Current Undergraduate Courses & Programs

2020-2021 St. George Campus Course Descriptions

For courses with tutorials, please also see the Arts and Science timetable. Sessional dates are available on the Faculty of Arts & Science calendar.

Fall term Undergraduate Classes begin September 10, 2020

Note: If the courses listed below is in conflict with the Arts & Science timetable, the information on the timetable takes priority.

RLG101H1-F Introducing Religion: Reason and Religion in the Modern Age

James DiCenso

Term: Fall

(This course has a tutorial*)

Description: An introduction to critical thinking about religion as it took shape in modern European thought. We examine major thinkers such as Baruch Spinoza, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Nietzsche, Hannah Arendt, and others. Issues covered include freedom of thought, the relationship between religion and politics, belief and truth, rational ethics in relation to religious ethics, etc. We explore how issues addressed by these classical authors remain relevant in today's world.

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)


RLG102H1-S Introducing Religion: Blood, Sex, Drugs

Kevin O'Neill

Term: Spring

(This course has a tutorial*)

Description: Religion can be understood as a set of aspirations that manages and moralizes the most intimate matters of social life, including sexual intercourse, bodily fluids, and mind altering substances. This course engages fundamental theories of religion to consider an eclectic set of case studies that troubles a clean divide between purity and danger.

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2) 


RLG103H1-F Introducing Religion: Sports and/as Religion

Jennifer Harris

Term: Fall

(This course has a tutorial*)

Description: A first-year course looking at the historical and contemporary relationship between religion and sport. We start with the Ancient Greek Olympics (a funeral ritual) and end with the ever-hopeful gathering of Toronto Maple Leafs fans, Leaf Nation. In between, we look at examples of those sports around the world, in which religion plays a significant role or where sports serves as a religion-like pastime.

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Society and its Institutions (3)


MHB155H1-F Elementary Modern Hebrew I

Term: Fall

 Yigal Nizri

Description: Introduction to the fundamentals of Hebrew grammar and syntax. Emphasis on the development of oral and writing skills.

Exclusion: Grade 4 Hebrew (or Grade 2 in Israel)/NML155H1

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)


MHB156H1-S Elementary Modern Hebrew II

Term: Spring

 Yigal Nizri

Description: Introduction to the fundamentals of Hebrew grammar and syntax. Emphasis on the development of oral and writing skills.

Exclusion: Grade 4 Hebrew (or Grade 2 in Israel)/NML155H1

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)


RLG197H1-F Enchantment, Disenchantment, Re-enchantment

Alexander Hampton

Term: Fall

Description: Modernity is associated with disenchantment, secularisation and progress, and has traditionally been understood as the successor to the enchanted, spiritual, and transcendent worldviews of antiquity and the middle ages. Re-enchantment, a term increasingly encountered in popular and academic contexts alike, demonstrates nostalgia for an enchanted past, a discomfort with the modern narrative, and a desire to recover wonder. This course will examine the history of enchantment through a series of readings taken from literature, philosophy, theology, ranging from Plato to contemporary magical realism. Restricted to first-year students. Not available for CR/NCR option.

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement:  Creative and Cultural Representations (1)


 RLG197H1-S Enchantment, Disenchantment, Re-enchantment

Alexander Hampton

Term: Spring

Description: Modernity is associated with disenchantment, secularisation and progress, and has traditionally been understood as the successor to the enchanted, spiritual, and transcendent worldviews of antiquity and the middle ages. Re-enchantment, a term increasingly encountered in popular and academic contexts alike, demonstrates nostalgia for an enchanted past, a discomfort with the modern narrative, and a desire to recover wonder. This course will examine the history of enchantment through a series of readings taken from literature, philosophy, theology, ranging from Plato to contemporary magical realism. Restricted to first-year students. Not available for CR/NCR option.

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)


RLG198H1-F Dystopia: Religion & Gender in Science Fiction

Laura Beth Bugg

Term: Fall

Description: This course will examine the “what ifs” and imagined worlds of ideal utopias and oppressive dystopias through the lens of religion and gender in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland. Because science fiction and utopian/dystopian literature expresses what an author sees as possible or hopes is possible, but also fears is possible, we will consider science fiction as a political and social critique. Themes to be covered include fundamentalism, totalitarianism, the relationship between technology and religion, religion and reproductive rights, and the potential relationship between religion, gender and oppression. Restricted to first-year students. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)


RLG198H1-S Dystopia: Religion & Gender in Science Fiction

Laura Beth Bugg

Term: Spring

Description: This course will examine the “what ifs” and imagined worlds of ideal utopias and oppressive dystopias through the lens of religion and gender in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland. Because science fiction and utopian/dystopian literature expresses what an author sees as possible or hopes is possible, but also fears is possible, we will consider science fiction as a political and social critique. Themes to be covered include fundamentalism, totalitarianism, the relationship between technology and religion, religion and reproductive rights, and the potential relationship between religion, gender and oppression. Restricted to first-year students. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

RLG200H1-F Study of Religion

Jennifer Harris, Christina Pasqua

Term: Fall

(This course has a tutorial*)

Description: An introduction to the discipline of the study of religion. This course surveys methods in the study of religion and the history of the discipline in order to prepare students to be majors or specialists in the study of religion.

