DSR GRADUATE COURSES BEGIN MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2022
Please check back regularly for updates. Last updated on January 18, 2023.
Graduate Students from other Departments at UofT are welcome to enroll in DSR courses without completing a course add form. Non-DSR students should check with their home department to confirm if they require the form.
Note: If the courses listed below is in conflict with the Arts & Science timetable, the information on the timetable takes priority.
Please contact Director of Graduate Studies, J. Barton Scott at email@example.com, or the Graduate Administrator, Fereshteh Hashemi at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you may have about the Department for the Study of Religion.
DSR-Grad-Timetable-2022-2023.pdf Last updated January 17, 2023
DSR Courses - Year
RLG1000Y – Method and Theory in the Study of Religion
B. Scott (Fall) and A. Goodman (Winter)
Fridays 10 am-12:30 pm JHB318
The seminar is the core course of the Department’s doctoral program. It is required of, and limited to, all first year Ph.D. students of the Department. 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. It revisits major interpretive controversies that have shaped the history of "religious studies" as an interdisciplinary field, inviting students to join in this ongoing scholarly conversation.
DSR Courses - Fall
RLG3763H – Readings in Sanskrit Philosophy
Mondays and Thursdays 10 am - 12 pm JHB213
Advance reading of classical Sanskrit philosophical texts. Students will learn techniques and strategies for analyzing Sanskrit primary sources in hermeneutics, logic, metaphysics, aesthetics, or language philosophy. While the course will include a review of Sanskrit grammar, our focus will be on specific philosophical problems encountered in the readings.
RLG3610H / EMB5347HF – Wisdom in Second Temple Judaism
Mondays 1 pm - 3 pm 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
RLG3544H – Muslim Material Cultures
Tuesdays 11 am - 1 pm UTM MN4207
This course examines the role of things, practices, circulation, space, and embodiment have played a critical role in shaping material forms of religious culture to reveal the historically contingent nature of trans-local practices in Muslim history. As Muslims settled beyond the Arab core In Iberia, South Asia, China, Iran, and Sub-Saharan Africa, we will focus on issues of repurposing and reuse of objects and space and questions of ownership, gifting and alienability, and the many lives of an object. We will examine such topics as relics, re-use/appropriation of sacred spaces/objects, amulets, and tombs. Primary sources for this course will include the Islamic collection at the Royal Ontario Museum and the Aga Khan Museum.
RLG2081H / TRP6523HF – Trauma, Healing and Transformation: Psychodynamic Theoretical and Clinical Perspectives
Tuesdays 2 pm - 4 pm LA341
Study of key theoretical concepts in psychoanlaytic theory, i.e. the unconscious, repression, aggression, sexuality, dreams, unconscious fantasy, transference and projection and their implications for understanding religious experience and belief in the work of Sigmund Freud, D. W. Winnicott, R. D. Laing, and other analytic writers. Freud was consistent in asserting that theory must reflect and elaborate clinical observation. Thus, the course will also include extensive discussions of clinical case material in order to illustrate the ways in which these concepts illuminate and help explain not only internal psychic experience but also the ways in which culture, society and politics structure and shape the human mind. The course will also examine the historical trajectories of psychoanalytic concepts, including some of the main controversies and debates around issues such as repression, dissociation and trauma.
RLG3501HF / JPJ2029H / LAW321H1F – Religion and the Liberal State: The Case of Islam
Tuesdays 2 pm - 4 pm JLB225
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 State.
JPR2058H / JPR458H – Postsecular Political Thought: Religion, Radicalism, and the Limits of Liberalism R. Marshall Tuesdays 4 pm - 6 pm JHB318 This seminar in theory examines the postsecular as a series of questions opened by the so-called return of religion to public debate, the rise of politicised religious movements, and the limits of liberal democracy’s ability to respond to the challenge of religion and religious otherness. The course will examine the debates on religion’s public, political role as articulated by thinkers such as Habermas, Rawls, Brown, Zizek, et al by focusing on politically radical or revolutionary challenges to liberalism that are grounded upon or draw their inspiration from religious traditions, doctrines and practices. We will focus especially on challenges emerging from the colonial and post-colonial world in response to colonialism and the globalization of liberal democracy and capitalism, from thinkers such as Ghandi, Qutb, Ali Shariati, Gutierrez, recent contributions by postcolonial theorists to a ‘postsecular’ debate that is dominated by Western thought, as well as examining forms of globalized ‘fundamentalist’ thought.
RLG1005H – Jewish Studies Gateway Seminar
Wednesdays 10 am - 12 pm JHB318
This gateway seminar will introduce students to the field of Jewish studies, both as an interdisciplinary academic formation and as a subfield of religious studies. It aims to provide students with a schematic account of the field’s history and the major questions that have animated research in it, as well as showcasing more recent or cutting-edge work. Students will gain familiarity with key research tools and methods and, at the end of the semester, will be able to construct a syllabus to teach Jewish studies at the introductory level.
RLG2020H / RLG447H1F – Early Christianity, Ancient Judaism, Ancient “Magic”
Wednesdays 3 pm - 5 pm UC51
Primary readings in curse tablets, grimoires, objects of ritual power, and literary accounts of socially marginal acts of ritual power, as well as of culturally approved acts of miracle. These will be coupled with readings in secondary literature on the methodological problem of “magic” as a category that often spans folk and academic domains as well as historical and critical scholarly literature on “magical” materials and related primary sources.
RLG1200HF – MA Method and Theory
Fridays 10 am - 12 pm JHB317
The M.A. Workshop Group is required of all first year M.A students of the Department. 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.
