2011-2012 Graduate Courses

Note: This is an archive. View current courses.

Please check for updates with the Centre. Please be aware that course registration in RLG courses will begin August 15. For permission to enrol in an RLG course (for non RLG students), please bring a completed Course Add/Drop Form to the Graduate Administrator.

To enroll in a Directed Reading Course, students must have a Reading Course Form completed and signed by the instructor.

RLG1000Y      Method & Theory PhD group      Bryant/Mittermaier

Fall & Spring      Tues 3-6pm     JHB317

The seminar is the core course of the Centre’s doctoral program. It is required of, and limited to, all first year Ph.D. students of the Centre. The purpose of the course is to provide doctoral students with a general understanding of the study of religion through constructive engagement with a number of fundamental challenges--theoretical and methodological--that commonly confront researchers in the field. Among the foundational themes to be explored: the ontological specificity of religious phenomena; the peculiarities of religious language, discourse, and worldviews; the varieties of religious institutionalization; the historical transformation and social “embeddedness” of religions; the embodiment of religion; and the constitution of religious selves or actors. To facilitate our seminar engagements with problems of theory, concept-formation, methods, data, and explanation, a number of major interpretive controversies in the study of religion will also be featured.


RLG1200H      Method & Theory MA group      Kevin O'Neill

Fall      Tues 10-12      JHB317

The M.A. Workshop Group is required of all first year M.A students of the Centre. M.A. students will meet every week during the first term in a seminar course designed to provide rigorous training in method and theory in the study of religion. Topics considered include: historical development of religious studies, significance and application of interdisciplinary methodologies, key theorists and theoretical controversies.

RLG 1501H Directed Reading/Staff

RLG 1502H Directed Reading/ Staff

Independent Study Courses – Undertaken in Any Term with Approval

With the approval of the Associate Director, and, in the case of a doctoral student, with the approval of the student’s Advisory Committee as well, a student may construct an independent study course of Directed Reading with a professor who agrees to supervise the work. The form for this purpose is available at the Centre. Normally no more than one full year or two half year courses of this type are permitted in a degree program. These courses may be undertaken during any term, including the summer.

RLG 2000Y Major MA Research Paper/Staff

Prepared Under Direction of a Professor

Major research paper (at least 50 pages) on a topic relevant to the study of religion, prepared under the direction of a professor. By January 30 of the year in which they intend to write the paper, students should identify their topic and secure the approval of the professor who will direct their work on the paper.

RLG2025H/TRT5948H      Critical Theory, Psychoanalysis & Religion      Marsha Hewitt

Spring      Thurs 2-4       location LA212

Psychoanalysis, critical social theory, and religion share in common what might be described as an “emancipatory interest.” What each of these fields means by this is widely diverse and often contradictory. There are both strong resonances between all three fields as well as sharp, at times insurmountable, divergencies. For all of this, the emancipatory interest of critical theory, psychoanalysis and religion are able to mount important critiques of particular social, cultural lifeforms that implicitly and explicitly point toward the possibility of transformed futurity for individuals and societies. At the same time, both critical social theory and psychoanalysis have a long-standing, deeply ambivalent relationship to religion that has often been mistaken for dismissive antagonism. While there is some truth to this view, it is based on partial, simplistic and distorting interpretations.

RLG2060H/RLG420H1F      Religion & Philosophy in the Enlightenment      James DiCenso

Fall      Mon 3-5      JHB317

This is an advanced study of selected Enlightenment thinkers with a focus on their analyses of religion. The course is mainly devoted to the work of Spinoza, Hume, and Kant, although this may vary from year to year. Issues include the rational critique of traditional religion, and the relations among religion, ethics and politics.

RLG2062H/RLG425H1S      Hermeneutics and Religion        James DiCenso

Spring      Mon 3-5       JHB317

A study of the way textual interpretation and theories of language have been central to the development of modern philosophy and theory of religion. We begin with the foundational work of Schleiermacher, examine some of the contributions of Dilthey, and then move to a more detailed inquiry into the hermeneutical aspects of Heidegger’s Being and Time. Twentieth century hermeneutical theory advances from the study of textual meaning per se to questions of the role of language in consciousness and the presentation of reality. The work of Gadamer and Ricoeur, will be studied with reference to these issues.

RLG3190/RLG448      Pseudepigraphy in Ancient Mediterranean Religion      John Marshall

Spring      Tues 1-3      UC257

A seminar examining the phenomenon of falsely claimed and/or attributed authorship in religions of the ancient Mediterranean, mainly Christianity and Judaism. The course examines understandings of authorship and other cultural forms that facilitate or inhibit ancient pseudepigraphy, ancient controversies over authorship, as well as specific pseudepigraphical writings.