Prerequisite: Open to Religion Specialists and Majors

Exclusion: RLG200Y1, RLGB10H3, RLG105H5

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)


RLG201H1-F Indigenous Religion

Kevin White

Term: Fall

Description: A historical and thematic introduction to Indigenous religions.

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)


RLG202H1-F Judaism

Kenneth Green

Term: Fall

 (This course has a tutorial*)

Description: An introduction to the religious tradition of the Jews, concentrating on its ancient roots. Focus on great ideas, thinkers, books, movements, sects, and events in the historical development of Judaism through its formative period, i.e., from Abraham the father of faith and people to the destruction of the second Jerusalem Temple in 70 CE and the “exile” from the Land of Israel.

Exclusion: RLG202H5, RLG202Y1

Recommended Preparation: RLG100Y1/RLG200H1/RLG280Y1

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)


RLG203H1-S Christianity

Alexander Hampton

Term: Spring

(This course has a tutorial*)

Description: An introduction to the Christian religious tradition, this course will consider a wide range of themes. These will include key elements, major historical periods, and cover significant concepts, such as mysticism, art, and creation.

Exclusion: RLG203H5, RLG203Y1

Recommended Preparation: RLG100Y1/RLG200H1/RLG280Y1

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)


RLG204H1-F Islam

Walid Saleh

Term: Fall

(This course has a tutorial*)

Description: The faith and practice of Islam: historical emergence, doctrinal development, and interaction with various world cultures. Note: this course is offered alternatively with NMC283Y1, to which it is equivalent.

Exclusion: NMC185Y1, NMC185H1, NMC283Y, RLG204H5, RLG204Y1

Recommended Preparation: RLG100Y1/RLG200H1/RLG280Y1

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)


RLG205H1-F Hinduism

Arti Dhand

Term: Fall

(This course has a tutorial*)

Description: A historical and thematic introduction to the Hindu religious tradition as embedded in the socio-cultural structures of India.

Exclusion: RLG205H5, RLG205Y1

Recommended Preparation: RLG100Y1/RLG200H1/RLG280Y1

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)


RLG206H1-F Buddhism

Amanda Goodman

Term: Fall

(This course has a tutorial*)

Description: The development, spread, and diversification of Buddhist traditions from southern to northeastern Asia, as well as to the West.

Exclusion: RLG206H5, RLG206Y1

Recommended Preparation: RLG100Y1/RLG200H1/RLG280Y1

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)


RLG208H1-S Sikhism

Julie Vig

Term: Spring

Description: This class is an introduction to the historical, cultural, and religious formations of the Sikh tradition. In addition to learning about the various contexts in which Sikhs and other groups have interacted from the early modern period until today, students will use theories and methods in Religious Studies to think critically and to develop skills in close reading of primary sources in translation. The class will also focus on Sikhs in the diaspora with a particular attention to Sikhs in Canada. Notions such as history, identity, and encounter will constitute a central thread and shape class discussions.

Exclusion: RLG207H5

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)


RLG209H1-F Justifying Religious Belief

Sol Goldberg

Term:  Fall

(This course has a tutorial*)

Description: Beliefs typically characterized as “religious” concern such things as the existence and nature of the Deity, the afterlife, the soul, miracles, and the universe’s meaningfulness, ultimate purpose, or interest in the distribution of justice according to some plan. Common to these and other religious beliefs is that empirical evidence for them are lacking – at least so say all those who insist that rational beliefs require justification and that justification comes either from observing publically-accessible phenomena or some kind of solid scientific reasoning. Religious beliefs, it further seems, run counter to modern conceptions about who counts not only as an acceptably rational, but also as a fully moral agent. How might people who hold – and want to continue to hold – religious beliefs respond to these accusations and doubts?

