Course Descriptions


Fall Quarter (F20)

Dept/Description Course No., Title  Instructor

None Found

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

Fall Quarter (F20)

Dept Course No., Title   Instructor

This is a lecture course (with required discussion sections) on monotheistic religions, surveying key historical events, major figures, basic ideas, essential practices, significant texts, notable artifacts, and important trends in scholarship concerning the religions under review. The class presumes no prior knowledge of these traditions and has no prerequisites; it fulfills requirements for the History major, the Religious Studies major and minor, and satisfies General Education categories IV (Arts and Humanities) or VIII (International/Global Issues). Three textbooks (one for each religion) and three essayistic in-class tests (one for each religion).  Weekly short, typed essays to facilitate small group discussions. Note that the study of religion at University is academic, not devotional.

(same as 26550 History 16A, Lec A)
Days: MWF  11:00-11:50 AM


Art His   40A     ANC EGYPT GRC ROME
This course will provide an introduction to the art, architecture and archaeology of the ancient Mediterranean from the formation of the Greek city states at the beginning of the first millennium BCE to the transformation of Roman visual culture in the fourth century CE with coming of Christianity. The first half of the course will concentrate on the main developments of Greek art within city states such as Athens and Sparta and its later transformation under Alexander the Great and his Successors. The second half will survey the development Roman art from its early Italic and Etruscan origins, through the rise of the empire under Augustus, Hadrian and Trajan to Constantine the Great. In addition, this course considers the changes Greek and Roman visual cultures underwent as they served non-Greek peoples, including the impact of Greek visual culture on Mesopotamia, Iran and India after Alexander through both conquest and trade. No background in the time period or discipline is expected and therefore this class will also serve as an introduction to interdisciplinary study of art history, archaeology, mythologies and religions of the Classical World. A number of art historical methodologies will be introduced in order to provide students the tools to think as art historians and incorporate related visual and textual evidence meaningfully into their writing.

(Category III - Thematic Approaches to Religion)
Days: T TH  09:30-10:50 AM


Classics 45A

An overview of the main myths of the gods of the ancient Greeks and Romans and their influence in contemporary and later literature and art. Includes readings from both ancient and modern sources.

(Category II - World Religious Traditions)
Days: MWF  10:00-10:50 AM



(same as 21030 Art His 150, Lec A; and 31230 Rel Std 120, Lec A)

This course is an introduction to and exploration of the Buddhist arts and visual cultures of Japan which are enchanting, profound, puzzling, repulsive, quirky, simple, elaborate, rough, refined, and much more besides. We begin with sculptures from around the early 7th century onward, and move through the courtly works of the 8th to 12th centuries. These include mandalas; Pure Land works; sutras on intricate handscrolls; reliquaries; narrative paintings that unrolled to reveal tales of Buddhist sites and their occupants; and even early caricature. We will learn how sculpture and painting developed under a new military rule between the 12th to 16th centuries: powerful and realistic portrayals of Buddhist divinities and masters co-existed with Zen aesthetics in ink-painting, tea utensils, and amusing sketches of Zen eccentrics. Art that fused Buddhism with the worship of (“Shinto”) kami deities often linked with nature also flourished, and an entirely syncretic astrological art used by Buddhist monks emerged. The 18th century with its woodblock-print boom brought humor and erotica into Buddhism, and in the modern period and present day, manga artists such as Tezuka Osamu, Nakamura Hikaru, and painter-sculptors Matsui Fuyuko and Murakami Takashi investigate Buddhist aesthetics and themes in compelling ways.

