Graduate Courses

For the must up-to-date list of courses offered each academic quarter, see courses.ucr.edu.

RLST 200A Religion, Politics, and Public Discourse (4) Seminar, 3 hours; extra reading, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor; consent of graduate advisor is required for students repeating the course. Critical examination of the intersections of religious identities and public politics. Topics vary by instructor but might include human rights, “church-state” debates, Islamism, civil religion, and postcolonial religions. Course is repeatable to a maximum of 8 units if taken with different instructors.

RLST 200B Representations, Interpretations, and Critical Histories (4) Seminar, 3 hours; outside research, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor; consent of graduate advisor is required for students repeating the course. A critical examination of how religious identity and religious studies have shaped and been shaped by modes of representation, interpretation, and historical awareness. Specific topics of analysis vary according to instructor but might include biographies, art and architecture, mass media, and scriptural interpretation. Course is repeatable to a maximum of 8 units if taken with different instructors.

RLST 200C Religions in Contact (4) Seminar, 3 hours; extra reading, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor; consent of graduate advisor is required for students repeating the course. A critical examination of how religions confront each other historically, politically, and metaphorically. Specific topics vary according to instructor but might include syncretism, mission and colonization, religious wars, ecumenism, and “world religion” movements. Course is repeatable to a maximum of 8 units if taken with different instructors.

RLST 201 Thinking about Religion: Classic Theories in the Study of Religion (4) Seminar, 3 hours; outside research, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor. A critical study of classic theories and theorists in the study of religion within their historical contexts. Featured thinkers include Frazer, Eliade, Smart, Spinoza, Durkheim, Freud, and Weber. Considers such intellectual movements as Higher Criticism of the Bible, psychoanalysis, phenomenology, and hermeneutics. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor.

RLST 202 Contemporary Theories and Theorists in the Study of Religion (4) Seminar, 3 hours; outside research, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor; consent of graduate advisor is required for students repeating the course. A critical consideration of leading contemporary theories and theorists in religious studies. Selection of theories and theorists changes according to the interests of the instructor. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor. Course is repeatable to a maximum of 16 units if taken with different instructors.

RLST 210 Understanding Theories of Religion (4) Seminar, 3 hours; outside research, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor. Covers the technique and theory of interpreting theoretical texts of the study of religion within historical contexts. Special attention is paid to Charles Taylor’s theory of interpretation in the human sciences and Quentin Skinner’s theory of understanding theoretical ideas. Models are drawn from the literature of the theory of myth, religion, and sacrifice. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor.

RLST 212 The Durkheimian Tradition in the Study of Religion (4) Seminar, 3 hours; outside research, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor. Covers major figures and themes in the Durkheimian approach to the study of religion. Pays special attention to qualitative methods of analysis. Focuses on the Durkheimian development of major religious themes: gift, magic, religion, sacred time and space, and sacrifice. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor.

RLST 220 Advanced Topics in Method and Theory in the Study of Religion (4) Seminar, 3 hours; outside research, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor. An inquiry into the major conceptual issues of the methods and theories employed in the study of religion. Topic varies from quarter to quarter. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor.

RLST 221 The Religious Studies-Theology Debate (4) Seminar, 3 hours; outside research, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor. Addresses current debates concerning the relation of theologies to humanistic studies of religion. Covers neoorthodox, liberal, post-liberal and postmodern theologies as alternatives to varieties of the humanistic study of religion in the public university. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor.

RLST 222 Human Rights as a Moral Discourse (4) Seminar, 3 hours; extra reading, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor. Inquiry into the moral and ethical dimensions of philosophical, religious, legal, and historical traditions of “rights-talk.” Attention paid to conceptual, historical, cross-cultural, and case-study source materials. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor.

RLST 224 Comparative Religious Ethics (4) Seminar, 3 hours; extra reading, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor. Inquiry into a variety of debates about ethics: religious and philosophical, theoretical and applied. Topics may include policy debates about bioethics, moral inquiries into virtue, ethics and minority discourse, violence and nonviolence as means of social change, or fundamental moral problems generated by suffering. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor.

RLST 227 Politics and Religion: From Premodern to Postmodern (4) Seminar, 3 hours; outside research, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor. Examines the relation between politics and religion from premodernity through postmodernity. Topics include the divine right of kings; Machiavelli, Locke, and Hobbes; documents of the American, English, French, and Turkish revolutions; Islamism; secularism; the clash of civilizations; the United states as a Christian nation; and fascism and nationalism as religions. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor.

