Course Descriptions

Term:

Winter Quarter (W18)

Dept/Description Course No., Title  Instructor
ART HIS (W18)40B  EUROPE:MEDIEVL &RENPOWELL, A.

AH 40B (Western Art of the Middle Ages and Renaissance) focuses on the long period that extends from the end of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century through the sixteenth century. There are no prerequisites for the course and no expectations that students will necessarily have taken Art History 40A. Less a survey than a series of case studies, this course looks at colossal statues of emperors, miracle working icons, gem encrusted reliquaries, Gothic cathedrals, the eye-tricking illusions of Renaissance painters, the first nude statues in the West since antiquity, Michelangelo’s paintings in the Sistine Chapel, and Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. In looking at these things, we will trace the emergence of European visual culture, its dialogue with other cultures, the questioning of the nature and validity of representation within that culture — especially the representation of the human body — and the gradual eclipse of the sacred icon by the secular, modern work of art during the Renaissance.
Days: MO WE  10:00-10:50 AM

ASIANAM (W18)143  RELIGIOUS TRAD ASAMMAZUMDAR, S.
E ASIAN (W18)116  CHRST & KR CNMACHOI, C.

Christianity has made a significant contribution to the shaping of modern Korean society and culture. In this class, we will first explore the impact of Christianity on modern Korean culture and society that include social relationship, education, gender relationship, nationalism, and politics.  We will further examine some of the central themes of Christianity that are explored in Korean films vis-à-vis Korea’s historical trauma such as war and national division as well as rapid industrialization and the resultant class conflicts that Koreans have experienced in the course of tumultuous modern history.  We will discuss films by Park Chan-wook, Kim Ki-duk, and Lee Chang-dong among others focusing on the themes of good and evil, grace and forgiveness, atonement and sacrifice, reconciliation and community of love, etc. 
Additional materials may be drawn from non-Korean art house films for a comparative purpose.
Days: MO WE  11:00-11:50 AM

ENGLISH (W18)10  BIBLE AS LITERATUREALLEN, E.

In this course, we will read selections from the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament as centrally important cultural documents and works of literary artistry in various genres. We will consider such questions as the variety of literary genres and strategies in the Bible; the historical and rhetorical situation of its various writers; the representation of God as a literary character; recurrent images and themes; the Bible as a Hebrew national epic; the New Testament as a radical reinterpretation of the “Old Testament” (or Hebrew Bible); and the overall narrative as a plot with beginning, middle, and end. Since time will not permit a complete reading, we will concentrate on those books that display the greatest literary interest or influence, possibly including Genesis, Exodus, and parts of Deuteronomy; from the Prophets, Second Isaiah and Daniel; excerpts from the books of Judges, Ruth, Psalms, and the Song of Songs, along with the saga of King David and portions of the Wisdom literature. In the New Testament, we will read from the Gospels according to Matthew, Luke, and John.

While the Bible is of course a foundational religious document in many traditions, we will not be looking at it as theology or revelation; respect for others’ religious or non-religious orientation is important, but we will be emphasizing the Bible’s literary aspects, its rhetoric, and its cultural significance for believers and non-believers alike. No previous acquaintance with the Bible is presupposed. Requirements: short response papers, essay, final exam.
Days: TU TH  12:30-01:50 PM

EURO ST (W18)103  REPRESENT HOLOCAUSTSTAFF
HISTORY (W18)10  THE HOLOCAUSTLEHMANN, M.

The Holocaust, the Nazi state’s attempt to murder all European Jews, is a defining moment in modern history. How do we comprehend the incomprehensible? Can we make sense of such a horrifying event? Does it defy explanation? Is it unique or can we compare it with other forms of genocide? In this course, we will explore these questions by learning about the nature of Jewish communities in Germany before the Holocaust; considering other forms of genocide that preceded the Holocaust; and analyzing the Nazi rise to power and the Nazi state’s move toward the “final solution. In the second half of the course, we will look carefully at how the Holocaust has been remembered and commemorated since 1945. Readings will consist primarily of historical primary sources.

Fulfills General Education Category: IV. Arts and Humanities AND VIII. International/Global Studies
Days: MO WE  01:00-01:50 PM

HISTORY (W18)100W  JUDAISM&CHRISTNTYGROSS, S.

Judaism and Christianity: Co-Formation and Development
The first few centuries of the Common Era witnessed one of the most important developments in religious history: the formation of both Judaism and Christianity. According to the traditional understanding of the formation of these groups, Judaism was an ancient religion, extending from the time of the Bible, and Christianity was a small upstart that “parted ways” from Judaism and eventually emerged as a major world religion all on its own. After their parting, according to this understanding, Judaism and Christianity were almost exclusively hostile to one another. In recent years, however, the traditional understanding has been challenged and largely dismantled. It is now clear that both groups continued to define and redefine themselves in dialogue and/or competition with the other; that Judaism itself is formed alongside Christianity in this period; that lines between the groups remained blurry for centuries; that the discourse of an early and total “parting” was created in large part by elite men describing and creating the “parting” they hoped for; that Jews and Christians interacted in ways that were not hostile but in fact productive and positive.

