Course registration begins August 15.

Please check this page regularly for updates.
Non-RLG Students: For permission to enroll in an RLG course, please bring a completed course add/drop form to the Graduate Administrator.

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DSR Course Descriptions


Method and Theory in the Study of Religion
Tuesday 10-12, UC255

Tuesday 10-12, JHB317

The seminar is the core course of the Department’s doctoral program. It is required of, and limited to, all first year Ph.D. students of the Department. The purpose of the course is to provide doctoral students with a general understanding of the study of religion through constructive engagement with a number of fundamental challenges–theoretical and methodological–that commonly confront researchers in the field. Among the foundational themes to be explored: the ontological specificity of religious phenomena; the peculiarities of religious language, discourse, and worldviews; the varieties of religious institutionalization; the historical transformation and social “embeddedness” of religions; the embodiment of religion; and the constitution of religious selves or actors. To facilitate our seminar engagements with problems of theory, concept-formation, methods, data, and explanation, a number of major interpretive controversies in the study of religion will also be featured.


The MA Method and Theory Group
Wednesday 12-2, UC257

The M.A. Workshop Group is required of all first year M.A students of the Department. M.A. students will meet every week during the first term in a seminar course designed to provide rigorous training in method and theory in the study of religion. Topics considered include: historical development of religious studies, significance and application of interdisciplinary methodologies, key theorists and theoretical controversies.


Directed Reading

RLG1502H Directed Reading
Independent Study Courses

Undertaken in Any Term with Approval

With the approval of the Associate Director, and, in the case of a doctoral student, with the approval of the student’s Advisory Committee as well, a student may construct an independent study course of Directed Reading with a professor who agrees to supervise the work.Normally no more than one full year or two half year courses of this type are permitted in a degree program. These courses may be undertaken during any term, including the summer.

Reading Course Form.

RLG 2000Y

Major MA Research Paper
Prepared Under Direction of a Professor

Major research paper (at least 50 pages) on a topic relevant to the study of religion, prepared under the direction of a professor. By January 30 of the year in which they intend to write the paper, students should identify their topic and secure the approval of the professor who will direct their work on the paper.


Religion and Liberalism
Thursday 10-12, JHB 214

It is sometimes said that there is a close symbiosis between neoliberal economic policies and the increased cultural prominence of religion since the 1970s: religion is the necessary supplement to the restrained neoliberal state; it organizes and supports society from below. To gain critical traction on this apparent symbiosis, this graduate seminar looks to the longer history of liberalism, asking how liberal political thought in its multiple forms has intersected with religion since the early modern period. Through a multidisciplinary approach that draws on intellectual history, political theory, and cultural studies, we will ask how shifts in institutional and media practice inflected the histories of religion and liberalism alike. Readings will focus primarily on the British liberal and neoliberal tradition, from Locke to Thatcher, although with attention to that tradition’s connections to both the Continent and the colonies. The seminar thus aims not only to provide students with thorough grounding in the history of a notoriously slippery term; it also complicates the standard history of liberalism by demonstrating its inseparability from the history of empire.


Natural Law in Judaism
Thursday 9-12, JHB317

This course deals with the question of natural law in the Jewish and Christians traditions. The question for these traditions is: How can a religious tradition, rooted as it is in a particular divine revelation to a particular community, advocate moral norms for all human beings, especially for those who are not part of their tradition and do not want to be part of it? Over and above such texts as the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Talmud, authors such as Philo, Augustine, Maimonides, Aquinas, Albo, and Grotius will be read and discussed. In the second semester, we will also be reading and discussing some more modern Jewish and Christian natural law thinkers. Regular seminar participation plus a 15-20 page term paper each semester are the course requirements.


Comparing Religion
Wednesday 5-7, Carr106

Few methods have been more foundational to the scholarly study of religion, or more subject to searching criticism, than the practice of comparison. This seminar offers an advanced introduction to comparative method in the contemporary academy by means of a close study of 4-6 significant comparative projects published in the last decade. Examples will be drawn from different sub-disciplines of Religion, including but not limited to ritual studies, philosophy of religion, comparative theology and/or ethnography.


Law & Religion: Critical Conversations
Pamela Klassen
Wednesday 4-6pm, JHB318

Combining legal, anthropological, historical, and religious studies analysis, this course goes beyond questions of how law regulates religion to examine how law shapes and understands religion and how religion undergirds, challenges, and exposes the character of law. The course attends to questions of sovereignty, colonialism, secularism, religious and legal ritual, and public debate and deliberation. When possible, the course will be co-taught by faculty in religious studies and in law.


