All courses

RCS 101: Selected Topics in Religion, Culture and Society

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An exploration of selected topics in religion, culture and society. May focus on such topics as "Food and Religion," "The Made-Up Religions of Science Fiction and Fantasy," "Religion in Canada" and more.


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

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A critical and experiential introduction to the major forms of modern postural yoga in the West. Students are able to experience or witness several forms of yoga. Discussions on the relationship of yoga to religion or spirituality are explored to understand the place of yoga and religion in the west, the impact of shifting gender roles on these practices, and questions of cultural “authenticity” in a post-modern world.


RCS 200: Greek and Roman Mythology

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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.

Note: Credit will be granted for only one of RCS 200, CLAS 200, GRS 200, RS 200.


RCS 200A: Introduction to Judaism, Christianity and Islam

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


RCS 200B: Introduction to Asian Religions

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

Note: Credit will be granted for only one of 200B, PAAS 204.


RCS 260: The Bible as Literature

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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.

Note: Credit will be granted for only one of RCS 260, ENGL 260, ENGL 365 (if taken prior to December 1983), ENGL 409, RS 260.


RCS 305 Mysticism

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A survey of mysticism as found in the history and literature of various religious traditions; critical analysis of the nature and significance of mystical experience understood from a number of theoretical perspectives.

NoteCredit will be granted for only one of RCS 305, RS 305


RCS 306 Critics of Religion

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In this course, we examine both the modern critics of religion and their historical precursors (Marx, Freud, Durkheim, Weber and Nietzsche). We assess these powerful criticisms in order to understand the current crossroads at which both religions and societies find themselves in the contemporary period.

Prerequisite: Second year standing

Note: Credit will be granted in only one of RCS 306, RS 306


RCS 307 Religion and the Environment

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Surveys of the influence religious beliefs and practices have had upon humanity's understanding of the environment (nature), a consideration of the contributions that religious ethics can make to our reflection on specific environmental issues.

Note: Credit will be granted in only one of RCS 307, RS 307

Prerequisites: Minimum second-year standing.

Recomendations: RCS 200A or RCS 200B recommended prior to taking this course.


RCS 308 Religion and Society in Canada

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An exploration of the often controversial issues that arise when Canadian schools, hospitals, courts, newspapers, legislatures, social media, and security forces encounter religious and spiritual ideas, practices and communities.

Note: Credit will be granted for only one of RCS 308, RS 302 (if taken in the same topic), RS 308.

Prerequisites: Minimum second-year standing.

Recomendations: RCS 200A or RCS 200B recommended prior to taking this course.


RS 309 Religion and Sexuality

Unit: 1.5, Hours: 3-0 Calendar listing
Explores the relationship between sexuality and religion. Topics include sexual and religious ethics, gender roles assigned by religious traditions, the ways these roles are changing and the effect of these changes on contemporary societal norms in Canada and elsewhere.

Note: Credit will be granted in only one of RCS 309, RS 309.

Prerequisites: Minimum second-year standing.

Recomendation: 200A and 200B is recommended prior to taking this course.


RCS 310: Contemporary Religious Issues

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The major religious traditions and their relationship to contemporary social, cultural, political and economic issues such as gender, death, ecology, work and the market economy.

Note: May be taken more than once for credit in different topics with permission of the program to a maximum of 4.5 units. Credit will be granted in only one of RCS 310, RS 310 (if taken in the same topic).

Prerequisites: Second-year standing; 200A and 200B recommended.


RCS 311: Gandhi and the Ethics of Nonviolence

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Centres upon the life and teachings of Mohandas K. Gandhi. Examines Gandhi's religious thought with regard to ideals of nonviolence (ahimsā) and truth (satya), as well as his attempts to realize these principles in the personal, social and political spheres. Also covers a number of religious and political figures with comparable views, including B. R. Ambedkar, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Krishnamurti, Thich Nhat Hanh, Aung San Suu Kyi and the Dalai Lama.

Prerequisites: Minimum third year standing

Note: Credit will be granted for only one of RCS 311, PAAS 367, RS 301 (if taken in the same topic), RS 311.


 

RCS 312: Koiné Greek

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An introduction to the common dialect of ancient Greek used throughout the Greek world in the wake of the conquests of Alexander the Great (d. 323 BC), with an emphasis on gaining fluency. Readings from the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible), the New Testament and selected documents. Differences in grammar and orthography from classical Greek are discussed. May involve a palaeographical element, with readings from ancient papyri and medieval manuscripts.

Note: Credit will be granted for only one of RCS 312, GREE 310, RS 312.

Prerequisites: Complete GREE102 - Introductory Ancient Greek II or permission of Greek and Roman Studies Department.


