Course Descriptions


Spring Quarter (S20)

Dept/Description Course No., Title  Instructor

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.
Days: MO WE  01:00-01:50 PM


This course is a review of Zoroastrianism, one of the oldest and earliest monotheistic and least known religious traditions in the world which influenced Judaism, Mahayana Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. In antiquity its followers were numerous, but today there are about 200,000 adherents of this faith mainly in Iran, India, Southeast Asia and in the West. We will look at the doctrine of this faith which grew from its Indo-European and Indo-Iranian background in a historical context. The sacred hymns (Gathas) of the prophet of Zoroastrianism, i.e., Zarathushtra (Zoroaster) will be studied. This will be followed by the study of Zoroastrianism in the historical period in the Achaemenid, Parthians, and the Sasanians period (600 BCE – 700 CE). In this period the Achaemenid and Sasanian royal inscriptions, the Middle Persian texts, the Avesta along with the Greek, Syriac and Armenian sources will be studied.
Days: MO WE  10:00-10:50 AM


Anti-Judaism and antisemitism have a long history that goes back to antiquity. One historian has argued in a recent book that anti-Judaism has in fact been a foundational feature of Western civilization for centuries. In the twentieth century, antisemitism showed its most destructive potential in the violence unleashed by Nazi Germany, leading to the genocide against the Jews of Europe in the Holocaust. But even in the decades since World War II, antisemitism has by no means disappeared, taking on new forms but also building on centuries-old ideas about Jews and Judaism.
Days: TU  02:00-04:50 PM


This year’s seminar will deal with the notion of covenant, or written agreement, more particularly, the ways in which God’s covenants with man are reflected in Dante’s covenant with his reader.  God made two covenants with man: first the covenant with Noah that the world would never again be flooded: That covenant was sealed with the rainbow.  The second covenant, requiring the sacrifice of Christ, was that Heaven would be opened to mankind.  That covenant was sealed with the blood of the Word.  Christ was understood by medieval Christianity as the writing of the Word when he dwelt in this world.  Now Dante is carrying on Christ’s task of returning the world to God, i.e., to happiness, perfect self-sufficient existence, by means of a written document which he often figures as a person.  Sin, we shall see, is a disfrancare, a kind of unwriting of the soul/self/covenant to nonsense.  Dante’s poem is deeply covenantal, most obviously the fulfillment of a vow made to Beatrice, but, by its allegorical and figural force, that vow transcends itself to recognize God as the covenantee.  The final moments of ecstasy at the end of the Paradiso are accordingly the fulfillment of that vow and the Pilgrim’s enabling as Poet to write the poem.
Days: MO WE  02:00-02:50 PM


Religious claims are of particular interest to philosophers because they raise important metaphysical issues. These issues include the ultimate nature of reality, the distinction between mind, body, and soul, the existence or character of God/gods, the problem of evil and suffering, afterlife, the relationship between humans, animals, and plants, as well as the link between rationality and belief, among others. Utilizing methods and concepts in the field, we will look at several of these issues, with additional reference to related themes such as religion and science, the role of morality, and religious pluralism. Our sources will include classic western philosophical debates, with some reference to views from the Indian traditions—Jainism, Buddhism, and Hinduism—as well as perspectives through the lens of race, gender, and species.
Days: MO WE  03:30-04:50 PM

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

Spring Quarter (S20)

Dept Course No., Title   Instructor

Lectures and discussion on controversial topics in religion: sexual morality; religious violence; science; treatment of women and girls; religious truth, American Constitutional matters; secularization; the future of religion, and other topics.
Days: TU TH  11:00-12:20 PM


Approved course offered by History department, History 10.

Introduction to the history of European Jewish communities before the Holocaust; the origins of Nazi antisemitism; the implementation of the "Final Solution"; Jewish resistance to the Nazis; and attempts in film and literature to represent the Holocaust since 1945.

Fulfills category 3. 


Economics 17 

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  09:30-10:50 AM


Course description is coming soon, please stay tuned! 
Fulfills category 3.

Days: MO WE  03:30-04:50 PM


This course covers the art and architecture of Catholic Europe after the Reformation and during the period referred to as the Baroque. It was during this period, the late sixteenth into the seventeenth centuries (roughly 1543-1690), that the Catholic Church resurged, initiating a finely honed propaganda of Catholic doctrine and justifications for colonial and missionary expansion while also making Rome into the seat of a new, grandiose cultural revival under the papacy of Pope Urban VIII. Church architecture and decoration proliferated, exhibiting an exuberance and expansiveness that surpassed that of the High Renaissance (which peaked one hundred years earlier). In other parts of Europe, particularly France and Spain, Catholic monarchs such as Louis XIV and Phillip IV built similarly lavish courts filled with art dedicated to the propaganda of absolutism, as well as monuments to Roman Christianity. This flurry of artistic activity produced what the art historian Erwin Panofsky has called “a lordly racket, so to speak: unbridled movement, overwhelming richness in color and composition, theatrical effects produced by a free play of light and shade, etc.” This class will explore the social, political and cultural parameters of the Baroque “lordly racket."

Days: TU TH  01:30-02:50 PM


A survey and investigation of the major thinkers, theories, and methodologies in the study of religions. Designed to develop the student's ability to analyze and articulate theoretical arguments in writing; includes a paper on relevant Religious Studies topics.
Days: TU TH  12:30-01:50 PM


Sociology 150. Fulfills category 3.

Examines the effects of religious beliefs, belonging, and institutions on social dynamics, including class, gender, and racial stratification, politics, and social movements. Additional topics: the sociological significance of conversion, commitment, and secularization/sacralization.


Social Sciences 198, same as 64790 Intl St 179, Lec B

Fulfills category 3.

Course description is coming soon, please stay tuned!


Fulfills category 2 or 3. 

Course description is coming soon, please stay tuned!