In this course, we will study the ways that Judaism and Christianity continued to overlap throughout antiquity, as well as the many discourses that were applied to draw lines between these overlapping groups and to cause them to “part.” While the content of the course will focus on Judaism and Christianity, the implications of our investigation apply to the definition, evolution, growth, and other issues that attend groups and their formation in both antiquity and the present. The course will address larger questions related to how history and rhetoric are fashioned, how identities are shaped in conversation with each other, how orthodoxies are formed and challenged, and more.
Days: TU TH  03:30-04:50 PM

HISTORY (W18)130C  THE HEBREW BIBLEGROSS, S.

This course is an introduction to the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, a collection or ancient library of fascinating texts produced by dramatically different groups in drastically different places and time periods. The texts in this collection are some of the world’s most enduring works of literature, ideology, theology, and more, and continue to shape our world, just as our world continues to shape how the texts are understood.
Each class will center around the meaning, historical context, and significance of a specific book or portion in the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. We will compare the biblical texts with other similar works produced in the Ancient Near East, and situate biblical events in the context of the political, diplomatic, military, economic, and other major issues of the time.
The goal of the course is to acquaint students with the central texts in the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible and to situate these texts in their historical contexts. Secondary goals of the course include introducing students to the various theoretical and methodological frameworks scholars have used to better understand these text, and well as to introduce students to the reception of these texts by ancient Jews and Christians. Students will leave the course with a firm grasp of the texts in the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, as well as the context in which this fascinating library was produced.
Days: TU TH  09:30-10:50 AM

HISTORY (W18)169  LATIN AMER RELIGIONDUNCAN, R.

Religion has deeply influenced the course of Latin American society and culture. It has served not only as a source of individual identity, but as a basis for a collective one as well. This course will survey the development of religious thought and practice over five centuries of Latin American history. Lectures will examine the clash of diverse religious traditions beginning with the great “encounter” between Europeans, indigenous peoples, and Africans in the New World. An analysis will follow of the fundamental—and sometimes controversial—role of the Catholic Church in the region as well as non-Christian faiths. Themes will include indigenous religious practice, Christianization efforts, the role of religion in politics and revolution, liberation theology, Afro-Latin American faiths, Judaism, and the recent rise of Pentecostal denominations. Students are expected to attend lectures and complete all assigned readings. Videos and primary source materials will supplement the lectures.
Days: MO WE  11:00-11:50 AM

HISTORY (W18)180  HIST OF THE DEVILMCKENNA, J.

This course offers the history of an idea and a history of the effects of that idea. Students learn how numerous ancient mythological 'evil entities' in various world cultures contributed to the devil idea. Students then trace the development of devil traditions in ancient Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian, and Islamic texts and contexts. Students then learn of the deadly effects of the devil idea: the devil idea fed centuries-long European anti-Jewish sentiment; it aided in the persecution and killing of European heretics; it was a major factor in a 300-year-long European satanic panic called the witchcraze, which executed some 100,000 'witches'. Next, students examine the uses of the devil in medieval European folklore and modern Western literature. Students then review a 1500-year history of devil iconography in Western art and a 100+ year history of the devil in Western films. Lastly, students survey the relation of the devil idea to very recent sociological phenomena like black metal music, satanism, satanic ritual abuse, and modern witchcraft. Along with lectures, there will be weekly readings (book chapters and/or handouts), weekly writing (short reviews of the reading), and weekly full-class discussions. Since the class meets once a week, any absence has a very ill effect on grades. One final exam (comprehensive). By the way: the class is not an examination of---or a promotion of---the occult.
Days: WE  03:00-05:50 PM

PHILOS (W18)123  PHIL OF RELIGIONBENCIVENGA, E.

Critical examination of concepts involved in the theological literature, e.g., the nature and existence of God, miracles, the problem of evil, divine command theories in ethics.

Repeatability: Unlimited as topics vary.

Days: TU TH  03:30-04:50 PM

Courses Offered by the Religious Studies Minor or other Schools at UCI

Winter Quarter (W18)

Dept Course No., Title   Instructor
REL STD (W18)5B  WORLD RELIGIONS IISTAFF

CORE

An introduction to various religious traditions in selected areas of the world—including India and South Asia, East Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
Days: MO WE  11:00-11:50 AM

REL STD (W18)100  FAITH & REASONSMITH, J.