RCS 326: Religion and Spirituality in Canada

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Explores spirituality and organized religion in Canada from pre-contact Indigenous experiences to today. Focuses on social and cultural dimensions of religion and spirituality, and also explores relevant political issues. Examines the emergence of secular ideas and practices in Canada since the 19th century and ongoing tensions between religion and secularism. Interactions with gender, class, sexuality, ethnicity, race, indigeneity, regional differences and conflicts rooted in religion and spirituality are central.

Note: Credit will be granted for only one of RCS 326, HSTR 326, RS 326.


RCS 361: Religions of East Asia

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A survey of the religious literature and systematic thought of the traditions of China and Japan, including Confucianism, Doaism, Buddhism and Shinto.

Note: Credit will be granted for only one of RS 361, PAAS 305.


RCS 328: Myth and Theory

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

Note: Credit will be granted for only one of RCS 328, GRS 328, RS 328.

Recomendation: GRS 200 recommended prior to RCS 328.


RCS 337B: Reformation and Religious War in Europe

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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.

Note: Credit will be granted for only one of RCS 337B, HSTR 337B, HSTR 361, RS 337B.


RCS 349: Jews and Christians in the Greek and Roman World

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Introduction to Jewish and Christian history from the fourth century BCE to the fourth century CE. Topics include the Jewish Diaspora, the Jewish revolts against Greek and Roman rule, the missions of Jesus and Paul and the spread and persecution of Christianity. Emphasis on the social, cultural, political and military interactions between Jews, Christians and pagans.

Note: Credit will be granted for only one of RCS 349, GRS 349, RS 349.

Recomendation: One of GRS 100, GRS 101, GRS 102, GRS 201, GRS 202, GRS 331, GRS 341 recommended prior to RCS 349.


RCS 350: Medieval Latin

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Readings are structured around a topic in post-classical Latin literature, with a primary focus on religious texts. Possible topics include: Latin literature of Late Antiquity, medieval epic, Latin lyric of the 12th century, medieval Latin comedy.

Note: Credit will be granted for only one of RCS 350, LATI 250, LATI 350, MEDI 350, RS 350.

Prerequisites: Complete LATI202 - Introduction to Latin Literature or permission of the Greek and Roman Studies Department.


RCS 351: The Transformation of the Late Roman World

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The world of Late Antiquity in the Mediterranean region and the Near East during the period 150-750 CE. Emphasis on Christianization, the shifting role of the central state, the interaction of the Latin-speaking and Greek-speaking worlds and the development of a characteristic Late Antique culture in art and literature.

Note: Credit will be granted for only one of RCS 351, GRS 350, RS 351.

Recomendation: One of GRS 100, GRS 101, GRS 102, GRS 202, GRS 341 recommended prior to RCS 351.


RCS 361: Religions of East Asia

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A survey of the religious literature and systematic thought of the traditions of China and Japan, including Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism and Shinto.

Note: Credit will be granted for only one of RCS 361, PAAS 305, RS 361.

Prerequisites: Complete 1 of: RCS200B - Introduction to Asian Religions, PAAS204 - Introduction to Asian Religions. RS200B - Introduction to Asian Religions


RCS 362: Tibetan Buddhism

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A survey of the main system of Indo-Tibetan religious thought, with reference to primary sources. Traditions covered may include the six orthodox Hindu schools, the various Indian heterodx systmes, Bon and the main branches of Tibetan Buddhism.

Note: Credit will be granted for only one of RCS 362, PAAS 306, RS 362.

Prerequisites: omplete 1 of: PAAS204 - Introduction to Asian Religions, RCS200B - Introduction to Asian Religions, RS200B - Introduction to Asian Religions.


RCS 363: The Buddhist Tradition

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Covers the development of Indian Buddhism from a doctrinal and historical perspective, beginning with the historical Buddha (c. 500 BCE) and ending with the period of Buddhism's first transmission to Tibet (c. 800 C.E.). Examines the philosophical perspectives found in the texts of a number of prominent schools including the Theravāda, Sarvāstivāda, Madhyamaka and Yogācāra.

Note: Credit will be granted for only one of RCS 363, PAAS 363, RS 303 (if taken in the same topic), RS 363.


RCS 365: 17th-Century Poetry and Prose in an Age of Revolution

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A study of how writers in 17th-century England responded to and participated in significant changes in science, politics, religion and art by re-imagining anew their Christian and classical inheritance. Authors to be studied include John Donne, Ben Jonson, Aemelia Lanyer, George Herbert, Andrew Marvell, Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, Sir Thomas Browne, Margaret Cavendish and others working in poetry and prose.

Note: Credit will be granted for only one of RCS 365, ENGL 361, ENGL 365, RS 303 (if taken in the same topic), RS 365.


RCS 369: Milton's Major Poetry and Selected Prose

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A study of Paradise Lost, Samson Agonistes and other poems and prose.

Note: Credit will be granted for only one of RCS 369, ENGL 369, RS 369.


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

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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.

Note: Credit will be granted for only one of RCS 370, HIST 468 (if taken in the same topic), HSTR 370A, RS 370.