The course examines these basic epistemological and moral challenges to religious belief as well as the various strategies available to religious believers who are confronted with such demands for justifications. By doing so, we will aim to understand better whether religious beliefs of various sorts could count as rational, whether reasonable people might disagree with each other about the very nature of reality and morality, and whether anyone who falls short of common intellectual and social ideals of rationality and reasonableness ought to be tolerated.

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)


RLG211H1-S Psychology of Religion

Marsha Hewitt

Term: Spring

(This course has a tutorial*)

Description: A survey of the psychological approaches to aspects of religion such as religious experience, doctrine, myth and symbols, ethics and human transformation. Attention will be given to phenomenological, psychoanalytic, Jungian, existentialist, and feminist approaches.

Distribution Requirement: Social Science

Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)


RLG212H1-S Anthropology of Religion

Amira Mittermaier, Usmon Boron

Term: Spring

(This course has a tutorial*)

Description:  What is religion? Is it a matter of belief or a matter of practice? Do all religions share common features? Is one born into religion, or does one learn to be religious? How might one study religions as they are lived by ordinary people? This course is designed to introduce students to some of the ways in which anthropologists have studied and thought about religion. The emphasis is not on memorizing things people believe and do in different societies but on understanding how anthropologists have tried to explain religious phenomena. Since religion has been a central topic in anthropology from the discipline’s beginnings, we will read both classical and more recent contributions. The themes covered in the course include: magic and religion; the (ir)rationality of belief; the body as a site of knowledge; ritual; ethical self-cultivation; and religion’s role in the secular age.

 Exclusion: RLG212Y1Y

Distribution Requirement: Social Science

Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)


RLG213H1-F Reading Sacred Texts

Harry Fox

Term: Fall

Description: Surveys interpretative traditions related to sacred texts, focusing on reading strategies that range from the literal to the figurative with attention to rationales that transform literal textual meanings and copyists manipulations of texts. May focus on various religious traditions from year to year, targeting a single canonical tradition or comparative analysis. Students will gain insight into literalist, environmentalist, secularist and erotic approaches to texts. Prior exposure to the study of religion is not required; all readings will be in English.

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)


RLG232H1-S Religion & Film

Sarah Gallant

Term: Spring

Description:  The role of film as a mediator of thought and experience concerning religious worldviews. The ways in which movies relate to humanity's quest to understand itself and its place in the universe are considered in this regard, along with the challenge which modernity presents to this task. Of central concern is the capacity of film to address religious issues through visual symbolic forms.

Prerequisite: 4.0 credits

Exclusion: RLG390H1

Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)


RLG233H1-S Religion and Popular Culture

Jennifer Harris

Term: Spring

(This course has a tutorial*)

Description: A course on the interactions, both positive and negative, between religion and popular culture. We look at different media (television, advertising, print) as they represent and engage with different religious traditions, identities, and controversies.

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)


RLG235H1-S Religion, Gender, and Sexuality

Sarah Gallant

Term: Spring

Description: Examination of gender as a category in the understanding of religious roles, symbols, rituals, deities, and social relations. Survey of varieties of concepts of gender in recent feminist thought, and application of these concepts to religious life and experience. Examples will be drawn from a variety of religious traditions and groups, contemporary and historical.

Exclusion: RLG314H1, RLG314H5

Distribution Requirement: Social Science

Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)


RLG241H1-F Early Christian Writings I

John Marshall

Term: Fall

(This course has a tutorial*)

Description: An introduction to early Christian writings, including the 'New Testament,' examined within the historical context of the first two centuries. No familiarity with Christianity or the New Testament is expected.

Exclusion: RLG241H5; RLG341H5; HUMC14H3; RLG241Y1

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)


MHB255H1-F Intermediate Modern Hebrew I

Yigal Nizri

Term: Fall

Description: Intensive study of written and spoken Hebrew.

Prerequisite: MHB156H1/ NML156H1 or permission of instructor

Exclusion: Grade 8 Hebrew (or Ulpan level 2 in Israel)/NML255Y1

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)


MHB256H1-S Intermediate Modern Hebrew II

Yigal Nizri

Term: Spring

Description: Continued intensive study of written and spoken Hebrew.

Prerequisite: MHB255H1/NML156H1 or permission of instructor

Exclusion: Grade 8 Hebrew (or Ulpan level 2 in Israel)/NML255Y1

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)


RLG260H1-F Introduction to Sanskrit I

Libbie Mills

Term:  Fall

Description: The course is part I of a two-part intensive introduction to Sanskrit for beginners. Part II will be offered next semester. For part I, no prior knowledge of the language is required. We will work on building knowledge of Sanskrit grammar and vocabulary. The class will work as a friendly and informal workshop, interested in both the written and the spoken language. While the material we will treat is, at times, necessarily rather dry, I hope you will find the exploration of the language's superb structure exciting. Our aim over the two parts of the course is to reach a stage where you will be able to read Sanskrit literature with the aid of a dictionary.