Historiography of Religion
Wednesday 10-12, JHB317

A seminar that examines theories of historical writing through two lenses, by exploring:

  1. the ways historians have examined religious traditions
  2. the ways scholars of religion have employed historical categories

RLG2072HS/ RLG422H1S

Kant’s Theory of Religion
Wednesday 3-5, JHB317

An advanced study of Immanuel Kant’s interpretation of religion, as developed in major writings such as Critique of Practical Reason and Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason. Emphasizes rational ethical criteria as the basis for analyzing the doctrines, symbols, and institutions of historical religions.


Fieldwork in Religious Studies
Monday 3-5, JHB317

This course is designed for MA and PhD students in religious studies whose research involves fieldwork. It addresses current debates about the ethnographic enterprise, as well as practical issues, such as research design, ethical matters, interview techniques, and writing field notes. The course focuses on ethnographic research on religion.


Glen Taylor
Wednesday 11a-1p, Wycliffe College

Relevance of comparative (especially northwest) Semitic philology and historical Hebrew grammar to the exegesis of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and to the teaching of biblical Hebrew. Weekly reading, assignments, term paper/project.


Christianity in the Ancient Near East
Monday 10-12, JHB214

The historical study of Christianity traditionally begins in the eastern Mediterranean and then turns westwards, focusing on the historical and theological development of Christianity in its Greek and Latin contexts. But such an approach paints an extremely partial picture of the development and spread of Christianity in late antiquity and the early medieval period more broadly—one that, for example, completely omits the rich heritage of Christianity in the Syriac tradition. A dialect of Palestinian Aramaic, Syriac was, for several centuries, the preeminent Christian literary language from the Syrian countryside through Mesopotamia to the Iranian plateau. In addition to surveying (in English translation) the unique biblical, theological, liturgical, hagiographical, and historiographical contributions of Syriac-speaking Christians and their literatures from the first centuries of the Common Era up to the early Islamic period, this course will focus on the importance of Syriac and Syriac Christianity as a bridge linking Rome with Persia and Byzantium with Baghdad. As such, some time, too, will be spent examining the history of Christianity in upper Egypt, Ethiopia, and the Arabian Peninsula. This course should thus be of interest to graduate students in a variety of fields, including biblical studies and Christian origins, Christianity in late antiquity, Sasanian/Zoroastrian studies, and early Islam.


Social History of the Jesus Movement
Wednesday 9-12, LA340

Focus on the social setting of the early Jesus movement in Roman Palestine and in the cities of the Eastern Empire.Topics will include: rank and legal status; age and population structure; patronalia and clientalia; family structure; marriage and divorce; forms of association outside the family; slavery and manumission; loyalty to the empire and forms of resistance; legal and social issues concerning women; taxation; the structure of the economy, and how these issues are variously reflected in documents of the early Jesus movement. Open to qualified graduate students and advanced undergraduate students. Graduate students will be expected to read primary texts in the original languages; knowledge of Greek is essential; knowledge of a modern research language (French, German, or Italian) is necessary.


Thursday 2-4

Seminar designed to enlarge students’ understanding of Paul, of scholarship on Paul, and the letter he wrote to the Galatians. This course is designed both to deepen knowledge about Paul, Pauline scholarship and Galatians; and to sharpen students’ research abilities and to provide an opportunity to prepare a trial thesis proposal. Teaching methods include lectures and seminar leadership. Evaluation is based on class presentations and a final project.


Words and Worship
Tuesday 10-12, JHB214

How are we to analyze the words that Christians use? How might oral forms compare with written ones? And how should we understand the relationships between religious language and ritual action without seeing one as merely derived from the other? This course provides the opportunity both to explore theories of language use and to apply them to forms of verbal discourse ranging from prayers, speaking in tongues, and biblical citations to more informal narratives. Protestant and Catholic attitudes to religious language are examined in ways that sometimes reinforce, something challenge, theological distinctions between the two, and there will be the opportunity for students to bring their own texts for analysis. Some techniques for the analysis of ritual texts are explored, and the advantages and disadvantages of close textual analysis are discussed. Although the focus is on Christianity, the aim is to provide methodological and analytical tools that can also be applied to the study of other religions.


Sanskrit Readings
Monday and Thursday 2-4, JHB319

This course will have students read choice pieces of South Asian literature. While tackling a text in simple Sanskrit from a major literary tradition, Buddhist or Hindu, and discussing it’s content and context, students will learn strategies for translating and interpreting Sanskrit literature.


