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Spring 2018 Course Offerings

RELG 201 THE BIBLE AS LITERATURE Frank Eakin
TR 3:00–4:15 p.m. (FSLT, IBHU)
A non-confessional study of the diverse genres of Biblical literature, viewing passages in historical context to understand the multiple layers of the intended message: period about which written, the time of the writer, and the time of the recipient. Primary emphasis is given to literary and historical criticism.

RELG 210 DEAD SEA SCROLLS: HISTORY AND SCAMS William Kelly
TR 10:30–11:45 a.m. (FSHT)
This course is an introduction to the Dead Sea Scrolls, perhaps the most spectacular archaeological discovery of the twentieth century. Along with the content, historical context, and discovery of the scrolls, the course also includes discussion about these and related manuscripts in current events. Issues ranging from antiquities markets, copyrights, modern religious and political narratives, and high-profile manuscript forgeries will illuminate the interactions between the past and the present.

RELG 255 01/02 QUEERS IN RELIGION Jane Geaney
Section 01: TR 12:00–1:15 p.m.; Section 02: TR 1:30–2:45 p.m. (AMER, FSLT, IBHU, WGSS)
From the perspective of several global religions, this course introduces intersections of queerness and religion—ranging from religious homophobia to queer religiosity. It addresses fundamental questions of textual interpretation. In addition, it aims to increase awareness of the forces that make it normal to presume heterosexuality on campus and in the classroom.

RELG 281 01/02 INTRODUCTION TO ISLAM Mimi Hanaoka
Section 01: MW 9:00–10:15 a.m.; Section 02: MW 10:30–11:45 a.m. (FSHT, ISDA, ISPD)
This is an introductory course on Islam that examines its development as a religious and social movement from its inception to the contemporary period. The course traces the intellectual history, institutional evolution, and theological developments of Islam, placing these phenomena in their appropriate historical contexts. The approach in this course is both chronological and topical.

RELG 352 BUDDHISM IN INDIA AND TIBET Miranda Shaw
MW 3:00–4:15 p.m. (ISAH)
Major Buddhist teachings, practices, and ideals as they developed in India and continued to evolve in Tibetan Buddhism. Topics include meditation, cultivation of compassion, emptiness philosophy, Tantra, Tibetan Book of the Dead, and the Dalai Lamas. Our main approach is to read, discuss, and analyze primary sources, such as scriptures, life stories, and writings of contemporary Buddhist leaders.

RELG 358 RICHMOND: CITY OF THE DEADs Douglas Winiarski
W 12:00–1:15 p.m.; F 12:00–2:40 p.m. (AMER)
This community-based learning seminar explores attitudes toward death in early America as expressed through material culture: gravestones, landscape architecture, monuments, and mourning art. Seminar participants conduct field work at various cemeteries and Civil War sites in and around Richmond, including Hollywood Cemetery, one of the finest examples of the rural cemetery movement in the United States. Assignments emphasize the strategic use of new technologies to convey historical research to a broad public audience.

RELG 393 INTERPRETING THE BOOK OF PSALMS Frank Eakin
TR 12:00–1:15 p.m.
As part of both the Jewish TaNaK and the Christian Bible, the 150 poems of the Psalter served as the hymnbook of the Second Temple. This seminar will focus on selected Psalms chosen according to established Forms, such as Royal Psalms, Wisdom Psalms, Hymns of Lament and of Thanksgiving, and Hymns of Ascent.

FYS 100-20 DREAMING OF THE PROPHET Mimi Hanaoka
MW 12:00–1:15 p.m.
This course explores how Islam makes sense of dreams and waking visions. We consider what roles visions and dreams play in the political, social, and devotional dimensions of Islamic societies how visions relate to prophecy, truth, the future, the afterlife, and the end of time.

FYS 100-21/22 ANXIETY AND ETHICS Kathleen Skerrett
Section 21: TR 10:30–11:45 a.m.; Section: 22: 1:30–2:45 p.m.
This first year seminar approaches anxiety as an existential or spiritual condition that is entwined with the practice of freedom. We will discuss late modern philosophers, theologians, and creative artists, who explore how ethical lives are intricately woven into the opportunities and challenges that anxiety presents.

FYS 100-23/24 DEVIL IN THE DETAILS: MICROHISTORY AND HISTORICAL NARRATIVE Douglas Winiarski
Section 23: TR 10:30–11:45 a.m.; Section 24: 12:00–1:15 p.m.
Witches and heretics, religious prophets and confidence men, Indian captives and murdering mothers, cat massacres and slave conspiracies: these are the subjects of “microhistory,” a distinctive approach to the study of the past that seeks to reveal broader forces of historical change through detailed stories of obscure individuals and seemingly bizarre events. Students learn how scholars research and write these gripping historical narratives and work in teams to develop their own microhistories based on rare archival documents.

FYS 100-25/26 FROM HOLY RITE TO HOOKING UP Miranda Shaw
Section 25: TR 1:30–2:45 p.m.; Section 26: 3:00–4:15 p.m.
Students will be introduced to a spectrum of cultural constructions of sexuality, gain awareness of varying ranges of values associated with sexuality in different cultural worlds, and become aware of multiple interpretive lenses through which sexuality can be viewed.

FYS 100-31 TOLKIEN AND THE MEDIVAL IMAGINATION Scott Davis
MW 10:30–11:45 a.m.
J. R. R. Tolkien is best known for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, but he was also an eminent and influential scholar of medieval literature. This course investigates his work as a medievalist and how it illuminates his imaginative writings.