Exclusion: RLG260Y1

Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)


RLG261H1-F Introduction to Tibetan I

Amber Moore

Term:  Fall

Description:  An introduction to Classical Tibetan language for beginners. Development of basic grammar and vocabulary, with readings of simple texts. This is an online course. Lectures will be delivered via the web and mandatory tutorials will require live webinar participation. The final exam will require attendance on the St. George campus, or in another authorized exam centre.

Exclusion: RLG261Y1

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)


RLG262H1-S Introduction to Tibetan II

Annie Heckman

Term: Spring

Description: The second semester of an introduction to Classical Tibetan language course for beginners. Continued work on grammar and vocabulary, advancing to reading texts. This is an online course. Lectures will be delivered via the web and mandatory tutorials will require live webinar participation. The final exam will require attendance on the St. George campus, or in another authorized exam centre.

Prerequisite: RLG260H1

Exclusion: RLG260Y1 Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)


RLG263H1-S Introduction to Sanskrit II

Libbie Mills

Term: Spring

Description:  The second semester of an introduction to Classical Sanskrit for beginners. Students continue to build grammar and vocabulary, and use that knowledge to read texts in Sanskrit. Two sections of the course will be offered: an on-campus class meeting and an online section via live webinar participation. The final exam will require attendance on the St. George campus, or in another authorized exam centre.

Prerequisite: RLG260H1

Exclusion: RLG260Y1

Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)


RLG264H1-F Introductory Pali I:

Libbie Mills

Term:  Fall

Description:  In this no-prerequisite introductory course students will learn to pronounce Pali and to translate Pali into English. The curriculum will cover simple grammar and basic vocabulary. This language training is entirely based upon primary source texts from the Three Baskets, the Theravāda Buddhist canon, texts which offer glimpses into Pali literary history and Buddhist doctrine and practice. The work on Pali language will be supplemented by training in the Burmese script and an introduction to the accessing of palm leaf manuscripts in a Pali script from Burma. With this combination of language and script training, students will have the tools to begin reading and understanding original manuscript materials.

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)


RLG265H1-S Introductory Pali II:

Libbie Mills

Term:  Spring

Description: This course offers an opportunity to students interested in Buddhism and with basic knowledge of Pali to read, analyze, and discuss select simple passages from the scriptures of the Theravada canon in their original language. It will cover philosophical, psychological, and narrative texts and their interpretation.

Prerequisite: RLG264H1 or equivalent capacity to read Pali texts in the original

Distribution Requirements:  Humanities

Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

All 300-series courses normally presuppose that a student has already completed, by the first day of the course, at least 4.0 FCEs (or their equivalent). Only specific Prerequisites or recommended preparations are listed below. Students who do not meet the Prerequisites, but believe they have adequate academic preparation, should consult the Undergraduate Administrator regarding entry to the course.


JAR301H1-S Plagues & Peoples: From Divine Intervention to Public Health

Pamela Klassen, Janelle Taylor

Term: Spring

Description: Infectious diseases have afflicted human societies throughout the history of our species. How are diseases shaped by the societies in which they spread, and how do they change culture and politics in turn? This course introduces perspectives from medical anthropology and religious studies to analyze the intersection of cultural, religious and scientific narratives when people confront plagues. We focus on historical and contemporary examples, such as the Spanish flu and COVID-19, giving students the tools to understand how cultural institutions, religious worldviews, and public health epidemiology shape living and dying during a pandemic.

Prerequisite: At least 4.0 credits

Distribution Requirements: Social Science

Breadth Requirements: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)


JNR301H1-S Histories of Buddhist Meditation

Frances Garrett

Term:  Spring

Description: This course will survey historical, cultural, and textual contexts for Buddhist meditative and contemplative practices and techniques. This semester, we will focus in particular on the history of Buddhist meditation in North America, and we will pay special attention to the role of race in that history. We’ll examine how Buddhist meditation practices including mindfulness have been shaped by, and even contributed to, forces like colonialism, orientalism, capitalism, and white supremacy in the last hundred years or so in North America.

Prerequisite: RLG206H1/​NEW232Y1/​NEW232H1

Exclusion: None

Recommended Preparation: None

Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Breadth Requirements: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)


RLG303H1-F Evil and Suffering

Sol Goldberg

Term: Fall

Description: The existence of evil poses a problem to theistic beliefs and raises the question as to whether a belief in a deity is incompatible with the existence of evil and human (or other) suffering. This course examines the variety of ways in which religions have dealt with the existence of evil.

Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 credits

Distribution Requirement: Social Science

Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)


RLG304H1-S Language, Symbols, Self

James DiCenso

Term: Spring

Description: Theories of the self that involve the constitutive role of language in its various forms. Problems of socially-conditioned worldviews and sense of self as related to discourse. Myth, symbol, metaphor, and literary arts as vehicles for personality development and self-transformation along religious lines.

Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 credits

Distribution Requirements: Social Science

Breadth Requirements: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2


RLG308H1-F Migration, Religion and City Spaces

Laura Beth Bugg

Term: Fall

Description: Immigrants have transformed cities through religious practices. Explore how transnational migration has affected religious diversity and vitality in metropolitan areas. Through discussion, site visits and analysis, students will examine the ways that immigrants use religion to make home, challenges around the establishment of new religious structures, and policy designed to accommodate new religious practices and communities.

Prerequisite: 4.0 FCE

Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)


RLG309H1-S Religion and Human Rights

Eleanor Pontoriero

Term: Spring

Description: We will explore the dynamic inter-relations of women, religion and human rights within a contemporary global context. Our aim will be to include both theory and praxis. Our approach will be intersectional, cross-cultural, inter-religious and inter-disciplinary. We will begin with the development of key documents, issues, and models of the three inter-related goals of UN Women: Peace, development, gender equity and empowerment in addressing the human rights of women and girls North and South. Issues examined will include: the intersection of race, ethnicity, class and sexual orientation with gender; the role of culture and religion as both a pretext for violence and also as a basis for multi-lateral peacebuilding initiatives, including local/grassroots and global initiatives; GBV (gender-based violence); universalism and cultural-religious relativism; reproductive and gender rights; globalization; the right to self-determination; transitional justice; gendered justice and narratives; religion, trauma, and healing. In addition to weekly group meetings, there will also be an opportunity to integrate individual interest in student papers and oral presentations and reports. We will do this by drawing on both academic and non-academic resources including UN Women, and women’s grassroots and global initiatives. Weekly meetings will include an in-class experiential component with the aim of developing several resources for human rights training, specifically, mindfulness practices (i.e., breath, listening, council) drawing on both secular (i.e., UN Women human rights training manual) and interfaith sources.

Prerequisite: Three RLG or PHI/PHL half-courses and third year standing. Completion of 4.0 credits.

Exclusion: RLG309H5, RLG309Y1

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

 

 

 

 


RLG310H1-S Modern Atheism and the Critique of Religion: Hobbes to Kant

James DiCenso

Term: Spring

Description:  This course examines select modern thinkers and their critical approaches to the nature and significance of religious beliefs and practices. Hobbes, Spinoza, Hume, and Kant are among the major thinkers studied.

Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 credits

Exclusion: RLG310Y1

Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Breadth Requirements: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)


RLG314H1-S Pilgrimage as Idea and Practice

Simon Coleman, Amin Mansouri

Term: Spring

Description: The study of pilgrimage has become increasingly prominent in anthropology and religious studies in recent decades. Why should this be? This course provides some answers while engaging in a cross cultural survey and analysis of pilgrimage practices. We also explore whether research into pilgrimage has wider theoretical significance.

Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 credits

Exclusion: RLG215H1

Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Breadth Requirements:  Society and its Institutions (3)


RLG318H1-F Religion and Nature

Alexander Hampton

Term:  Fall

Description: The ongoing environmental crisis has prompted an active engagement with religious conceptualizations of nature. There is a complex relationship between nature, religion and the aesthetic expression of human spirituality. This course will examine how religion has shaped our relationship with nature. It will trace this history in the Latin West from the antique to the contemporary, examining how a number of thinkers have undertaken a creative re-engagement with religious concepts of nature.

Exclusion: RLG228H1

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)


RLG323H1S-Jesus of Nazareth

John Marshall, Amy Porter

Term: Spring

Description: An examination of the historical Jesus based on a critical study of the earliest accounts of Jesus, with intensive study of the Gospels to determine what can be said about Jesus activities and teachings.

Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 credits

Exclusion: RLG323H5

Recommended Preparation: RLG241H1/​RLG241Y1

Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Breadth Requirements: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)


RLG326H1-S Roots of Early Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism

Judith Newman

Term: Spring

Description: Analysis of selected documents of Second Temple Judaism in their historical contexts, as part of the generative matrix for both the early Jesus movement and the emergence of rabbinic Judaism.

Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 credits including RLG202H1/​RLG202Y1/​RLG203H1/​RLG203Y1

Exclusion: RLG326H5

Recommended Preparation: RLG241H1/​RLG241Y1

Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)


RLG331H1-F / Creation Narratives and Epistemologies

Kevin White

Term: Fall

Description: The course will examine the importance of Indigenous cultural knowledge and values as presented in various Indigenous Creation Narratives. Creation Narratives or Cosmological narratives have long been studied as mere mythology. Yet, it is in these very narratives that complex, layered, and nuanced epistemologies emerge. Often, these narratives not only lay the epistemological frameworks of cultural value systems, but they also contain what many refer to as original instructions and purpose for the “Original People”.

Prerequisite: 4.0 FCE

Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)


RLG336H1-S Religion and its Monsters

Jennifer Harris

Term: Spring

Description: A course looking at the theories about and responses to the monstrous in global religious traditions and practices.

Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)


RLG339H1-F Religious Ethics: The Jewish Tradition

David Novak

Term: Fall

Description: A brief survey of the Jewish biblical and rabbinic traditions; the extension of these teachings and methods of interpretation into the modern period; common and divergent Jewish positions on pressing moral issues today.

Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 credits

Exclusion: RLG221H1

Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Breadth Requirements: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)


RLG341H1-F Dreaming of Zion: Exile and Return in Jewish Thought

Kenneth Green

Term: Fall

Description: An inquiry into the theme of exile and return in Judaism, often called the leading idea of Jewish religious consciousness. Starting from Egyptian slavery and the Babylonian exile, and culminating in the ideas of modern Zionism, the course will examine a cross-section of Jewish thinkers--ancient, medieval, and modern.

Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 credits

Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Breadth Requirements: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)


RLG343H1-S Kabbala: A History of Mystical Thought in Judaism

Kenneth Green

Term: Spring

Description: A historical study of the Kabbala and the mystical tradition in Judaism, with emphasis on the ideas of Jewish mystical thinkers and movements.

Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 credits

Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Breadth Requirements: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)


RLG348H1-S Philosophical Responses to the Holocaust

David Novak

Term: Spring

Description: This course deals with how the momentous experience of the Holocaust, the systematic state-sponsored murder of six million Jews as well as many others, has forced thinkers, both religious and secular, to rethink the human condition.

Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 credits

Exclusion: RLG220H1

Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Breadth Requirements: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)


RLG355H1-S Living Islam

Nada Moumtaz

Term: Spring

Description: This course introduces students to studies of contemporary Islam that are based on extensive periods of research with Muslim communities in their own languages using anthropological methods. What do such studies teach us about the varied ways Muslims engage their religious tradition in the modern world? And how can such studies make us think differently about gender, economy, medicine, and secularism?

Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 credits

Distribution Requirements: Social Science

Breadth Requirements: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)


MHB355H1-F Advanced Modern Hebrew I

Yigal Nizri

Term: Fall

Description: Advanced intensive study of written and spoken Hebrew.

Prerequisite:  MHB256H1/NML255Y1 or permission of instructor

Exclusion: OAC Hebrew/NML355Y1

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1) 


MHB356H1-S Advanced Modern Hebrew II

Yigal Nizri

Term: Spring

Description: Continued advanced intensive study of written and spoken Hebrew.

Prerequisite:  MHB355H1 or permission of instructor

Exclusion:  OAC Hebrew/NML355Y1

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)


RLG361H1-F Literatures of Hinduism -The Bhagavadgita

Srilata Raman, Krissie Rogahn

Term:  Fall

Description: A study of the literatures of Hinduism in India and the diaspora, including issues of identity formation, nostalgic constructions of the "homeland", fictional representations, and the quest for authenticity.

Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 credits

Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)


RLG362H1-S Rama of Ayodhya: From Literature to Politics

Arti Dhand

Term: Spring

Description: A study of the figure of Rama, from his genesis in the Valmiki Ramayana, to his historical evolution as a cultural and political icon through mediaeval and modern India.

Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 credits

Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)


RLG365H1-S Modern HinduismBlood, Sacrifice and Non-Violence

Srilata Raman

Term: Spring

Description: The development of modern Hindu religious thought in the contexts of colonialism, dialogue with the West and the secular Indian state.

Prerequisite:  RLG100Y1/​RLG205Y1/​RLG280Y1; see note above for general Prerequisites

Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3


RLG366H1-S Modern HinduismThe Classical Schools

Srilata Raman

Term: Spring

Description: A study of different schools, texts, and issues of Hindu philosophy.

