Offered this year

Courses are still tentative. Days/times have not yet been confirmed.

Fall 2024

RCS 120: The People, Practices and Politics of Contemporary Yoga

Instructor: Dr. Paul Bramadat

Learn more about and practice various styles of yoga.


RCS 200: Greek and Roman Mythology

Instructor: TBA

Study of Greek and Roman myths, in the context of the culture and thought of Greece and Rome. Uses literary and artistic sources to establish and analyze the nature and function of myths in these cultures. Topics include the gods, heroes, local myths, political and cultural uses of myths and the origins of the influence of Greek and Roman myths on European culture.

* This course is cross-listed with GRS 200.


RCS 200B: Introduction to Asian Religions

Instructor: Dr. Martin Adam

A survey of the sources, beliefs and practices of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and the Chinese religions. The traditions are studied in their cultural and political contexts from both historical and contemporary perspectives.

*This course is cross-listed with PAAS 204


RCS 260: The Bible as Literature

Instructor: Dr. Christopher Douglas

Surveys basic stories and books in the Old and New Testaments (including Genesis, Exodus, 1 and 2 Kings, Job, Song of Songs, Psalms, Isaiah, select minor prophets, the Gospels, Acts, select Pauline epistles, Hebrews and Revelations). Focus on the intrinsic literary features of the biblical books themselves. Aims to familiarize students with important biblical stories, genres and references in literature and religious discourse.

*This course is cross-listed with ENGL 260.


RCS 323A: Heavy Metal and Religion

Instructor: Dr. Shamma Boyarin

At a recent conference on Metal and Religion professor Marcus Moberg, following
Bruce D. Forbes categorizations of the way scholars study Popular Culture and Religion, outlined three categories with which scholars engage with the metal and religion. The first, “Religion in Metal”: exploring ways religious ideas, themes texts, and images are used as inspiration (sometimes negatively) in Heavy Metal as music, lyrical content or visual content. The second, “Metal in Religion”: looking at examples of religious people or groups who have adopted metal music as a vehicle for religious expression. A prominent example of this are the many “Christian Metal” bands. And the third, “Metal as Religion”: studies argue that for some metal functions as a kind of religion with all that entails. This course is structured around examples drawn from each methodological category, which will be used not just as interesting case studies in of themselves, but as springboards to discussions about the ways we study religion more broadly.

Not for credit it taken in Fall 2023 as RCS 310 or ENSH 342 A02.

This course is cross listed with ENSH 323A.


RCS 328: Myth and Theory

Instructor: Dr. Laurel Bowman

An introduction to the major approaches to the interpretation of classical myth, from ritualist to structuralist to feminist and beyond.

This course is cross listed with GRS 328.


RCS 337B: Reformation and Religious War in Europe

Instructor: Dr. Sara Beam

Examination of the religious, political and social factors that led to the breakdown of medieval Christianity in the West and to the foundation of the modern Catholic and Protestant faiths.

This course is cross listed with HSTR 337B.


RCS 369: Milton's Major Poetry and Selected Prose

Instructor: Dr. Gary Kuchar

A study of Paradise Lost, as well as other major poems and selected prose.

This course is cross listed with ENSH 355.


RCS 370: Intersections of Law and Religion from Ancient to Current Worlds

Instructor: Dr. Andrew Wender

Comparative global exploration of relationships among law and religion, across multiple historical contexts and traditions. Includes theistic worldviews like Judaism, Christianity and Islam, with sources and manifestations of law unfolding from the biblical to contemporary worlds. Diverse understandings of law in non-theistic traditions like Hinduism and Buddhism. Within modern settings, emphasis on secularist outlooks that re-embody, rather than eliminate, overlaps between law and religion, and on debates involving states' attempts to monopolize control over religion.

This course is cross listed with HSTR 370A.

Spring 2025

RCS 200: Greek and Roman Mythology

Instructor: TBA

Study of Greek and Roman myths, in the context of the culture and thought of Greece and Rome. Uses literary and artistic sources to establish and analyze the nature and function of myths in these cultures. Topics include the gods, heroes, local myths, political and cultural uses of myths and the origins of the influence of Greek and Roman myths on European culture.

*This course is cross-listed with GRS 200


RCS 200A: Introduction to Judaism, Christianity and Islam 

Instructor: Dr. Shamma Boyarin

An introductory survey of the sources, beliefs and practices of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The traditions are studied in their cultural and political contexts from both historical and contemporary perspectives.


RCS 202: Food, Religion and Culture

Instructor: Dr. Rachel Brown

Investigates intersections among food, religion and culture. Addresses food prohibitions, rituals involving food, and food symbols that are present (or absent) in various religious and spiritual traditions. Pays particular attention to how religious groups and individuals use food to (1) construct relationships (real or imagined) between individuals, the community, and nonhuman beings (animals, deities, ancestors), and (2) construct and maintain cultural norms and values.

This course is cross listed with ANTH 202.


RCS 382: Greek and Roman Religion

Instructor: Dr. Brendan Burke

Survey of Greek and Roman religious thought and practices. Focuses on conventional religious rituals and their social value, and on the success of Greek and Roman polytheism in adapting to changing historical and social circumstances. Particular attention to mystery religions, including Christianity, and their relationship to conventional forms of religious behaviour.

This course is cross listed with GRS 382.


RCS 383: Politics and Religion

Instructor: Dr. Stacie Swain

An exploration of the relationship between politics and religion, including the religious dimensions of state sovereignty, global politics and political conflict. Case studies are drawn from different regions of the world and various religious traditions.

This course is cross listed with POLI 382.


RCS 384: Religion in the United States

Instructor: Dr. Norman Fennema

Explores spirituality and organized religion in the United States, from the Indigenous encounters with the Puritans to today. Focuses on the tension between religion and American expansionism, slavery and war, the emergence of religious freedom and ongoing negotiation of separation of church and state. Explores the reasons for the vibrancy and complexity of American religion, its role in shaping American social policy and the centrality of race and ethnicity in American religion and identity.

This course is cross listed with HSTR 310E.


RCS 450: Capstone Seminar

Instructor: Dr. Paul Bramadat

Graduating Major's research project consisting of readings and assignments based on what has been learned from the academic study of religion in the program and focused on the relationship of religion and society. Designed to develop as well as measure the student's integration of the various aspects of the discipline of Religious Studies.