RLG3228H/RLG454H1F      Jesus Movement      John Kloppenborg

Fall      Wed 9-12      LA341

Focus on the social setting of the early Jesus movement in Roman Palestine and in the cities of the Eastern Empire.Topics will include: rank and legal status; age and population structure; patronalia and clientalia; family structure; marriage and divorce; forms of association outside the family; slavery and manumission; loyalty to the empire and forms of resistance; legal and social issues concerning women; taxation; the structure of the economy, and how these issues are variously reflected in documents of the early Jesus movement. Open to qualified graduate students and advanced undergraduate students. Graduate students will be expected to read primary texts in the original languages; knowledge of Greek is essential; knowledge of a modern reserach language (French, German, or Italian) is necessay.

RLG3232H/SMC422H1      Sacred Space in the Christian Tradition       Jennifer Harris

Spring       Fri 10-1      JHB317

An examination of the development of sacred space in the early Church, reflection upon its place in the imaginative landscape of the European Middle Ages, and discussions of its implications for the understanding of space and place in contemporary culture. Our examination will include the perspectives of cultural anthropology, architectural theory, humanistic geography, and the history of culture and ideas.

RLG3237H/EMH5372H      Religion and Public Life in Canada      Mark Toulouse & Phyllis Airhart

Spring      Tues 4-6pm      105 Emmanuel

Seminar exploring patterns of involvement of religion in the public sphere. Traditional assumptions about church and state, impact of 19th-century "disestablishment" and 20th-century pluralism, Catholicism and the state in Quebec, women as religious reformers, the social gospel, Christian populism in the prairies, ecumenical and evangelical approaches to public engagement, implications of constitutional change are among the topics considered. Basic degree students may enrol with permission of instructor. Informed participation, mid-term written assignment, research paper.

RLG3242/RLG412 Christian Asceticism in Late Antiquity         Kyle Smith

Spring       Thurs 10-12      JHB317

Through studies of fasting, sexual renunciation, and other bodily disciplines, this course considers the ways by which ascetic elites and their promoters constructed a Christian ascetic ideal in late antiquity. In surveying the development of Christian asceticism from its Greco-Roman philosophical roots through to the rise of a flourishing monastic movement, our sources will include hagiographies, church histories, letters, sermons, rules, and practical treatises that address various modes and methods of ascetic renunciation. Thematic explorations include ascetic interpretations of the bible, solitary and communal forms of asceticism, asceticism as the basis for conversion and contemplation, asceticism and gender, and the importance of asceticism as a marker of class, status, and authority in the late ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern worlds.

RLG3250H/RLG455      Heresy in Early Christianity      John Marshall

Fall      Tues 1-3      UC257

A study of the construction of deviance or heresy within the literature of first and second century Christianity: tasks include a survey of sociological theory in its application to deviance in the ancient world and close readings of selected texts from first and second century Christian and pre-Christian communities. Prerequisite: RLG 241Y1 and at least one of RLG 319H1-327H1

Cancelled RLG3275H        Varieties of North American Christianity      Phyllis Airhart

Spring      Wed 9-11      Emmanuel 205

Topics for the seminar will vary from year to year but will focus on issues related to approaches to spiritual formation and the relationships between individual experience, social transformation, and institutional identity in North American contexts. Seminar format involving student leadership; discussion of assigned readings, presentation of research.

RLG3280H/SMC456H1F      Christianities of South Asia      Reid Locklin

Fall      Tues 6-9pm      location Teefy Hall Room 103

This seminar explores the claim of diverse Christian traditions in South Asia to be religious traditions of South Asia, with special attention to these traditions' indigenisation and social interactions with majority Hindu traditions. Our study will begin with an overview of the historical development of Christianity in India from the first century CE to the present and then move to close readings of selected primary sources, comprehending both significant theological writings and contemporary ethnographic approaches to distinctive social and ritual practices. Representative topics of discussion include the legacy of Thomas Christianity, Hindu-Christian dialogues, the Christian ashram movement, Dalit theology, conversion controversies, liturgical inculturation and religious hybridity.

RLG3290H/RLG441H1S      Words & Worship      Simon Coleman

Spring      Thurs 10-12       JHB214

How are we to analyze the words that Christians use? How might oral forms compare with written ones? And how should we try to understand the relationships between religious language and ritual action without seeing one as merely derived from the other? This course provides the opportunity both to explore theories of language use and to apply them to forms of verbal discourse ranging from prayers, speaking in tongues, and citing biblical verses to more informal narratives. Protestant and Catholic attitudes to religious language are examined in ways that sometimes reinforce, something challenge, theological distinctions between the two, and there will be the opportunity for students to bring their own texts for analysis. Some techniques for the analysis of ritual texts are explored, and the advantages and disadvantages of close textual analysis are discussed.

