Iowa State University

Iowa State University

2009-2011 Courses and Programs

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Religious Studies (Relig)

200 |300 |400 |Graduate Courses |500 |

Undergraduate Study

Religious studies gives students the opportunity to investigate and reflect on the world's religions in an objective, critical, and appreciative manner. Though there is emphasis in religious studies on the wide variety of religious phenomena as well as on the various methods in the study of religion, the aim is to help students develop their own integrated understanding of the nature of religion and its role in individual and social life.

Graduates of the religious studies program have knowledge of the religious diversity in the United States and the world. They have the ability to interpret religion empathetically and critically and to compare and contrast historical and contemporary differences and similarities of religious systems. They understand ways in which religion influences and is influenced by the historical, social, and cultural contexts in which religious systems function. Graduates often pursue careers in non-profit, community organizations; apply to professional schools or graduate programs; or enter seminaries to prepare for ministry.

The program provides students with the following opportunities: to major or minor in religious studies, to fulfill group requirements, to take religious studies courses that are integrated into another major, to take religious studies courses as electives, and to develop an interdisciplinary studies major. (See the professor in charge of the religious studies program for advice.)

The major in religious studies seeks to provide both breadth and depth. Breadth is provided through the exploration of the world's various religious traditions and through exposure to a variety of theoretical approaches and methodologies in the academic study of religion. Depth is achieved through specialized courses in particular religious traditions and particular issues in the study of religions, culminating in research seminars. The objective is to expose the student to various components of the discipline of Religious Studies and by doing so develop skills that are valuable in a number of careers and that provide the necessary foundation for pursuing graduate studies.

Students pursuing a major in religious studies must complete a minimum of 33 credits, including the following requirements:

1. Either Relig 205, Introduction to World Religions or Relig 210, Religion in America.

2. One course from Judaism or Christianity: Relig 220, Introduction to the Bible. Relig 242, History of Christianity. Relig 280, Introduction to Catholicism. Relig 321, Old Testament. Relig 322, New Testament. Relig 333, Introduction to Judaism.

3. Either 356, African Religions or 358, Introduction to Islam.

4. Either 352, Religious Traditions of India or 353, Buddhism.

5. One course from Religion, Culture, and Society. Relig 328, American Indian Religions. Relig 334, African American Religious Experience. Relig 336, Women and Religion. Relig 339, Goddess Religions. Relig 342, Religion and U.S. Lation/a Literature. Relig 370, Religion and Politics. Relig 377, Social Dimensions of Religion. Relig 384, Religion and Ecology.

6. Relig 385, Theory and Methods in the Study of Religion.

7. Three hours of Relig 475, Seminar.

8. A minimum of 12 credits of elective Religious Studies courses.

The program offers a minor which may be earned by completing a total of 15 credits in religious studies including either Relig 205 or 210. Nine hours must be in courses at the 300 level or above (no more than 3 hours of seminar and no more than 3 hours of independent study).

Communication Proficiency requirement: The department requires a grade of C or better in each of English 150 and 250 (or 250H), and requires one 300 level course in religious studies in which writing is evaluated as acceptable.

Students may choose to do a senior thesis under the supervision of a religious studies faculty adviser. This option may earn 3-6 credits toward the completion of the major.

Graduate Study

The program offers courses for nonmajor graduate credit in religious studies as supporting work in other fields. Religious studies may also be one of the three areas used for the interdisciplinary graduate studies master's degree.

Courses primarily for undergraduate students

Relig 205. Introduction to World Religions. (3-0) Cr. 3. F.S.SS.An introduction to the academic study of religions, including myths, beliefs, rituals, values, social forms. Examples chosen from oral cultures and major religions of the world.

Relig 210. Religion in America. (3-0) Cr. 3. F.S.SS.Introductory study of the major beliefs, practices, and institutions of American Judaism, Catholicism, Protestantism, and Islam with emphasis on the diversity of religion in America, and attention to issues of gender, race, and class.

Relig 220. Introduction to the Bible. (3-0) Cr. 3. F.S.Basic overview of the contents of the Old and New Testament in light of their ancient socio-historical background, and with attention to a variety of interpretations and relevance to modern American society.