RCS 380: Religion and the Making of the Mordern Middle East

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Examines the modern historical contexts within which various religions (e.g., Islam, Judaism, Christianity) and denominations (e.g., Sunni, Shi'a) have overlapped with, and been mobilized by state as well as non-state actors across the broader region. Comparative study of relevant developments within key countries (e.g., Arab states, Israel, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan), as well as with respect to aspiring nationalist communities (e.g., Palestinians, Kurds) and political or social movements (e.g., Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, ISIS).

Note: Credit will be granted for only one of RCS 380, HIST 443, HIST 468 (if taken in the same topic), HIST 469 (if taken in the same topic), HSTR 380, HSTR 479, RS 380.


RCS 381: Globalization and Religion

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Examines how scholars account for simultaneous worldwide religious resurgence and economic globalization.

Note: Credit will be granted for only one of RCS 381, PAAS 307, RS 381.

Prerequisites: Complete Minimum third-year standing and Academic Writing Requirement satisfied or permission of the department


RCS 382: Greek and Roman Religion

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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.

Note: Credit will be granted for only one of RCS 382, CLAS 381, GRS 381, RS 382.

Recomendation: Minimum second-year standing recommended.


RCS 384: Religion in the United States

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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.

Note: Credit will be granted for only one of RCS 384, HIST 318 (if taken in the same topic), HSTR 310E, RS 384.


RCS 390: Experiential Learning

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Students present a project, determined in advance by the department, based on work, study, research, or volunteering while living outside of Canada. Students work with an instructor to identify the nature and amount of work that is expected and what course assessment methods are used before the experiential learning opportunity begins

Note: Credit will be granted for only one of RCS 390, RS 390.


RCS 401: Selected Topics in Religious Studies

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Application of critical and analytic methods in Religious Studies to a particular religious topic. Topics may include: religion and death; religion and environment.

Note: May be taken more than once for credit in different topics with permission of the program to a maximum of 6 units. Credit will be granted only in one of RCS 401, RS 401 (if taken in the same topic).

Prerequisites: Fourth year standing or permission of the department.

Recommended: RS 200A or RS 200B


RCS 403: Studies in Religion and Society

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Course study based on events at or organized by the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society, including weekly lectures by Centre Fellows, daily discussions, distinguished speaker series, faculty symposia and interdisciplinary research projects.

Note: May be taken more than once for credit in different topics with permission of the program to a maximum of 6 units. Credit will be granted only one of RCS 403, RS 403 (if taken in the same topic).

Prerequisites: Please see Academic Calendar for prerequisite list.

Students interested in taking this directed studies course should contact the program for more information: .


RCS 450: Capstone Seminar

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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.

Note: Credit will be granted for only one of RCS 450, RS 450.

Prerequisites: Please see Academic Calendar for prerequisite list.

Students interested in taking this directed studies course should contact the program for more information: .

RCS 464: The Bible and Literature in English

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The relationship between the Bible and the canon of literature in English, and especially intertextual relationships between biblical and literary texts. Topics include the history of biblical translation, the Bible and popular culture, the combination of biblical and classical mythologies in the creation of Western cultural ideals, the impact of biblical interpretation on literary theory. May include literary works by Shakespeare, Milton, Melville, Faulkner, Atwood.

Note: Credit will be granted for only one of RCS 464, ENGL 409, ENGL 464, RS 464.


RCS 479: Religion and State in the Modern Middle East

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Examines the historical junctures and socio-economic conditions in which modern Islamist movements have emerged. Comparative study of the politicization of Christian and Jewish communities in the Middle East (the Arab East, plus Iran, Israel, Turkey) and North Africa; reflection on the political influence of religion in neighbouring areas.

Note: Credit will be granted for only one of RCS 479, HIST 443, HIST 468 (if taken in the same topic), HIST 469 (if taken in the same topic), HSTR 380, HSTR 479, RS 479.

Recomendations: HSTR 112, or HSTR 112A and HSTR 112B recommended prior to RCS 479.


RCS 490: Directed Reading

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Students wishing to pursue a course of directed readings should, together with a faculty member willing to supervise such a course, formulate a proposal describing both the content of the course and a suitable means of evaluating the student's work.

Note: May be taken more than once for credit in different topics with permission of the program to a maximum of 3 units applicable to the major in religious studies. Credit will be granted for only one of RCS 490, RS 490 on the same topic.

Prerequisites: Permission of the program.


RCS 493: Seminar on Buddhism in English

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Buddhist literature from a variety of primary sources. Students will engage in a close reading of selected texts, with additional secondary literature and commentaries.

Note: Credit will be granted for only one of RCS 493, PAAS 493, RS 493.

Prerequisites: Complete 1 of PAAS204 - Introduction to Asian Religions, RCS200B - Introduction to Asian Religions, RS200B - Introduction to Asian Religions or permission of the Pacific and Asian Studies Department.