RLG3458H/ RLG464H      Rhetoric & Discipline (Historiog Buddhism)      Frances Garrett

Spring      Wed 12-2      JHB319

This course will involve a close reading of several of the most methodologically innovative works in Buddhist Studies. We will examine the history of the field and its relationship to modes of Buddhist and non-Buddhist rhetoric and interpretation, and we will question how we might identify the boundaries of our discipline. Readings will include major works in Buddhist Studies and relevant theorists in hermeneutics, philosophy, and literary theory.

RLG3460H/RLG474H1S      Sanskrit Readings 1 (Kuvalayananda)      Ajay Rao

Spring      Tues&Thurs 12-1:30       JHB214

This course will have students read choice pieces of South Asian literature. While tackling a text in Sanskrit from a major literary tradition , Buddhist or Hindu, and discussing it’s content and context, students will learn strategies for translating and interpreting Sanskrit literature.

RLG3501H/LAW321H      Religion & the Liberal State: The Case of Islam      Mohammad Fadel

Fall      Tues 10:30-12:20      Faculty of  Law, Falconer Hall, 84 Queen's Park Crescent, main floor

This seminar will address, as a theoretical matter, the relationship of religion to a liberal state, with particular attention to the writings of John Rawls as set forth in Political Liberalism and leading “religion” cases law from Canada, the United States and the European Court of Human Rights that address the relationship of religion and a liberal constitutional order. The course will also provide an introduction into classical and modern Islamic thought on the Students are required to write 750 word weekly papers based on assigned readings for a total of 7,500 words representing 90% of the final grade. Papers are to be submitted in advance of the class meeting in an electronic format. The remaining 10% will be awarded based on class participation. In addition the instructor will designate two or more students (depending on the enrollment) each week who will be responsible for leading class discussion on that week’s readings. Students who wish to write a SUYRP will be required to submit the first three papers (ungraded) and a 7,500 to 8,750 word paper due on the final day for written work in the relevant term.

Evaluation: Students are required to write 750 word (3 page) weekly papers based on assigned readings for a total of 7,500 words (10 papers) representing 90% of the final grade. Papers are to be submitted in advance of the class meeting in an electronic format. The remaining 10% will be awarded based on class participation. In addition the instructor will designate two or more students (depending on the enrollment) each week who will be responsible for leading class discussion on that week’s readings. Students who wish to write a SUYRP will be required to submit the first three papers (ungraded) and a 7,500 to 8,750 word (30-35 pages) paper due on the final day for written work in the relevant term.

RLG3505H      Topics in Islamic Literature       Walid Saleh

Fall      Mon 2-4pm      Bancroft 220

This course is tailored to suit the needs of graduate students working on Islamic religious thought. The aim of the course is two fold: to allow students to acquire the skills necessary to use primary material in Arabic and to familiarize them with the research tools in the field. This is a reading course in primary sources as well as exemplary secondary scholarship in the field. Topics may include: apocalyptic, theological, and polemical literatures. Students will be required to master the vocabulary needed to become independent readers of these specialized texts. Since most of the Islamic sources are still in manuscript form, students will be introduced to reading from manuscripts. Pre-requisite: Two years of Arabic Study.

RLG3590H/ RLG416H      Islam & Sexuality      Karen Ruffle

Spring      Wed 2-4      JHB212

This course focuses on the diverse attitudes and expressions of sexuality in Islam. This course focuses on the construction of fe/male sexuality in the Qur’an and hadith, the variety of legal opinions on contraception, abortion, homosexuality, rape, marriage, and divorce. We will also examine the history of homosexuality, transgender identity, and eunuchism in Islamic aesthetics, politics, and literature. Other topics of focus include the burgeoning movements of Muslim feminist sexual ethics and gay liberation.

cancelled RLG3610H/EMB5347H      Wisdom in Second Temple Judaism      Judith Newman 

Spring       Tues 1-3pm      JHB317

In different years, this seminar treats either books (Job, Ben Sira/Sirach, Ecclesiastes, Wisdom of Solomon) or thematic aspects (creation, prayer, eschatology) of the wisdom tradition as it evolved in the period 333 BCE - 70 CE with an eye to the relationship of these books to the broader swath of sapiential traditions of the era, including the instruction literature from Qumran. In 2012, the focus will be on the book of Daniel and related prophetic and wisdom materials from the Dead Sea Scrolls and their significance for our understanding of the formation of the Bible. Seminar participation, seminar presentations, major paper. Requires working knowledge of Hebrew, Aramaic

RLG3621H/RLG445H      Modern Jewish Thought        Ken Green

Spring      Tues 2-4        UC326

Close study of major themes, texts, and thinkers in modern Jewish thought. Focus put on the historical development of modern Judaism, with special emphasis on the Jewish religious and philosophical responses to the challenges of modernity. Among modern Jewish thinkers to be considered: Spinoza, Cohen, Rosenzweig, and Buber. Special topic for 2011-12: "The Crisis of Modernity in 20th-21st Century Jewish Thought: a focus on significant thinkers of the era from post-1945 to the present, which will encompass such leading figures as Scholem, Strauss, and Fackenheim, among others."