Emphasis/Category: Judaism/Christianity/Islam (Category 1)
Early Modern Europe was a time of tremendous upheavals that transformed the earlier medieval social structures and laid the foundation for our own world. Central to this period were challenges to traditional religious views (coming from conflicts within Europe but also from European encounters with other cultures) and the introduction of new modes of reasoning. Although these developments are often associated with a process of “secularization,” i.e., the gradual diminishment of the role of religion in public life and the substitution of non-religious ideas for religious ones, we will try to paint a more nuanced picture that sees faith and reason, the religious and the secular, in a complex dialogue (dialectic) with each other. The time period of the course material stretches from 1517 (Luther’s “99 Theses” unleash the Reformation) to 1789 (the French Revolution).

Some of the major topics to be explored in the course from a variety of disciplines (literature, art, history, philosophy, political theory, sociology) are:

1. Debates concerning Humanism and the Reformation (Luther and Erasmus)
2. The significance of the Thirty Years’ War, 1618-1648 (not just wars of religion)
3. Interactions with the Ottoman Empire and Islam (Shakespeare’s Othello and the  development of Renaissance art/perspective out of Arabic influences)
4. New attempts to ground philosophy in reason (Descartes) and their relation to  faith (Pascal, Kant)
5.  The rise of new forms of rationality (scientific, economic/capitalist)
6. The role of the state in relation to religion (Hobbes, Spinoza)
7. Enlightenment understandings of (religious) toleration (Nathan the Wise, a play  by the major German author Gotthold Ephraim Lessing)
8. The French Revolution, radical secularism (“laicism”), and the return of religion

All of these topics from the Early Modern period have immediate relevance for events unfolding in the world today.
Days: T TH  09:30-10:50 AM

REL STD (W18)100  HISTORY OF THE DEVILMCKENNA, J.

Emphasis/Category: Judaism/Christianity/Islam (Category 1), Thematic Approaches to Religion (Category 3)
This course offers the history of an idea and a history of the effects of that idea. Students learn how numerous ancient mythological 'evil entities' in various world cultures contributed to the devil idea. Students then trace the development of devil traditions in ancient Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian, and Islamic texts and contexts. Students then learn of the deadly effects of the devil idea: the devil idea fed centuries-long European anti-Jewish sentiment; it aided in the persecution and killing of European heretics; it was a major factor in a 300-year-long European satanic panic called the witchcraze, which executed some 100,000 'witches'. Next, students examine the uses of the devil in medieval European folklore and modern Western literature. Students then review a 1500-year history of devil iconography in Western art and a 100+ year history of the devil in Western films. Lastly, students survey the relation of the devil idea to very recent sociological phenomena like black metal music, satanism, satanic ritual abuse, and modern witchcraft. Along with lectures, there will be weekly readings (book chapters and/or handouts), weekly writing (short reviews of the reading), and weekly full-class discussions. Since the class meets once a week, any absence has a very ill effect on grades. One final exam (comprehensive). By the way: the class is not an examination of---or a promotion of---the occult.
Days: W  03:00-05:50 PM

REL STD (W18)100  THE HEBREW BIBLEGROSS, S.

No description is currently available.
Days: Tu Th  09:30-10:50 AM

REL STD (W18)115  RELIGION & POLITICSLYNCH, C.

Emphasis/Category: Thematic Approaches to Religion (Category 3)
Secularism very generally involves a rejection of theocracy and the creation of some distance between church and state. It is a defining feature of liberal democracy. But what secularism specifically demands of the liberal state and the liberal citizen is a contentious and contested question.  Indeed secularism has undergone a vigorous re-examination over the last 15 years as the result of multiple challenges.  In this course we will survey some of these challenges and investigate the contemporary debates that seek to rethink secularism for the 21st century.

The course will begin with some conceptual and historical ground work.  We will look at the rise of secularism and some contemporary definitions of secularism. We will also look at some contemporary definitions of religion. Religion is exceedingly difficult to define and this too complicates attempts to draw clear lines between religion and politics.

After this preliminary conceptual work the rest of the course will be devoted to specific challenges faced by the secular liberal state today.  We will examine controversial cases involving God-talk in election campaigns, religious head and face coverings, blasphemous cartoons and images, and religious freedom being invoked to resist such things as gay marriage.  The cases that we will consider will be drawn from the US, Canada, and Europe.
Days: TU TH  11:00-12:20 PM

REL STD (W18)199  INDEPENDENT STUDYMCKENNA, J.

No description is currently available.

ANTHRO (W18)139  ANTHRO OF RELIGIONVARZI, R.

No description is currently available.
Days: M  07:00-09:50 PM