Prerequisite: RLG100Y1/​RLG205Y1/​RLG280Y1/

Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Breadth Requirements: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)


JPR374H1SReligion and Power in the Postcolony

Ruth Marshall

Term: Spring

Description: This course examines the role of a variety of religious forms and spiritual practices in the politics of postcolonial societies, tracing their genealogies from the colonial period to the present. Cases taken principally from Africa and Asia. (Given by the Departments of Political Science and Religion)

Prerequisite: 1.0 POL 200-level credit/1.5 full course equivalents in Religious Studies

Distribution Requirements: Social Science

Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)


RLG375H1-F Biohacking Breath - Experiential Learning

Frances Garrett

Term: Fall

Description: This course explores Buddhist practices of manipulating – or “biohacking” – the breath or “winds” (prāna) of the human body, covering relevant theories of human anatomy and physiology and the religious, philosophical, and medical teachings alongside which these practices developed. Intentional breathing practices in the history of European thought and the role of breathwork in contemporary global biohacking movements will also be studied for comparison and contrast. During experiential lab sessions, basic prānāyāma and other breathing practices will be learned and practiced with the guidance of qualified teacher-practitioners.

Prerequisite: 4.0 credits

Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)


RLG384H1-F Pluralism and Toleration

Sol Goldberg, Allison Murphy

Term: Fall

Description: This course traces the development of philosophical arguments in favor of toleration or pluralism that emerged first in response to bitter religious conflicts and then out of a growing recognition of the potential benefits of the normative diversity characteristic of modern societies. Typical philosophers to be studied are Bodin, Spinoza, Locke, Bayle, Lessing, Herder, and Mill.

Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 credits

Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)


RLG385H1-S Becoming Modern

Sara Gallant

Term:  Spring

Descriptions: What does it mean to be modern? Words like “modern,” “modernity,” and “modernism” are used to mark a fundamental boundary between our era and all that came before it (or lies outside of it); but most of us are hard-pressed to offer a solid account of what exactly this boundary is. This course examines the relationship between: a fundamental shift in the nature of daily experience; an order-of-magnitude expansion of the power of the State; a dramatic reorganization of religious experience and cultures; and a tremendous growth in the enterprise of Western science and technological production. We trace this reorientation over the last two centuries and examine its consequences using philosophical, literary, theological, and scientific sources, as well as recent scholarly work on the topic.

Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 credits

Recommended Preparation: RLG231H1/​RLG387H1

Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)


RLG386H1S Devotional Literature of Early Modern India

Julie Vig

Term: Spring

Descriptions: This class is an introduction to the devotional literature of early modern India (c. 1500-1800), but more importantly, it is about thinking critically and developing skills in close reading of texts. In addition to learning about historical, religious, and social contexts of various literary traditions in Brajbhasha, students will be expected to demonstrate their ability to analyse and interpret texts by actively participating in class discussions and by writing a well-argued final paper. The focus will be on the what of literary traditions but also on the how and why these traditions made sense to people in the past and are still relevant to us, today.

Prerequisite: 4.0 credits

Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)


RLG389H1-F Women, Religion, and Peacebuilding: Comparative Contexts (Special Topics II)

Eleanor Pontoriero

Term: Fall

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

(Looking for an independent study course instead?)

To enrol in a 400-level or "capstone" course:

  1. Email the instructor for permission to take the course.
  2. Email Marilyn Colaço at religion.undergrad@utoronto.ca indicating you have permission from the instructor.
    Include:
    • the course name and number
    • your full name and student number
    • your subject post
  3. Please follow up with an email if you have not been enrolled by the end of two weeks.

*400-level courses are open only to religion majors and specialists. They are ‘E’ indicator courses, and students cannot enroll in or drop these courses through ACORN.


RLG404H1-S Departmental Capstone: Research

David Perley

Term:  Spring

Description: An integrative capstone seminar that emphasizes iterative development of a research project, locating a research specialization within its broader disciplinary audience, and communicating the process and results of a research project to non-specialists within the study of religion.Open to Relgion Specialists and Majors only.

Prerequisite: Open to 4th-year Religion Specialists and Majors

Distribution Requirement: Humanities


RLG405H1-F Departmental Capstone: Practical

David Perley

Term: Fall

Description: A capstone seminar that emphasizes integration of the study of religion with contemporary public life in the development of a research project, locating a research specialization in relation to non-academic contexts, and communicating the process and results of a research project to non-academic audiences.

Prerequisite: Open to 4th-year Religion Specialists and Majors

Distribution Requirement: Humanities


RLG407H1-S The World of "World Religion"

Jennifer Harris

Term: Spring

Description: A seminar examining the development of western discourses of world religions. We shall explore the roots of these discourses and examine their implications in the academic study of religion in North America and in other parts of the world.