RLG3634H/EMB5401H      Ritual and Scripture at Qumran       Judith Newman

Fall       Wed 11-1       JHB214

This graduate seminar will examine selected psalms, prayers, and hymns and other less overtly "liturgical" texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls. We will consider the performative role of such texts in the Qumran movement and their relation to the evolving growth of the Hebrew Bible in the two centuries before and after the common era. The relationship of these texts to later Jewish and Christian liturgical texts (e.g., the book of Psalms) and the New Testament will also be considered. Seminar participation, seminar presentations, major paper. Requires working knowledge of Hebrew.


RLG3645H                 The Jewish Legal Tradition                           Harry Fox      

Fall                  Tues 2-4pm                         BF313

This graduate course is designed to deepen the student’s abilities to deal with Jewish legal texts, most particularly the Babylonian Talmud. The significance of philology and relocation criticism in outlining the history of halakha as well as historicist division between Tannaim and Amoraim, Amoraim and Stammaim will be explored. Regnant positions of Rosenthal, HaLivni, Friedman, and others serve as a background to a critique of contemporary scholarship. Judicious use will be made of codes such as Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah and the Rabbi Joseph Caro’s Shulhan Arukh and their super commentaries. The topics explored vary from year to year and student to student and are subject to negotiations dependent on mutual interest. Ability in source languages is a prerequisite.


RLG3647H                 Jewish Traditions in Antiquity                                   Harry Fox      

Spring              Tues 2-4pm                         BF313

There is a division of scholarly opinion on whether Jewish Traditions in Antiquity and conflicts surrounding them are mainly a product of legalistic arguments (Yaakov Sussmann) or the by-product of ideological warfare (Josephus). Hence this course will look at a variety of parallel literatures along its horizontal axis from the Dead Sea Scrolls, Midrashic Halakha, Apocrypha and Pseudoepigrapha, Philo and Josephus. Along its vertical access, the ability to use later sources for earlier time frames will be critiqued using scholars such as Neusner and Urbach. This course will acquaint the graduate student with both these possibilities. Themes explored will vary from year to year and student to student. Ability in source languages is a prerequisite.


RLG3655H/RLG431H      Readings in Jewish Literature (Old Yiddish literature and the History of Ashkenazi Society)       Jean Baumgarten

Fall        Mon 2-4      JHB214

Old Yiddish literature (OYL), from the Middle Ages to the Haskalah, was for a long time considered a minor component of the Jewish culture. The earliest period of OYL was either unknown or neglected by scholars. In this course, we would like to show that, contrary to many a priori and stereotypes, the major works of OYL, integrated into the complex totality of the Jewish tradition, are important for understanding the history of the Ashkenazi society. They also constitute an essential aspect of the European culture. On the one hand, OYL served as a tool to disseminate the major Hebrew rabbinical texts into the vernacular language for the less educated readers, either women, men, or children. We will study the main genres which help to transmit the fundamental messages, values, and canonical texts into Yiddish, this may include Bible translations and commentaries in prose and verse, homiletical compositions (like the Tsenerene [1622]), mystical and ethical literature (Musr), tales and legends (like the Mayse bukh [1602]), books of customs (Minhagim), and bilingual books of prayers. We will also study original works printed in order to foster the faith and knowledge of the lay audience. One the other hand, OYL resounds with issues central to Jewish society. The texts mirror the transformation of the Jewish culture during the Early Modern period. The works of Elijah Bahur Levita, a lexicographer, grammarian, and poet, are representative examples of the Jewish humanism in the Italian Renaissance. We will study epic romances or adaptations of the European literature which show a secularization of the Jewish culture. We will also raise questions related to the cultural history of the Ashkenazi society: who were the authors, adaptors, translators, and editors? How and where were books printed, diffused, and read by the Jewish masses? Old Yiddish texts will be analyzed in a large context showing the dynamic relations with the Hebrew literature and the non-Jewish surrounding cultures. Jewish ?popular? literature is a good testimony of the transmission of the religious tradition and the tensions in the Jewish society. All reading materials are in English translation.

