, 144, 147, 156, 158, 164, 172, 186, 194) or colloquium for first- and second-year students (RELG 118) or one of the eight “Introduction to Religion” (RELG 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 107, 108 and 109) courses may be counted in the 9 courses required for the major.
Students majoring in Religion must do the following:

1. Complete at least one course in each of the three general approaches to the academic study of religion.
The tradition-based approach:
• Judaism (250, 251, 253, 254, 258)
• Islam (270, 272, 273)
• Christianity (217, 218, 228)
• Hinduism (231, 238)
The modern-culture-based approach:
• Modern Religious Thought in the West (225, 226, 227, 229)
• Religious Social Ethics (241, 242, 245)
• Gender & Religion (247, 261, 262)
The geographical region-based approach:
• Ancient Near East (202, 203, 205, 208, 210)
• East Asia (235, 236, 239)
• South Asia (233)
• Modern North America (263, 282, 284)

2. Complete one 200-level course in at least four of the subfields represented in our major. (Courses identified under the general approaches requirement may also count toward this subfield requirement.)
• American Religious History (282, 284, 285)
• East Asian Religions (235, 236, 239)
• Religious Social Ethics (241, 242, 243, 245, 249)
• Gender and Religion (247, 261, 262, 263)
• History of Christianity (217, 218)
• Islam (270, 272, 273)
• Jewish and Christian Scriptures (202, 205, 208)
• Judaism (250, 251,253, 254, 258)
• Modern Religious Thought in the West (225, 226, 227)
• South Asian Religions (231, 233, 234, 238)

3. Complete at least one additional 200-level course in one of the four subfields (along with a 300-level seminar), thus forming a subfield concentration.

4. Complete at least one 300-level seminar. Majors will normally take the seminar within their subfield concentration.

5. Take one of two paths for completion of the 400-level Capstone experience: either the RELG 401/RELG 402 sequence, or RELG 405:

RELG 401/RELG 402 sequence:
• Complete Capstone Research Methods (RELG 401) in the first semester of the senior year. Students must have completed at least one 200-level course in two of the three general approaches to the study of religion as a prerequisite for RELG 401. Students are strongly encouraged to have completed an advanced 300-level seminar before taking RELG 401. In this course, students learn productive strategies for research and work toward a first draft of their capstone project.

• Complete Capstone Colloquium (RELG 402) in the second semester of the senior year. RELG 401 is a prerequisite for RELG 402. In this team-taught advanced course, students work in a colloquium setting to discuss the research process and produce an independent capstone project. Only students who have completed the RELG 401/ RELG 402 sequence may be considered for Honors.

RELG 405
• As an alternative to RELG 401/402, complete Capstone Seminar in Religious Studies (RELG 405) in the second semester. This alternative capstone-experience course enables seniors to reflect upon, and apply in a wide variety of settings, what they have learned about the academic study of religion in light of their own coursework in the major. The seminar includes short papers, workshops and oral presentations, but students do not complete a capstone project.

Students planning graduate or professional study in Religion are encouraged to take at least one year of foreign or classical language study at the college level.

Minor
The minor in Religion consists of 5 courses. One of these courses must be a 300-level seminar.

Minimum Grade
Courses in which a student has earned a letter grade lower than a C- or P cannot be used to fulfill the requirements of the major.

Transfer of Credit
Students wishing to transfer credit toward the Religion major should provide the department with as much information about the transferred course as possible (including the syllabus, papers, and exams). The department will not normally allow more than 2 courses from other institutions to count toward the major and does not normally accept transferred courses to satisfy distribution requirements in the major. Students should seek preapproval from the Chair for coursework they intend to take elsewhere and transfer to Oberlin.

Honors
Students will be considered for honors based on their successful completion of the RELG 401/RELG 402 sequence, academic performance in the major, the quality of their senior capstone project, and an oral examination. Please consult with the Chair of the department for further information about honors.

Winter Term
Faculty in the Religion Department sponsor a wide variety of Winter Term projects, particularly projects related to their areas of scholarly expertise. Students planning projects are invited to approach individual faculty members to discuss their ideas and plans.