Relig 242. History of Christianity. (3-0) Cr. 3. F.S.SS.An introduction to Christian thought and practice from an historical point of view, stressing the development of belief, spirituality, and organization, and the continuities and changes involved in these developments.
A. The Early Church through the Medieval period.
B. The Reformation period to the present time.

Relig 280. Introduction to Catholicism. (3-0) Cr. 3. F.An explanation of the beliefs, spirit, and practices of Roman Catholicism, including its understanding of God, sacramentality, the human person, and community, and its relationship to other forms of Christianity and other world religions.

Relig 321. Old Testament. (3-0) Cr. 3. F.An in-depth study of the literature and religion of ancient Israel in light of recent archaeological discoveries, research about the ancient Near East, and a variety of interpretations. Nonmajor graduate credit.

Relig 322. New Testament. (3-0) Cr. 3. S.A detailed survey of the sacred scriptures of Christianity in light of recent archaeological discoveries and historical research about their Greco-Roman and Jewish background. Nonmajor graduate credit.

Relig 323. Science and Religion. (Cross-listed with Hist). (3-0) Cr. 3.Prereq: Sophomore classification. History of changing interplay of science and religion in our understanding nature, from the trial of Galileo to the reception of Darwin.

Relig 328. American Indian Religions. (Cross-listed with Am In). (3-0) Cr. 3.An introduction to the beliefs and rituals of Native American religious traditions, with attention to cultural and historical contexts and implications. Nonmajor graduate credit.

Relig 333. Introduction to Judaism. (3-0) Cr. 3.An introduction to basic Judaism. Special attention is given to Jewish sacred texts, rituals, social practices, and modern forms.

Relig 334. African American Religious Experience. (Cross-listed with Af Am). (3-0) Cr. 3. F.Prereq: Prior course work in Religious Studies or African American Studies required. Examination of the African American experience from the perspective of black religion and the black church, with attention to political, economic, and social, as well as spiritual, concerns. Nonmajor graduate credit.

Relig 336. Women and Religion. (Cross-listed with W S). (3-0) Cr. 3. F.Prereq: 105, 210 or W S 201 recommended. Examines the status of women in various religions, feminist critiques of religious structures and belief systems, and contemporary women's spirituality movements. Nonmajor graduate credit.

Relig 339. Goddess Religions. (Cross-listed with W S). (3-0) Cr. 3.Prereq: Relig 205 recommended. Exploration of the foundational myths of Goddess spirituality, including historical and cross-cultural female images of the divine and their modern usage by American women. Nonmajor graduate credit.

Relig 340. Magic, Witchcraft, and Religion. (Cross-listed with Anthr). (3-0) Cr. 3. S.Prereq: Anthr 201 or 306. Origin and development of indigenous magico-religious systems; myth and ritual; therapeutic aspects; symbols and meanings; religion and sociocultural change, including acculturation, nativistic, and revitalization movements.

Relig 342. Religion and U.S. Latino/a Literature. (3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered 2010.A study of the religious behavior and attitudes expressed in the literature of Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans and other groups of people living in the U.S. who trace their ancestry to the Spanish-speaking countries of Latin America. Nonmajor graduate credit.

Relig 348. Psychology of Religion. (Cross-listed with Psych). (3-0) Cr. 3.Prereq: Nine credits in psychology. Survey of psychological theory and research investigating religious and spiritual attitudes, beliefs and practices.

Relig 350. Philosophy of Religion. (Cross-listed with Phil). (3-0) Cr. 3. F.Prereq: Phil 201. The value and truth of religious life and belief. Mystical experience; religious faith and language; arguments for God's existence; the problem of evil; miracles; and religion and morality. Historical and contemporary readings. Nonmajor graduate credit.

Relig 352. Religious Traditions of India. (3-0) Cr. 3.Prereq: Prior course work in Asian, Asian-American or Religious Studies or Anthropology required. Examines the religious traditions of India, including Hinduism, Jainism, and Skihism, through text, ritual, and contemporary practice. Nonmajor graduate credit.

Relig 353. Buddhism. (3-0) Cr. 3. S.The various Buddhist paths to realize enlightenment and freedom. Special attention to meditation and yoga and their relationship to altered states of consciousness and to social contexts. Nonmajor graduate credit.

