Religious Studies - UC Irvine Quarterly Approved Courses

Current Courses

Course Term (Y=Summer Session 1, Z=Session 2):  

Courses Offered by other Humanities Departments

Spring Quarter
Dept Course No., Title   Instructor

This course will focus on the architecture and other material culture of the great world empires originating in Iran and India, spanning the millennium between c. 600 BCE-600 CE. Beginning with the great Achaemenids of Iran (c. 500-300 BCE) and the Mauryas of India (4th-2nd centuries BCE) we will traverse the early centuries CE and end with the Sassanians of Iran (3rd-7th centuries CE) and the Guptas of India (4th-7th centuries CE). The course offers the unique opportunity to examine the political and cultural legacies of Alexander the Great and the spread of Hellenism throughout Asia, as his armies encountered Iranian and Indian civilizations, and the interpretation of these cross-cultural contacts in the present day. We will gain intimate knowledge of world-renowned sites such as Persepolis and Pasargadae in Iran, Kabul and Bamian in Afghanistan, and Mathura and Pataliputra in India, also learning about the world religions of Zoroastrianism, Manicheism, Nestorian Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and the beginnings of Islam. Mid-term, museum assignment, take-home final. No prerequisite.

Rel Std Category: 2,3

Days: TU TH  11:00-12:20 PM


EA190 Class Description: This course will explore how Shakespeare has been "translated" into Japanese, with particular focus on two films by Akira Kurosawa: Throne of Blood (based on Macbeth) and Ran (based on King Lear). We will consider how Kurosawa deploys elements of premodern Japanese theater and art to translate Shakespeare's complex metaphors and narrative structures into visual equivalents, enabling samurai dramas set in the 16th century to enact allegories of 20th century violence and warfare. To do so we will consider (among other things) the historical development of Bushido (the Way of the Samurai), the effect of differing religious frameworks (Buddhist/Shinto versus Christian), and the history of Shakespeare in Japan, including other theatrical productions both modern and contemporary.

Rel Std Category: 1,2

Days: WE  04:00-06:50 PM


When Shakespeare's plays are entitled tragedies or comedies, are they? Everyone knows that Shakespeare's Hamlet is a heroic tyrant-killer; that Lear is "more sinned against than sinning," Cordelia a saint, and his two elder daughters, like Gloucester's bastard son, evil as the day is long; that Richard III's deformity and lack of mother-love account for his being a wicked, wicked man; and that marriage in the romantic comedies resolves all problems at home and in the state, leaving every deserving soul to live happily ever after. This course will test these dramatic expectations against the experience of the plays as text and film, while considering how this ingenious playwright uses genre to turn the world of playgoer and play upside down. Two takehome exams for course credit.

Rel Std Category: 1,3

Days: MO WE  05:00-06:20 PM


This course explores the intersection of gender and religion in multiple religious traditions, including indigenous religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In particular, the course will examine how religious ideas, texts, and debates about gender shape social roles and everyday practices, family and kinship, sexuality and intimacy, public space, citizenship, political participation, rituals, nationalism, and legal structures. Students will consider debates about the relationship of religion to feminism; examine women’s engagements with textual authority; investigate how gender ideologies are constructed and contested; analyze ritual as a space of both the reproduction and transformation of social norms; and explore the relationship of religious gender ideologies to political movements and the state.

Rel Std Category: 3

Days: TU TH  12:30-01:50 PM


In 1095, Pope Urban II called upon the military elite of Western Europe to undertake an arduous journey to rescue their fellow Christians and the holy city of Jerusalem from Muslim rule. His words marked the beginning of a crusade movement of warriors fighting under the sign of the cross, which resulted in the establishment of European colonies in Syria and Palestine. This movement had a profound effect upon the development of European society and inspired other wars of expansion and colonization. Although the prolonged and violent contact among European crusaders, Byzantine Christians and Muslims in the eastern Mediterranean profoundly changed all three cultures, this course will primarily focus on medieval Europe for the purpose of answering two questions. First we will ask what caused the Europeans to engage in what they understood to be a holy war against eastern Mediterranean Muslims in 1095. Second, we will ask how did the active engagement in a prolonged crusade movement change European culture, institutions, and attitudes towards those they perceived to be religious others.

This satisfies one course for the Europe regional requirement, pre-1800.

Rel Std Category: 1

Days: MO WE  10:00-10:50 AM


History 12 offers as an introduction to indigenous "earth religions." As there are very few written documents
(such as sacred texts) upon which to base an understanding of indigenous people’s religious worldviews,
other sources such as star lore, myth; performance: ceremony, dance, architecture, and, artifacts, sacred space,
(“mute” texts) are critically examined.