RLG3750H/RLG471H      Topics in South Asian Religion (Dharma, Artha, Kama)

Spring      Wed 12-2      JHB214

Description TBA

RLG3931H/RLG442H        North American Religions      O'Neill/Klassen

Spring      Wed 2-5      JHB317

The course considers the varieties of religious practices in North America from anthropological and historical perspectives. Of particular interest are the ways religions have mutually influenced each other in the context of North America from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century. Each year it is offered, the course will focus on a specific theme, for example, millenialism, religion and consumerism or gender and the body, as found across a range of religious traditions including Christianity, Judaism, Afro-Caribbean religions, and new religious movements. In addition to analysis of primary and secondary texts, students will be required to submit a research paper (20-25pp.) concerning the theme under study.


JAR6510H      From Theory to Ethnography: Anthropological Approaches to Religion     Girish Daswani

Fall     Thurs     1-3pm     Location AP124

This course introduces graduate students to a range of anthropological approaches to religion through both theoretical and ethnographic texts. By reading select ethnographies alongside key theoretical texts that inform them, we will consider how theoretical paradigms shape anthropologists’ research questions, how theory might be undone during fieldwork, and how theory and fieldnotes are crafted into ethnographic texts. The goal of the course is a) to introduce students to theoretical frameworks that have effectively been employed by anthropologists in the study of religion, b) to dwell on different strategies for integrating ethnography and theory, and c) to explore possible tensions between them. The course will be run as a seminar with evaluation based on participation, one oral presentation, reading responses, and a final paper.  


JPR2057H/JPR457HF      Democracy and the Secular      Ruth Marshall

Fall      Thurs 10-1      JHB214

The dramatic resurgence of religion in the public sphere and in political discourse and practice around the globe demands a critical reappraisal of the relationship between the religious and the political. The urgency of this interrogation is underscored by the growing crisis in democratic politics and the inability of liberalism to respond to the challenge of the religious. This seminar in theory will explore contemporary dilemmas of democracy, sovereignty, community, justice and violence with a view to a critical theoretical reappraisal of the relationship between democracy and the secular; an inquiry into the theologico-political. Engaging with the question of the theologico-political entails rethinking the secular 'all the way down': beyond current denunciations of the ideological or coercive aspects of the secularization narrative, it requires a critical engagement with the onto-theological roots of contemporary 'secular' political forms and concepts If there is a nexus that binds the theological to the political, what forms does it take, and is there, or should there be, a way to /sever/ it?How can the exploration of this relationship enable us not only to undertake a critique of religion, but also appreciate the ways in which the religious or theological can contribute to a critique of the politics of our time? Readings will be drawn from Schmitt, Benjamin, Agamben, Derrida, Nancy, Zizek, Badiou.



The following courses may be taken as a Directed Reading Course (RLG1501/1502H)

RLG406H1S Constructing Religion Simon Coleman

Spring      Tues 10-12      JHB214

How have different researchers constructed ‘religion’ as their object of study, and are some frameworks simply incompatible with each other? We discuss – but also provide critical assessments of -- different theoretical and methodological frameworks.


USA401H1S/RLG440H1 Topics in American Studies II: Science, Medicine, Religion in America      Ronald Numbers

Spring      Orientation Session: Tuesday Jan. 10, 4-6:30 pm (with Prof. Pamela Klassen). Thereafter, classes will meet on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 4-6:30pm, for three weeks: Jan. 31-Feb 2, 2012; Feb. 28-March 2, 2012; and Tues. March 7-March 9, 2012.          location JHB317/318

This is an intensive sprint course taught by eminent historian of science and religion, Prof. Ronald Numbers of the University of Wisconsin. Prof. Numbers is our F. Ross Johnson-Connaught Distinguished Visitor in American Studies for 2011-12. This 3-week seminar explores the history of science, medicine, and religion in American life. Throughout the seminar, students focus on close readings of primary sources and analyses of historical interpretations. In addition to participation, the major requirement of the course is a 20 page research paper, based on primary sources, and due at the end of the term. Seminar topics include: delineating the boundaries between “science” and “religion”; God in colonial America; naturalizing Nature; creationism; evolution and anti-evolutionism; science and intelligent design; miracles and healing; psychology and sex; science and secularization. In addition to a range of primary sources, such as work by Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, or Asa Gray, students will read secondary literature by Prof. Numbers, Charles Rosenberg, Mark Noll, Robert Orsi, and others.



The following courses from different Departments may also be of interest to RLG students      



 JEH2020HF   Early Modern Diaspora: A Cross-Disciplinary Seminar on the Literature and History of Exile   M. Rubright (English) AND N. Terpstra (History),  Fall      Thursday 3- 6 pm       JHB718
The early modern period was fundamentally shaped by waves of human migration unprecedented in western European history. From the expulsion of the Jews from Spain (1492) to the flight of the Huguenots from France (culminating in the late 1680s), European Christian culture sought to protect its changing notions of religious purity by expelling and/or enclosing the Other, thereby triggering an ongoing diasporic discourse. In addition to migrations catalyzed by religion, the movement of people from rural to urban centers transformed many of Europe’s cities into crowded and diversely constituted metropolises. This seminar will explore exile, refugeeism, and diaspora across literary and historical texts and contexts. We will familiarize ourselves with a range of current theories and approaches to the study of diaspora with the aim of developing methodologies for investigating the diasporic discourses engendered by real and imagined experiences of early modern exile. As a cross-disciplinary seminar, we will draw upon texts, methods, and critical theories that inform both historical and literary critical approaches to this topic. We welcome students in English, History, Comparative Literature, and Religion.