Relig 356. African Religions. (3-0) Cr. 3.Prereq: Prior course work in African, African-American or Religious Studies or Anthropology required. An introduction to the teachings, practices, and history of the religions that originated in Africa and other religions which have gained substantial followings among African peoples. Nonmajor graduate credit.

Relig 358. Introduction to Islam. (3-0) Cr. 3.An introduction to Islamic religion, culture, and society from 700 to the present. Nonmajor graduate credit.

Relig 360. Religious Ethics. (3-0) Cr. 3.Investigates different religious ethical theories and traditions of reasoning about practical moral issues (e.g., abortion, the just distribution of wealth, environmental ethics). Explores in detail the relationship between religious beliefs and moral practice.

Relig 367. Christianity in the Roman Empire. (Cross-listed with Cl St). (3-0) Cr. 3.An historical introduction to the rise of Christianity in the Roman empire, with special attention to the impact of Greco-Roman culture on the thought and practice of Christians and the interaction of early Christians with their contemporaries. Nonmajor graduate credit.

Relig 370. Religion and Politics. (Cross-listed with Pol S). (3-0) Cr. 3.Prereq: Relig 105 or 210 recommended. The interaction of religion and politics in the U.S. from both an historical and contemporary perspective, as well as the role of religion in politics internationally. Nonmajor graduate credit.

Relig 376. Classical Archaeology. (Cross-listed with Cl St, Hist). (3-0) Cr. 3. Repeatable. S.Chronological survey of the material culture of the ancient Greece-Roman world and the role of archaeological context in understanding the varied aspects of ancient Greek or Roman culture. Among other topics, economy, architecture, arts and crafts, trade and exchange, religion and burial customs will be explored.
A. Bronze Age (Minoan and Mycenaean palatial cultures) and Early Iron Age Greece. (ca 3000-700 BC).
B. Archaic through Hellenistic Greece (ca 700-30 BC).

Relig 377. Social Dimensions of Religion. (Cross-listed with Soc). (3-0) Cr. 3.Prereq: Prior course work in Religious Studies or Sociology required. The influence of religion in society, both as a conservator of values and as a force for social change. Nonmajor graduate credit.

Relig 380. Catholic Social Thought. (3-0) Cr. 3. S.Examines biblical roots of and major developments in Catholic social thought. Contemporary issues such as human rights, economic justice, the environment, and war and peace will be treated using principles of Catholic ethics, social analysis, official church documents, and contributions of notable theologians and activists. Nonmajor graduate credit.

Relig 384. Religion and Ecology. (Cross-listed with Env S). (3-0) Cr. 3.Introduction to concepts of religion and ecology as they appear in different religious traditions, from both a historical and contemporary perspective. Special attention to religious response to contemporary environmental issues. Nonmajor graduate credit.

Relig 385. Theory and Method in Religious Studies. (3-0) Cr. 3.Prereq: 6 credits in Religious Studies or permission of instructor. Examines the variety of theories and methods employed in the study of religion. Application of these methods to various religions of the world. Nonmajor graduate credit.

Relig 475. Seminar: Issues in the Study of Religion. (3-0) Cr. 3.Prereq: 6 credits in religious studies. Topic changes each time offered. Closed to freshmen. Sophomores must have approval of instructor. Nonmajor graduate credit.

Relig 490. Independent Study. Cr. 1-3. Repeatable.Prereq: 6 credits in religious studies, and permission of instructor, approval of professor in charge of program. Guided reading and research on special topics selected to meet the needs of advanced students. No more than 9 credits of Relig 490 may be counted toward graduation.
H. Honors

Relig 491. Senior Thesis. Cr. 3.Written under the supervision of a Religious Studies faculty advisor.

Relig 494. Special Studies in Religious Research Languages. Cr. 2-3. Repeatable.Prereq: 6 credits in Religious Studies and permission of instructor.

Relig 499. Peace and Justice Internship. Cr. arr. Repeatable.Prereq: 3 credits in religious studies, permission of faculty internship coordinator. Supervised placement with a peace and justice agency; structured reflection on the relation of religion and practical social issues. Satisfactory-fail only.

Courses primarily for graduate students, open to qualified undergraduate students

Relig 590. Special Topics in Religious Studies. Cr. 1-3. Repeatable.Prereq: Permission of instructor, 9 credits in religious studies.