Prerequisite: Open to 4th year Religion Specialists and Majors

Recommended Preparation: RLG100Y1; RLG200H1

Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Breadth Requirements: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2) 


RLG411H1-S (Advanced Topics in Religion)

Term: Spring

Distribution Requirement: Humanities


RLG412H1-F Advanced Topics in Religion: Psychoanalytic and Anthropological Approaches to Possession, Trance and Transference

Marsha Hewitt

Term: Fall

Description: This course will explore themes of spirit possession, trance, altered states, dissociation, visions and dreams from the perspective of a psychoanalytic psychology of religion. It will use psychoanalytic concepts in order to illuminate the ways in which human minds experience other worlds and other realities that inform and shape the one that the community inhabits. We will draw upon “classical” and contemporary psychoanalytic theory, not restricting or privileging any specific “school”. The defining characteristic of a psychoanalytic psychology of religion is its focus on subjective, inner experience. As this course includes an historical and cross-cultural approach, it will draw upon anthropology and ethnography as we think together about the rich, creative capacities of human minds not only in fashioning other worlds and realities, but in living in this one.

Distribution Requirement: Humanities


RLG420H1-F Religion and Philosophy in the European Enlightenment

James Dicenso

Term: Fall

Description: An advanced study of selected Enlightenment thinkers with a focus on their interpretations of religion. The main thinkers discussed are Spinoza, Hume, and Kant. Issues include the rational critique of traditional religion, the relations among religion, ethics and politics, and the pursuit of universal approaches to religion.

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Breadth Requirements: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)


RLG433H1-S Maimonides and His Modern Interpreters

Ken Green

Term: Spring

Description: 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.

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Exclusion: POL421H1

Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Breadth Requirements: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)


RLG455H1F Heresy and Deviance

John Marshall

Term: Fall

Description: 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: RLG241Y1 or RLG241H1, and at least one of RLG320H1/​RLG321H1/​RLG322H1/​RLG323H1/​RLG324H1/​RLG325H1/​RLG326H1, and permission of instructor

Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)


JPR 459H1SFanaticism: A Political History

Ruth Marshall

Term: Spring

Description: This seminar in theory will explore the modern history of the concept of ‘fanaticism’ and its role in the development of political modernity. A focus on the concept of the “fanatic” (and its cognates) from the perspective of its various uses in political and religious thought from the Early Modern period through the Enlightenment and up to the present day, provides a fascinating opportunity for a critical review of the secular, rationalist, and scientific assumptions underwriting modern political forms and concepts, especially those of liberal democracy. At the same time, the course will offer critical insight into the ways in which religious and political differences among colonial “others” were, and continue to be, central to the elaboration of Western theoretical discourse on fanaticism and extremism as forms of “political pathology”. (Given by the Departments of Political Science and Religion)

Prerequisite: (2 FCEs in Political Theory and/or Philosophy including 1.0 FCE at the 300 level) or (0.5 FCE in Method and Theory in the Study of Religion and 1 FCE at the 300 level in the Study of Religion)

Distribution Requirements: Social Science, Humanities

Breadth Requirements: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)


RLG468H1-S Special Topics in Buddhism: Buddhism and Healing

Frances Garrett

Term: Spring

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Recommended Preparation: RLG206Y1Y

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)


RLG479H1F- Burmese Buddhist Literature

Christoph Emmrich

Term: Fall

Description: Burma, also known as Myanmar, offers one of the richest literary landscapes in the Buddhist world. This course introduces students to the Buddha’s sermons, to the animal lives of struggling bodhisattvas, to the poetic creativity of Mandalay princesses, to the intricacies of the Buddhist philosophy of mind, to the textual regimes of monastic dress codes, and to cosmographies of Buddhist kingship in the interface of South and Southeast Asian religions. Students will be trained to take a critical look at the fascinating world of Buddhist texts, inflected by the scriptural language of Pali, through a specifically Burmese prism.

Prerequisite: 4.0 FCE

Recommended Preparation: RLG206H1

Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations


Individual Studies/Research (year or half)

RLG490Y1F | RLG490Y1S | RLG490Y1 | RLG491H1F | RLG492H1F | RLG492H1S | RLG493H1S | RLG493H1Y | RLG494Y1S | RLG494Y1Y

Student-initiated projects supervised by members of the Department. The student must obtain both a supervisor’s agreement and the Department’s approval in order to register. The maximum number of Individual Studies one may take is two full course equivalents. Deadline for submitting applications to Department including supervisor’s approval is the first week of classes of the session.


UTM and UTSC Timetables:

UTM Campus Courses

UTSC Campus Courses