(Category II - World Religious Traditions)
(Category III - Thematic Approaches to Religion)

Days: T TH  12:30-01:50 PM


Applied Indian Philosophy brings together ancient metaphysics with contemporary application. We will primarily examine Jainism, with some secondary reference to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Sikhism. Jainism emerged as a reforming philosophy in the Ganges plain of India, approximately 5th c. BCE. Its expansive account of diverse and autonomous life forms, its view of karmic responsibility, and its central emphasis of nonviolence provides an alternate metaphysical foundation from which to evaluate and address modern conflicts. The first half of the class will introduce history and philosophy of Jainism among other Indian traditions; the second half will explore applications (and limits) of Jain philosophy to issues such as:
*end-of-life decisions
*ecology and climate change
*gender inequality
*animal ethics, and
*the science/religion debate

(Category II - World Religious Traditions)

Days: T TH  05:00-06:20 PM


AsianAm   142     ISLAM IN AMERICA

(same as 60140 Anthro 125Z, Lec A)

"This course explores the multiple identities of Muslims in North America, focusing on the diversity within the ""community.""   Please note that it is not a course on Islam or on solely religious identities, although Islam may indeed be an important component of identity for many Muslims.   As sacred texts and believers move across national boundaries, and as people indigenous to one place convert to religions coming from other places, transformations of religions and personal identities inevitably occur.  We will talk about identities in ways that emphasize instability, construction in context, and reinterpretations of the past in the present.  In North America, there are Muslims of many national, ethnic, racial, and/or class origins; gender and generational differences are also important.  We rely on lectures, readings, films, and class discussion, with teams doing short research projects and reporting to the class in the final weeks."

(Category I - Judaism/Christianity/Islam)
(Category III - Thematic Approaches to Religion)

Days: T TH  09:30-10:50 AM


The Underworld: Ancient Literature on Life, Death, and Regeneration. Taking a spatial or topographical approach to mythology, this course will explore the significance of “the underworld” to ancient Greek and Roman thought. We will explore the role of the underworld in ancient cosmologies, examine its importance to notions of (im)mortality and terrestrial fertility, and investigate the central role of “the descent” in the ancient hero’s quest. To explore these ideas, we will read such authors as Homer, Hesiod, Plato, Virgil, Lucretius, Ovid, and others. These readings will be supplemented with critical and theoretical texts, and the course will conclude with a look at more modern adaptations of these ideas in literature.

(Category II - World Religious Traditions)
(Category III - Thematic Approaches to Religion)
Days: MW  02:00-03:20 PM



This is a lecture course designed for the exploration of mountains, caves, and grottoes as sacred places in East Asia.

Mountains have long exerted a pull on the imagination and they induce feelings of awe and a sense of mystery in those who view, walk in, and explore them. In East Asia they have long been cast as the abodes of spirits, gods, and Buddhist beings, and often considered sites of and for the dead. As colossal structures, they are perceived as close to the heavens, and understood as the center of the cosmos. And while natural, they are constructed into material and symbolic architectures by the humans – spiritual practitioners, pilgrims, hermits, climbers, and other seekers - who interact with them. Caves are made into meditational spaces, and sites for carved and painted sacred statues. Mountains inspire art, too. These are among the reasons why—and how—religious practices take place in the mountains: they might take on the form of massive Buddhist mandalas, paradises populated by Daoist immortals, wombs of divine mothers, and provide energetic resources for Shamans and meditators. We will consider mainly the Buddhist, Daoist, Hindu, and Shinto views of and interactions with mountains, and the religious practices and cultures they produced. Why are they circumambulated, entered, decorated, climbed, and “conquered”? We will focus on Japan, China, and Korea, with some Tibetan materials, think of the smallest stone, cairn, and stupa, to the greatest ranges and trails, and discover what might make a place sacred.

(Category III - Thematic Approaches to Religion)

Days: T TH  03:30-04:50 PM


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.

(Category III - Thematic Approaches to Religion)
Days: TU TH  11:00-12:20 PM


International Studies 179

Studies in selected areas of international studies. Topics addressed vary each quarter.
(same as 67375 Pol Sci 149, Lec A;   and 71060 Soc Sci 189, Lec A)

(Category III - Thematic Approaches to Religion)
Days: T TH  12:30-01:50 PM


International Studies 179 / Social Science 189

Studies in selected areas of international studies. Topics addressed vary each quarter.

(same as 71222 Soc Sci 189, Lec H)

Restriction: School of Social Sciences students have first consideration for enrollment.

(Category III - Thematic Approaches to Religion)
Days: T TH  03:30-04:50 PM