 ENV1008H     Worldviews and Ecology       Stephen Scharper                 

 Spring             Day & Time TBA       ES1041

This course undertakes a historical and interdisciplinary examination of diverse ecological worldviews as a means for instigating and enhancing class discussion. Our focus will be the current environmental situation/crisis and the several religious/spiritual as well as contemporary cultural worldviews that have given rise to the environmental situation today and the way in which we understand the way things are. We will assess the cosmological dimensions of human-nonhuman natural dynamics in various historical traditions/paradigms: (a) the spiritual worldviews of First Nations, Judaism, Islam, Western Christianity, Orthodox Easter Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism; (b) contemporary dominant secular worldviews: globalization, postglobalization, modernity/enlightenment/modern science, capitalism/consumerism; and (c) emerging worldviews with new possibilities: ecofeminism, deep ecology, Whiteheadian process philosophy, Bateson’s systems theory, Thomas Berry’s ecozoism. We will delve into these worldviews with the hope of understanding them and their context for environmental concerns today. We will try to see how each one of them affects human consciousness and knowing awareness, as well as how each separately or some of them jointly inform our decision-making and activity in terms of the natural (human and nonhuman) systems.  http://www.environment.utoronto.ca/Graduate/CourseSchedules/Winter%20Spring%20%202012.aspx



 HIS1201HF    Materials of Medieval History                       Joe Goering

 Fall     Thurs 2-4pm   Location TBA

Required course for MA students of the medieval area in the Department of History but open to others. The course is concerned with the discovery and critical use of the materials of medieval history.  It includes exercises in the use of published source collections and bibliographical aids. 


 HIS1709F       Conversions and Christianities          Kenneth Mills

Fall      Tues 1-3pm Location TBA

The seminar investigates religious conversion and the ways in which human allegiances and identities emerge and change in colonial settings. Our readings and discussions will concentrate on the Spanish world between about the fifteenth and the eighteenth centuries. Principal settings will include the late medieval Spanish kingdoms, Mexico, Peru, Paraguay, and the Philippines archipelago. A few of our meetings will range even more broadly in the hope of awakening the student to the wider historical frames in which our theme and period rest, and in search of interdisciplinary thinking tools for students of religious and cultural change. Primary sources translated into English will inform discussions and secondary readings whenever possible, and visual images will also be considered.


History & Philosophy of Science & Technology

HPS1022H      Religion and Science on Human Sexuality    Yiftach Fehige

Spring Tues 10-12      Location NF231
This seminar deals with human sexuality as an outstanding intersection point of religion (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) and science. We focus on the diverse scientific, philosophical and theological approaches to human sexuality in general, and contested issues of human sexuality in particular. In a first part of the course, students we will study different ways to relate in general the sometimes conflicting claims of science, philosophy, and religion, such as scientism, atheism, etc., with a special focus on the compatibilistic framework of Jürgen Habermas and Hilary Putnam. The second half of the course will adopt an inclusive approach to human sexuality to explore topics like the ontology of the sexed human body and transsexuality, the metaphysics of human sexuality against the background of modern evolution theory, and issues related to a science of orgasm.


Italian Studies

 ITA 1545H     The Sacra Rappresentazione             Konrad Eisenbichler 
Fall      Tuesdays 4-6pm         Location Victoria-EM205

The course will examine Italian religious theatre, and especially the Sacra Rappresentazione, during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. This is a subject and a period of fundamental importance in Italian literary and political culture. The religious theatre of this period not only helped to establish theatre as a venue for entertainment and education (the classical delectare et docere maxim), but also helped to set the ground for the development of the thoroughly secular theatre of the following centuries not only in Italy, but throughout Europe.


Medieval Studies

MST3262S                  Monastic Identities                 Isabelle Cochelin

Spring             Wed 10-12      Location UC F204

The goal of this course is to explore the various modes through which medieval monks and monastic houses defined and developed their sense of self. We will ask how they conceived their identity within the social hierarchy; with or against other social communities; in space; and with respect to other monks and monastic houses. Issues to be discussed include oblation, control of relics, hagiographical writing, and the production and transmission of rules and customaries, either in general or with reference to one specific community.


Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations

NMC1111y                               Eastern Aramaic - Babylonian Talmud                   Tirzah Meacham

Full year                                 Tues 11am-2pm                                                                          BF316

This course introduces the student to talmudic texts through selections from Tractate Niddah for representative study. An overview of Eastern Aramaic grammar and syntax will be presented to facilitate study of the talmudic text. Recognition of the dialogic structure of the legal discussions centered around the Mishnah and its elucidation is emphasized. The classical commentaries (Rashi, Tosafot, Rabbenu Hananel, Meiri), the use of dictionaries, concordances, biographies of the sages, parallels and other sources will gradually become familiar to the student as aids to understanding the texts under consideration. Students will also be taught the use of the Bar Ilan Responsa Project database.  Our seminar meets for 3 hours/week, 2 hours with the undergraduates and 1 hour separately.  Students are expected to be able to read scholarship in Modern Hebrew.


NMC1313HF                                    Mishnah and Tosefta                        Tirzah Meacham

Spring                                                  Mon 2-5pm                                              BF316

Mishnah and Tosefta constitute two of the three foundational documents of Middle Hebrew.  The purpose of this course is to introduce students to specific features of this level of Hebrew (syntax, grammar, vocabulary), to examine these compositions independently, and to analyze their interaction (textuality and intratextuality).  Tractate Niddah will be the focus of our analysis.  We will also examine current scholarly positions concerning the redaction of these documents and their relationship to each other. Students will be trained to use the Bar Ilan Responsa Project database effectively to facilitate word searches and location of parallels to assist them in evaluating variant readings.  Students will learn to interpret and to create a critical apparatus. Our seminar meets for 3 hours/week, 2 hours with the undergraduates and 1 hour separately. Students are expected to be able to read scholarship in Modern Hebrew.


NMC2052HF        Islamic Religious Thought- Ibn al-‘Arabi (d. 1240)          Todd Lawson

Fall         Wed 6-9pm           Bancroft 200B

The focus here is Islamic mystical philosophy, its place in the greater Islamic intellectual tradition and the specific history of its development from the earliest times to the present. Special attention to the basic textual sources and their interpretation is of interest. Authors from a wide variety of backgrounds and orientations will be studied for their views on the nature of being, religious authority and law, revelation, community, love and knowledge, among other questions. The development of this discourse after the death of Ibn Rushd in the late 12th century is of particular importance to the work of the seminar.  Arabic is required.


NMC1306HF  Scribes, Manuscripts and Translations of the Hebrew Bible            Sarianna Metso

Fall                  Thurs 12-2pm             BF315

This course focuses on text-critical study of the Hebrew Bible, providing an introduction to the manuscript evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Septuagint, the Masoretic text and the Samaritan Pentateuch, as well as from other ancient sources. Issues pertaining to paleography, orthography and manuscript production are discussed, as well as processes of textual composition and development, and techniques used by ancient translators (Greek, Latin, etc.). Of particular interest is the state of the biblical text leading to the time of canonization in the first or second century CE. Elementary Hebrew is a prerequisite and elementary Greek recommended.


NMC2056HF              Readings in Qur'an and Tafsir                      Walid Saleh

Fall                  Wed 1-3pm                 BF315

This course is an introduction to the rich literature that has grown around the study of the Qur'an in the Arabic tradition. In addition to readings in the Qur'an students will read selections from works in ma'ani, and majaz; we will then move to the major works in tafsir; selections include material from al-Tabari, al-Tha`labi, al-Zamakhshari, al-Qurtubi, al-Razi, Ibn Taymiyah and al-Suyuti. The course will culminate in the study of al-Itqan of al-Suyuti. The course will also introduce students to the major reference works that are used for research in this field.
Prerequisite: At least two years of Arabic, or advanced reading knowledge, or the permission of the instructor.


NMC2081HS              Anthropology of the Middle East                   Amira Mittermaier

Spring             Mon 3-5pm                 BF215

This course examines current theoretical and methodological trends in the anthropological study of the Middle East. The readings will offer students ethnographic insight into the region, introduce them to current research, and acquaint them with the kinds of questions anthropologists ask (and the ones they fail to ask). Possible topics include (post)colonialism, nationalism, gender, violence, history/memory, the politics of archeology, mass mediations, neoliberalism, and questions of ethnographic authority. A central goal of the course is to enable students to think in new, creative, and critical ways about their own research projects.


NMC2227HS  Zoroastrian Cosmic History - From Genesis to Universal Judgment         Enrico Raffaelli

Spring             Thurs 3-5pm               Location TBA,  

The course surveys the history of the Zoroastrian religion from antiquity to the modern times, with a particular attention to the pre-Islamic Iranian history. The main focus of the course are the cosmological doctrines attested in the Zoroastrian texts in Avestan and Middle Persian. The position of these doctrines in the system of beliefs and practices of the Zoroastrian religion is highlighted, as well as the points in common of cosmological doctrines of Zoroastrianism and of other Iranian and Near Eastern religions.



