Religion in a Global Context

Courses that examine religious traditions, spiritual practices and worldviews in a global context. These courses examine diverse religious traditions with respect to sacred texts, doctrines and beliefs, rituals, ethics, and spiritual practices in a global context. Emphases can include the study of a specific religious tradition, comparison and dialogue between religious traditions, and/or applying theological/spiritual perspectives and methods of analysis to global issues. Courses will include explorations of the relationships between religion, society, culture, history, and aesthetics. These courses assist students in applying theological thinking and spiritual reflection to global issues, help them develop understanding of diversity within and between religious traditions, develop facility in dialoging with persons from various religious and spiritual backgrounds, and teach them to reflect on religious traditions outside of one's own.

Sample Sections

Buddhism and Film: Global Perspectives

Faculty: Sharon A. Suh

The relationship between seeing and spiritual maturation are inextricably linked in Buddhist traditions.  This course explores the power of religious modes of seeing in the Buddhist imaginary world and the significance of vision and visionary cultures in the transmission and reception of the tradition through the medium of film.  This course extends the study of Buddhist practice by asking what can be learned about the transmission and reception of Buddhism when film and gaze are taken as the basis of inquiry.  This course thus addresses the following broad questions: (1) How might Buddhist themed films serve as entry points into the imagined world of Buddhism? (2) In what ways has Buddhism been imagined and constructed through the interconnected lenses of Orientalism, nationalism, fantasy, race, and gender? 3) How do spectators engage in religious modes of reception while viewing film?

Religion, (In)equity, and Ecology in Global Perspective

Faculty: Cynthia Moe-Lobeda

Humankind today faces a moral challenge unprecedented in human history-- to forge an ecologically sustainable relationship with planet Earth, and to do so in ways that build justice within and between societies.  Participants in this course will engage that challenge.  We will explore global Christianities in relationship to social justice dimensions of the ecological crisis.  These dimensions include climate imperialism, environmental racism, ecological debt, water justice, and similar concerns related to race, class, and gender justice.

Religions of Native America

Faculty: Ted Fortier

This course is an introduction to Native North American religions and spirituality.  The course highlights the sacred ecology of people, plants, animals, and the environment.  Special emphasis is placed on myths, rituals, and beliefs ranging from individual practices to organized religions among a diverse array of Native American communities.  These different ways of seeing, sensing, and listening form entire life ways that are reflected in the arts, music, dance, poetry, narrative, architecture, and social organizations.  Or importance will be the historical, economic, health, environmental, political, and legal issues that influence the present and future ways that Native Americans practice their religious traditions.

The Holocaust and Christian Faith

Faculty: Jeanette Rodriguez

Responding to the question, ''Where was God at Auschwitz?" the former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, Immanuel Jakobovits, states the most important issue of the Holocaust was, ''Where was man? Where was human morality amidst the Nazi regime?" This course explores the religious challenge posed by the Holocaust by exploring the writings of both Jewish and Christian writers and analyzing the shift in understanding regarding the challenging questions about God, evil, freewill, and suffering.  An understanding of the psychospiritual, social process, and development that allowed the Holocaust to occur will be explored in order to examine modern genocide and/ or at risk for genocide situation around the globe.

Learning Objectives

This course helps students understand different religious traditions, the interplay between religions, and the relationships between religious traditions and their cultural, historical, and social contexts.

The study of religious traditions will help students examine their own beliefs.

Students will learn to apply scholarly perspectives and methods to understanding religious traditions or to examining important global issues through the study of religion.

This course assists students in becoming effective writers, including writers of high quality academic prose.

Many, but not all, sections of this course teach students to examine important global issues through the analytical perspectives and methods of theological and religious studies.

Through the study of different religious traditions, this course helps students develop cross-cultural understanding and competence.