Our first readings will be an Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) creation story, "Myth of the Earth Grasper," and Joseph
Campbell's classic book on the monomyth, Hero with a Thousand Face, which draws upon worldwide
examples of folktale, myth and religious texts. The cosmologies of the rich Mesoamerican sacred city states will
be explored, Important insights into indigenous concepts of space and time have come from the new discipline
of archaeoastronomy. Topics to be covered include historical diffusion of cosmological/religious constructs, the
significance of dreams and psychology; symbolism and metaphor, the ongoing centrality of place, and what
narratives give meaning to us today.

This satisfies one course for G.E. Category IV. Arts and Humanities.

Rel Std Category: 2

Days: TU TH  09:30-10:50 AM


The third class in UCI's world religions series. Lectures and discussion on ten provocative religious topics and the history of these topics. Lecture on Tuesday introducing a new topic. Small-group discussion for everyone on Wednesday. A full-class discussion on Thursday. No topic is ever settled or resolved, and there is much disagreement. Students must learn to manage permanent tensions that exist between all of us on matters of religion. Though everyone is asked to speak with absolute candor, it will be our policy to attempt civil, amicable exchanges. Weekly short essays. Very short summary of book chapters. Very brief research projects on two course topics. One final essay exam. The course is event-oriented and requires attendance for each session. Absences penalized.

This satisfies one course for G.E. category IV. Arts and Humanities and VIII. International/Global Studies

Rel Std Category: 1

Days: TU TH  09:30-10:50 AM


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.

Rel Std Category: 1,3

Days: TH  03:30-06:50 PM


A study of medieval theories of freedom, moral responsibility, and evil, based on readings from Augustine, Abelard, Anselm, and Aquinas. Topics include: What is evil? Why did God make creatures capable of evil? Is intending to sin just as bad as actually doing it? Does one need a body in order to sin, or do intellect and will suffice? (Angels are the test case for the last issue.)
Days: TU TH  11:00-12:20 PM

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

Spring Quarter
Dept Course No., Title   Instructor

This is a CORE Category.
The third class in UCI's world religions series. Two hundred plus students. No prerequisite. Lectures and
discussion on ten provocative comparative religious topics and the history of these topics. Lecture on Tuesday
introducing a new topic. Small-group discussion on Wednesday. Full-class discussion on Thursday. No topic
is ever settled or resolved, and there is much disagreement among students. Students must learn to manage
permanent tensions that exist between all of us on matters of religion. Though everyone is asked to speak with
absolute candor, it will be our policy to attempt civil, amicable exchanges. Weekly short essays. Very short
summaries of six textbook chapters. Very brief research projects on two course topics. One final essay exam.
The course is event-oriented and requires attendance for each session. Absences penalized.

Days: TU TH  09:30-10:50 AM


Introduction to how basic economic concepts such as demand, supply, consumption, production, competition,
free-riding, innovation, regulation, and rent-seeking can be applied to understand observed religious behavior.

Days: TU TH  11:00-12:20 PM


Christianity has made a significant contribution to the shaping of
modern Korea. In this course we will explore the impact of Christianity
on modern Korean culture and society that include social relationship,
nationalism, education, gender relationship, and other areas of public
culture. Materials will be drawn from modern Korean history,
literature, film, and art.
Category 1
(same as E Asian 116)

Days: MO WE  11:00-11:50 AM


Major figures from both the Old Testament and the New appear in the Qur’an as well. This
course will read a selection of the affected passages and note both their similarities and their

Days: TU TH  08:00-09:20 AM


One of the oldest world religions, Hinduism encompasses an extraordinary range of practices, traditions, and worldviews that enrich its landscape in India and beyond. This course invites you to explore the various facets of Hindu traditions in history and practice by engaging with a wide range of materials such as poems, narratives, scriptures, images, audio-clips, and videos. Today, as the need to understand diverse religions is more urgent than ever, the exploration of Hindu traditions offers an opportunity to understand the richness and nuances embedded in the phenomenon of religion.

Category 2


This class focuses on artistic, religious, material, and technological exchanges between European cultures and African, Asian, and American cultures in the early modern period (roughly 1400-1800). The emphasis will be on how these exchanges manifest themselves in visual culture from prints to paintings, sculptures, architecture, porcelain, textiles, and more.

(same as Art Hist 120)
Category 2


Exploring modern Iran through film, literature, photography, travel writing, philosophy and social science texts introduces students to important concepts in post-colonial studies, social thought, war culture, religion and media as experienced through the paradigm of a non-Western modernity.

Category 1




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