PHL2063HF               Kant’s Ethics              David Novak

Fall                  Mon 12-3pm               JHB401

This seminar will deal with Kant’s ethical theory. We will be reading Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals and Critique of Practical Reason. In addition, we will be reading Religion Within the Boundaries of Mere Reason, to appreciate the religious dimension of Kant’s ethics and its strong influence on liberal Christianity and liberal Judaism in the 19th and 20th centuries.


JVP2147F                   Environmental Philosophy                 Ingrid Stefanovic

Fall                  Wed 3-5pm                 ES1042

This course explores how value judgments and philosophical assumptions affect environmental decision-making. Water ethics will provide a focus for discussion, as students are encouraged to: (a) recognize and articulate their views on the environment, as well as to seek reasons to justify those views; (b) become more aware of others’ value judgments, “mental models” and paradigms; (c) explore ways of modifying behaviour through increased awareness of water and other broader environmental issues; (d) help to critically analyze hidden assumptions behind water policies, programs and institutional (regulatory and judicial) procedures; and (e) see built and natural environments in a more integrated way. Assignments will be organized to allow students to apply their own, specific areas of research to this interdisciplinary field.



SOC6201HS   Sociological Theory III - Theory and Method in Historical Social Science Joe Bryant

Spring             Tue 4 – 6pm                Dept. of Sociology, 725 Spadina Ave, Rm 240

Can the major constraining dichotomies and polarities that have skewed the history of the social sciences over the past two centuries—voluntarism/determinism, agency/structure, nominalism/realism, micro/macro, objectivism/subjectivism, nomothetic/idiographic, maximizing rationality/cultural specificity—be resolved and transcended through use of a contextual-sequential logic of explanation, as offered in historical sociology?  In an effort to answer that question, we will examine the central ontological and epistemological issues and controversies raised by recent efforts to develop a fully historical social science, a fully sociological historiography.


Toronto School of Theology

(list of 5000 level TST courses taught by DSR cross appointed faculty)


SMT 5522HF              Lonergan and Sexual Morality                      Michael Vertin

Fall                  Fri 10-1                       CF 206 (95 St. Joseph Street), St. Michael’s College

Theological disagreements on particular moral issues often reflect underlying but unnoticed differences on the more general question of how a theologian properly makes any moral judgment at all. This course draws on the writings of Bernard Lonergan to explore both (i) that more general question and (ii) current theological disagreements on two particular issues of sexual morality, namely, contraceptive acts and homosexual acts. Previous familiarity with Lonergan's work is helpful but not required. Readings include selections from Lonergan’s writings and Vatican Documents. Weekly discussion preparation and participation, four one-page reflections, final paper, and take-home exam.


RGP5209HF         The Spiritual Theology of Evelyn Underhill      Michael Stoeber

Fall         Tues 11am -1pm         Location TBA                     

A critical exploration of the spiritual theology of Evelyn Underhill, as she develops these in her fictional and scholarly writings.  Her thought will be examined in light of contemporary issues in spirituality, such as the status of sexuality and the body, mysticism and social action, the subjectivization of mystical experience, and the effect of socio-political structures on spirituality.  Seminar discussion, lecture, short presentations, major essay.



RGT5729HS  Theology and Spirituality of Dorothee Soelle                           Michael Stoeber

Spring                    Mon 2-4pm            Location TBA

This course critically explores the theology and spirituality of Dorothee Soelle, with special attention on the themes of creation-liberation theology, suffering, theodicy, God, feminist concerns, and religious experience.  Seminar discussion, lecture, short presentations, major essay.


WYB5111HS              Book of Genesis                      Glen Taylor

Spring                         Tues 9-11am               Location TBA

Critical and exegetical study of Hebrew text of Genesis. In addition to historical-critical issues, attention will be paid to Ancient Near Eastern parallels as well as to the book's themes, structure and theological significance.



EMB5704HF              Paul: Methodological Problems                     Leif Vaage

Fall 2011                     Thurs  9-11am                        Location TBA

This course complements EMB5703 (Paul – Biographical Problems); though it may be taken independently. Pursued will be problems related to the manuscript tradition of the corpus paulinum; historical authenticity, literary unity, and chronology of the individual writings; scribal and other interpolations. The course will be taught as a seminar with informal lectures by the professor and student presentations focused on specific case studies. Participation, classroom presentation(s) and final term paper.


TRT5703HS               The Nature of Religious Thought                  Donald Wiebe

Spring             Mon 2-4pm                 Location  LA213

Examination of the nature of theology from it’s emergence with the ancient Greek philosophers to its establishment as an academic enterprise in the middle ages.  Seminar presentations (2) and a major paper.