DSR Courses - Winter
RLG3704H – Readings in Sanskrit Literature
Mondays and Thursdays 10 am - 12 pm JHB213
In this course, we explore the major genres of Sanskrit literature, including epic, courtly poetry, inscriptional poetry, drama, and devotional praise poetry. Students will become familiar with philological methods for interpreting Sanskrit literature and learn about Sanskrit literary criticism and Sanskrit literary theory, in conversation with relevant theoretical debates in modern literary studies. The objective is to use the reading of Sanskrit to enhance our understanding of the religious and cultural history of South Asia. While class sessions will be devoted to primary source readings, this is a content course culminating in a final research paper.
RLG2005H – Religion and Posthumanism F. Garrett Mondays 2 pm - 4 pm JHB317 This course examines religious, cultural, and philosophical perspectives on the human and other-than-human. Themes and religious traditions studied will vary by year but may include human-environment relationships; animal ethics; multispecies subjectivity and embodiment; legacies of scientific racism; ecological, legal, and ethical consequences of human exceptionalism and anthropocentrism; religious uses of intelligent technology; global and historical transhuman movements; or religious responses to climate crisis.
RLG1006H – South Asian Religions Gateway Seminar
Tuesdays 10 am - 12 pm
JHB318 Northrop Frye 205
This gateway seminar will introduce students to the field of South Asian Religions, both as an interdisciplinary academic formation and as a subfield of religious studies. It aims to provide students with a schematic account of the field’s history and the major questions that have animated research in it, as well as showcasing more recent or cutting-edge work. Students will gain familiarity with key research tools and methods and, at the end of the semester, will be able to construct a syllabus to teach South Asian religions at the introductory level.
RLG3252H – Letter of James and Early Christian Wisdom
Wednesdays 9 am - 12 pm JHB213
An examination of key issues for the understanding of the letter of James: authorship, date, historical setting, genre, manuscript tradition, and attestation. The course situates James in the context of Second Temple Jewish wisdom literature of the Judaean diaspora.
RLG3710H – Newar Religion
Wednesdays 2 pm - 4 pm JHB319
An academic legend recounts that if you ask a Newar whether he is Hindu or Buddhist the answer is yes. The course deals with the problem of how to study religions which coexist and compete with each other by replacing and replicating practices in a densely populated environment over a very long period of time such as the Kathmandu Valley, thus creating shifting coordinates of religious identification. The course will try to understand these historical processes from the perspective of one specific Nepalese community engaging in unique local forms of Buddhism and Hinduism while trans-regionally employing Indian, Burmese and Tibetan agents. The course will be conducted as a seminar grounded on Newar primary sources in translation, literary and art historical studies as well as recent anthropological research. The required preparatory reading is David Gellner, The Anthropology of Buddhism and Hinduism. Weberian Themes. Delhi: Oxford University Press 2001.
RLG3523HS – Islamic Origins: Sources, Debates, and Prospects
Wednesdays 2 pm - 4 pm JHB 213
The orientalist Ernest Renan famously said in the 19th c. that Islam, compared to Judaism and Christianity, “was born in full light of history”. After two centuries of scholarship, however, there are still many questions about the rise of Islam that remain unanswered not least because the authority and reliability of Muslim sources, as vast and detailed as they are, have been doubted in the last few decades. The revisionist wave that started in the 1970s questioned nearly everything that we thought we knew about the life of Muhammad, the Qur’an’s textual history, Islam’s relationship with other monotheistic religions of its time and the Muslim conquests. In the meantime, new discoveries such as ancient Qur’an manuscripts and inscriptions from the Arabian peninsula further reinvigorated the debate. In this course we will explore the field of Islamic origins and the hot debates that made it a lively field in the last few years. A large portion of the class will be devoted to what we know about the rise of Islam and from what kind of sources we generate that knowledge. Students will be introduced to the fields of epigraphy, numismatics and manuscript studies to get a sense of what is at stake when it comes to identifying and analyzing sources that inform the beginnings of Islam. We will also look at how the study of Islamic origins can benefit from the tools and methods of similar or adjacent fields such as biblical studies, early Christianity and New Testament studies.
RLG3622H / RLG433H – Maimonides
Wednesdays 2 pm - 4 pm UC177
An introduction to The Guide of the Perplexed by Moses Maimonides, and to some of the basic themes in Jewish philosophical theology and religion. Among topics to be considered through close textual study of the Guide: divine attributes; biblical interpretation; creation versus eternity; prophecy; providence, theodicy, and evil; wisdom and human perfection. Also to be examined are leading modern interpreters of Maimonides.
RLG2072H / RLG422H – Kant’s Theory of Religion
Wednesdays 4 pm - 6 pm JHB318
An advanced study of Immanuel Kant’s interpretation of religion, as developed in major writings such as Critique of Practical Reason and Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason. Emphasizes rational ethical criteria as the basis for analyzing the doctrines, symbols, and institutions of historical religions.
NMC2055H – The Qur'an and Its Interpretation
Wednesdays 6 pm 8 pm TBC
This course is designed to orient students to the field of contemporary Qur’anic studies through reading and discussion of the text itself (in translation) and of significant European-language scholarship about the Qur’an as well as through examination of the principal bibliographical tools for this subject area.
The Departments below may also be offering courses of interest to Religion students. Please follow the links for details.
FSL6000HF/S (Reading French Course for Graduate Students)
German, GER6000HF/S (Reading German for Graduate Students)
TST courses in the 5000 series taught by DSR Cross Appointed Faculty should be taken as RLG4001H and other TST courses must be taken as a Directed Reading Course using the code RLG1501/RLG1502. A Directed Reading Course Form should be completed for all TST courses.