RLST 228 Lived Religions and Local Faiths: Cultural Approaches to the Study of Religion (4) Seminar, 3 hours; extra reading, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor. Covers ethnographic, anthropological, and other cultural approaches to the study of religion. Traces emergence of the cultural study of religion from colonial encounters to current-day ethnographies of religion. Evaluates risks and promises of ethnography for the study of religion. Includes ethnographic project. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor.

RLST 229 Material Culture of Religion (4) Seminar, 3 hours; extra reading, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor. Examines how material objects complicate oral and textual statements about religious belief and practice. Considers the material dimensions of scripture, ritual objects, and everyday artifacts associated with religion; the agency of objects; and religion and consumer culture. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor.

RLST 230 Theory and Writing on Native American Religious Traditions (4) Seminar, 3 hours; outside research, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor. Theoretical study of Native American religious history, including its research, interpretation, and writing, in relation to colonialism and tribal sovereignty. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor.

RLST 231 Ethnographic Methodology (4) Seminar, 3 hours; outside research, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor. Assists in the design and implementation of sustained field research while engaging various theoretical approaches to ethnographic practice. Provides preparation for or in service of dissertation research. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor.

RLST 234 Popular and Elite Religion (4) Seminar, 3 hours; extra reading, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor. Explores complexity within religious traditions. Analyzes scholarly categories of classification such as popular and elite, sectarian and diffuse, or clerical and lay. Examines methods for the study of popular religion despite scarcity of evidence compared with official sources. Emphasizes content relevant to the expertise of the instructor. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor.

RLST 235 Christian Hagiography (4) Seminar, 3 hours; outside research, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor. Study of the writing of Christian saints’ lives from a cultural perspective. Explores the role of holy men and women in premodern Christianity, with special focus on sanctity, materiality, social formations, and the relation between text and reality. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor.

RLST 236 Gender and Religion (4) Seminar, 3 hours;  extra reading, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor. Examines the role of sex and gender in selected religious beliefs and practices. Topics include gender and divinity; conceptions of the body; femininity and masculinity; marriage; sexuality; and sexual renunciation. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor.

RLST 237 Asceticism (4) Seminar, 3 hours; extra reading, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor. Provides an analysis of the theories and practices associated with bodily renunciation, focused especially on the first Christian centuries. Explores issues such as fasting, sexual abstinence, and social withdrawal from a variety of critical perspectives, with special attention paid to gender, status, and the body in religion. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor.

RLST 238 Religious Images (4) Seminar, 3 hours; outside research, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor. Explores the use of sacred images in spiritual practice in diverse religious traditions. Examines various methods for the study of religious images, as well as the philosophical, theoretical, and theological issues that arise. Includes issues related to representation, perception/ vision, materiality, the power of symbol, and related museographic and curatorial issues. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor.

RLST 239 Ethics and Politics in African American Religious Life (4) Seminar, 3 hours; extra reading, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor. Examines the competing ethical and political orientations of representative religious traditions in the African American community. Uses tools of social/critical theory to dissect various religious formations and movements in terms of social formations, ruling ideas, and economic forces of the dominant culture. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor.

RLST 240 Advanced Topics in the Study of North American Religion (4) Seminar, 3 hours; outside research, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor. Explores major issues in recent scholarship in North American religion. Topics include debates over emerging theories such as narrative and market model approaches; secularism; immigration, race, and ethnicity; religion and national identity formation; religious imagination in regards to border and boundary crossing; and the role of Protestant privilege. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor.

RLST 241 From Text to Scripture: Canon, Performance, Reception (4) Seminar, 3 hours; outside research, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor. Focusing on the Sikh sacred text as a primary example, investigates the intellectual and emotional factors underlying the composition, copying, canonization, and transmission of sacred texts, with attention to issues of production and reception in historical communities. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor.

RLST 245 Via Mystica (4) Seminar, 3 hours; outside research, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor. Examines religious virtuosi in Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism, including Puu Mi Bun, sufis, swamis, saints, and martyrs. Uncovers the close connection between these religions in terms of ritual technology, soteriological goals, meditative practices, and eschatological articulations. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor.

RLST 246 Religious Reading Cultures (4) Seminar, 3 hours; outside research, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor. Examines textual communities and interpretative virtuosi in different religious cultures. Explores the means by which religious scripture is composed, transmitted, translated, illuminated, performed, and preserved in Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. Introduces students to the methodologies and approaches of textual anthropology, intertextuality, homiletics, liturgical studies, performance theory, and philology. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor.

RLST 249 Public Religious Discourses in Modern Islam (4) Seminar, 3 hours; research, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor. Introduces the complexities of contemporary Islam as lived by Muslims in local and global contexts by examining the content and dynamics of modern discussions of religious and social issues in Muslim “public spheres.” Involves primary and secondary sources of information.. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor.

