Course Descriptions


Fall Quarter (F22)

Dept/Description Course No., Title  Instructor
Emphasis/Category: World Religious Traditions (Category 1)

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.

Days: MO WE  10:00-10:50 AM

Emphasis/Category: World Religious Traditions (Category 1)

How does the legacy of human evolution affect our world today?  How have technological innovations shaped human societies?  How have human societies explained the natural world and their place in it?  Given the abundance of religious beliefs in the world, how have three evangelical faiths spread far beyond their original homelands?
This class follows the major themes of world historical development through the sixteenth century to consider how developments in technology, social organization, and religion—from the origins of farming to the rise of Christianity—shaped the world we live in today.

(Satisfies Pre-1800 Requirement)
Days: TU TH  12:30-01:50 PM

Emphasis/Category: World Religious Traditions (Category 1)

What is Judaism? Who are the Jews? From the Bible to Zionism, this course explores over three thousand years of Jewish history via its primary texts and literature. We will survey an array of intellectual movements throughout Jewish history - highlighting the multiplicity and diversity of ideas throughout the wider Jewish cannon. Finally, by studying the particularisms of Jewish texts and history - we will begin to approach universalistic themes that help us better understand ourselves and the world around us.
No previous knowledge of Judaism or Jewish history is required.

(IV and VIII )
Days:   12:00-12:00 AM

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

Fall Quarter (F22)

Dept Course No., Title   Instructor

A large lecture class, three times a week, with a required discussion section once a week (even week one). A survey of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—three weeks on each (with week 10 on secularism). We’ll cover key historical events, major figures, basic ideas, essential practices, significant texts, and important trends in scholarship. No prerequisites. One textbook. Weekly short essays to facilitate discussion sections. Four essay tests. Lectures will be published on Canvas. The class fulfills requirements for majors and minors in History and in Religious Studies and satisfies General Ed IV and VIII.

(IV and VIII )
Days: MO WE  12:00-12:50 PM


Emphasis/Category: Thematic Approaches to Religion (Category 2)

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


Emphasis/Category: World Religious Traditions (Category 1)

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, anti-colonial nationalism, education, gender relationship, and other areas of public culture. Course materials will be drawn from modern Korean history, literature, film, arts and music.
Days: MO WE  12:00-12:50 PM


Emphasis/Category: Thematic Approaches to Religion (Category 2)

There is a fine line between the sacred and the horrific or profane. Both are taboo; both may provide powerful experiences; both are often to be approached or exposed to with care, caution, and permission. Religion and horror are closely bound: what is awesome may also be awful. This course teaches narratives of fear according to different religious cultures (here, primarily Japanese) so that the student may recognize and, perhaps, disarm them. We will look not only at the motifs and stories that horrify, but the "structure" of fear, and the ways in which fascination, repulsion, and terror are evoked. Through a series of acclaimed films (including The Ring (Ringu リング) and Dark Water (Honogurai Mizu no soko kara 仄暗い水の底から), and Tag (Rearu Oni-gokko リアル鬼ごっこ), as well as earlier founding masterpieces of horror cinema such as Black Cat (Kuroneko), Onibaba, Kwaidan, along with contemporaneous postwar works like Gate of Flesh (Nikutai no mon 肉体の門) we explore the roots of horror in postwar expression and the reshaping of old folk religious ghost tales into new reflections of contemporary issues.

New technology, conformity, contagion, the issue of the "shut-in" (hikikomori 引ãÂÂç± ã‚Š), the shifting shape of the family unit, and concepts of purity and impurity will all be examined. These explorations will be buttressed by readings (in English) from - among others - Edogawa Ranpō 江戸å·Âä¹±æ­©, Yukio Mishima (三島由紀夫), Kirino Natsuo æ¡Âé‡Å½å¤Âç”Ÿ, and Suzuki Kōji 鈴木光司, and by both pre-modern canonical as well as popular art of the current era that drew religion into the region of horror and the horror film.

Alongside religious concepts and practices that pertain to the development of horror, theories of hauntology and of the ethics of viewing sacredness and horror will also be presented. Japanese language and cultural knowledge are not required for this course, only a passion for exploring the depths of the sacred and the profane, the way these intertwine with cultural anxieties, and the ethical approaches we might bring to the subject of dealing with the realms of the sacred and of the disturbing.
Days: TU TH  12:30-01:50 PM


Emphasis/Category: World Religious Traditions (Category 1)

This course is an introduction to the history of Buddhism in Japan. Japanese Buddhism--which preceded its official introduction in the sixth century with a famous and fabled tale of conflict with leaders of its indigenous beliefs--appeared little by little with icons, writings and teachings that often arrived with merchants as they travelled the extensive, multi-cultural Silk Road. Nevertheless, in time a number of "schools" were established - all the way in co-existence with the twists and turns of political changes. Reclusive practitioners also co-existed with (or even founded) soon-to-prosper temple communities who gathered the fervent faith of many laypeople - from imperial pilgrims to women who, banned from much sacred space and practice, worshipped from a fenced-off distance. Elsewhere, nuns found their way in convent lives, or personal paths that involved self-mutilation, or as unmarried princesses placed in and provided for by lavish cloisters. Men ensconced on sacred mountains and in urban temples also developed elaborate rituals and doctrine: Zen, Shingon, Tendai, Pure Land, Nichiren. Today multiple “new religions” draw on Buddhism.

All flourished, and from each was born often stunning art, literature, music, culture, and of course, salvation - in various forms of enlightenment. Seated meditation, name-chanting, important sutras, and fire-rituals are a few of the diverse practices we will learn, and art and literature will be positioned in the context of beliefs. Each school, too, and individual Buddhist figures, found their way to join forces with the pre-Buddhist sacred beings who, they claimed, "softened their light and mingled with the dust" of this world. In order to cultivate a solid understanding of Buddhism in a specific cultural context, we will look at a variety of important primary texts, art, and artifacts that represent the traditions, and explore the ideas and rhetoric they present, their unique vocabulary (reading in translation), and the socio-historical context from which they emerged.

(Deals with both premodern and modern culture. Literature is only premodern)
Days: T TH  03:30-04:50 PM


Emphasis/Category: World Religious Traditions (Category 1)

Examines the relationship between the Jewish people and political power over a 3500 year period. How have Jews preserved their communal interests and personal safety? How have they defined the proper relationship of the people to political authority.

Days: TU TH  02:00-03:20 PM


Emphasis/Category: World Religious Traditions (Category 1)

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  01:00-01:50 PM


Emphasis/Category: Thematic Approaches to Religion (Category 2)

Some scholars claim that there is a fundamental difference in the cultural ethos of Muslims and the Western world and that the two clash as seemingly incompatible civilizations. Others suggest that such stereotypical contrasts between Muslims and Westerners wrongly view both sides as monolithic and overlook important ways in which Islam and the West overlap. The course explores this scholarly debate.