RLST 250 Approaches to Islam in Religious Studies (4) Seminar, 3 hours; outside research, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor. Examines various approaches to the study of Islam. Includes textual, ritual-symbolical, historical, anthropological, sociological, and cultural studies. Also explores orientalism and occidentalism, textuality and orality, sacredness and profanity, orthodoxy and heterodoxy, tradition and modernity, conversion, identity, and media. Utilizes primary works on Islamic scriptures, ritual, and societies. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor.

RLST 252 Southeast Asian Islam (4) Seminar, 3 hours; outside research, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor. Introduction to contextualized readings in translated primary source texts in the fourteenth through the twenty-first centuries from Muslim Southeast Asia. Explores the richness of Islamicate culture in the region through discussions of broader issues of Islam, Muslim societies, and the academic study of religion. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor.

RLST 257 The Sufis (4) Seminar, 3 hours; term paper, 2 hours; extra reading, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor. An introduction to sufism through an in-depth reading of the great Sufi poets. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor. Cross-listed with CWPA 257.

RLST 261 Problems in the Study of Buddhism (4) Seminar, 3 hours; outside research, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor. Examines controversies in the field of Buddhist studies. Topics include the rise of asceticism in India, the composition of the earliest Buddhist texts, the process of transmission of texts and translation problems, the rise of sectarian debate, and women’s role in Buddhist ecclesia. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor.

RLST 263 Historiography of Sikh Hermeneutics (4) Seminar, 3 hours; outside research, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor. Examines the historiography of Sikh hermeneutics, focusing on the historical contexts of various schools of interpretations of the Adi Granth in premodern, modern, and postmodern periods. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor.

RLST 270 Topics in Jewish Studies (4) Seminar, 3 hours; outside research, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor. Examines current problems in the field of Jewish studies. Topics address issues related to memory, identity, economy, power, gender, race, genetics, and culture. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor.

RLST 271 The Nietzschean Tradition in the Study of Religion (4) Seminar, 3 hours; outside research, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor. Studies major themes and thinkers of the Nietzschean approach to and analysis of religion. Focuses on power, epistemology, phenomenology, metaphysics, role playing, and the genealogy of morals. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor.

RLST 272 Jews and the Economy (4) Seminar, 3 hours; outside research, 3 hours. Prerequisite(s): graduate standing or consent of instructor. Surveys facts and fictions about Jews and the economy. Topics include usury, the court Jew, finance, retail and manufacturing, labor movements, organized crime, and culture industries. Addresses select issues of culture and economy, as well as depictions of Jewish money in literature, film, and journalism. May be taken Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC) with consent of instructor and graduate advisor.

RLST 290 Directed Studies (1-5) Outside research,  3-15 hours. Prerequisite(s): consent of instructor and graduate advisor. Advanced work in a topic or topics appropriate to the student’s special interests and needs. Graded Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC). Course is repeatable.

RLST 291 Individual Study in Coordinated Areas (1-12) Individual study, 3-36 hours. Prerequisite(s): consent of instructor; doctoral standing. Program of study designed to advise and assist candidates who are preparing for qualifying examinations. Graded Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC). Course is repeatable.

RLST 292 Concurrent Studies in Religious Studies (1-4) Outside research, 3-12 hours. Prerequisite(s): consent of instructor; concurrent enrollment in a RLST-100 level course. Taken concurrently with a 100-level RLST course, but on an individual basis. Devoted to completion of a graduate paper based on research related to the 100-level course. Faculty guidance and evaluation is provided throughout the quarter. RLST 190, RLST 193, RLST 195, RLST 197, and RLST 198-I may not be used for this course arrangement. Graded Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC). Course is repeatable.

RLST 297 Directed Research (1-6) Outside research, 3-18 hours. Prerequisite(s): consent of instructor; graduate standing. Individualized research under the sponsorship of specific faculty members. Graded Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC). Course is repeatable.

RLST 299 Research for the Dissertation (1-12) Outside research, 3-36 hours. Prerequisite(s): satisfactory completion of the Ph.D. qualifying examination. Research, under the direction of a faculty member, for preparation of the thesis or dissertation. Graded Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC). Course is repeatable.

Professional Course

RLST 302 Teaching Practicum (1-4) Practicum, 3-12 hours. Prerequisite(s): appointment as a Teaching Assistant; graduate standing. Supervised teaching in lower and upper-division Religious Studies courses. Graded Satisfactory (S) or No Credit (NC). Course is repeatable.