Buddhist Cannon
Tuesday 3-5, JHB319

his course examines the historical development of the Buddhist canon across Asian traditions, including the transmitted Buddhist canons of South, Southeast, and East Asia. The course will explore the central role of the canon within Buddhist institutional history, as well as its centrality in the field of Buddhist studies. In addition, the course will emphasize the role of extra-canonical finds in the study of Buddhist traditions, and provide the basic tools and methods necessary for original research on Buddhist textual traditions across Asia.


Special Topics in Islamic Studies (Religion and the Liberal State: The Case of Islam)
Mohammad Fadel
Tuesday 10:30-12:20, J130
Course begins on September 6.

Students should contact the instructor in advance to obtain the syllabus before the first week.

This seminar will address, as a theoretical matter, the relationship of religion to a liberal state, with particular attention to the writings of John Rawls as set forth in Political Liberalism and leading “religion” cases law from Canada, the United States and the European Court of Human Rights that address the relationship of religion and a liberal constitutional order. The course will also provide an introduction into classical and modern Islamic thought on the State.


Islamicate Material Cultures
Wednesday 3-5, JHB214

This course examines the role of things, practices, circulation, space, and embodiment have played a critical role in shaping material forms of religious culture to reveal the historically contingent nature of trans-local practices in Muslim history. As Muslims settled beyond the Arab core In Iberia, South Asia, China, Iran, and Sub-Saharan Africa, we will focus on issues of repurposing and reuse of objects and space and questions of ownership, gifting and alienability, and the many lives of an object. We will examine such topics as relics, re-use/appropriation of sacred spaces/objects, amulets, and tombs. Primary sources for this course will include the Islamic collection at the Royal Ontario Museum and the Aga Khan Museum.


Monday 2-4, UCB203

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.


The Jewish Legal Tradition
Thursday 12-2, Bancroft 313

This graduate course is designed to deepen the student’s abilities to deal with Jewish legal texts, most particularly the Babylonian Talmud. The significance of philology and relocation criticism in outlining the history of halakha as well as historicist division between Tannaim and Amoraim, Amoraim and Stammaim will be explored. Regnant positions of Rosenthal, HaLivni, Friedman, and others serve as a background to a critique of contemporary scholarship. Judicious use will be made of codes such as Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah and the Rabbi Joseph Caro’s Shulhan Arukh and their super commentaries. The topics explored vary from year to year and student to student and are subject to negotiations dependent on mutual interest. Ability in source languages is a prerequisite.


Readings in Jewish Literature
Tuesday 9-11

A study of selected Jewish literature from the Second Temple period. To provide thematic unity to our reading, we will pay particular attention to issues of Jewish self-definition and identity within the Greco-Roman world, and to the range of Jewish attitudes toward “the nations” and their place in Jewish frames of reference


Newar Religion
Monday 10-12, JHB319

An academic legend recounts that if you ask a Newar whether he is Hindu or Buddhist the answer is yes. The course deals with the problem of how to study religions which coexist and compete with each other by replacing and replicating practices in a densely populated environment over a very long period of time such as the Kathmandu Valley, thus creating shifting coordinates of religious identification. The course will try to understand these historical processes from the perspective of one specific Nepalese community engaging in unique local forms of Buddhism and Hinduism while trans-regionally employing Indian, Burmese and Tibetan agents. The course will be conducted as a seminar grounded on Newar primary sources in translation, literary and art historical studies as well as recent anthropological research. The required preparatory reading is David Gellner, The Anthropology of Buddhism and Hinduism. Weberian Themes. Delhi: Oxford University Press 2001.


The Vedas
Wednesday 12-2, NF8

Advanced study in specialized topics on Hinduism such as Ramayana in Literature: This course explores how this conception is the result of a historical process by examining documentable transformations in the reception of the Ramayana. Our focus will be on the shift in the classification of the Ramayana from the inaugural work of Sanskrit literary culture (adi-kavya) in Sanskrit aesthetics to a work of tradition (smrti) in theological commentaries, the differences between the Ramayanas ideal of divine kingship and medieval theistic approaches to Ramas identification with Visnu, the rise of Rama worship, and the use of Ramas divinity in contemporary political discourse.


Vedanta Through the Ages
Thursday 10-12, JHB319

survey of Vedantic thought beginning with the classical commentaries on the Brahmasutras (such as those of Sankara, Ramanuja etc.) and ending with neo-Vedanta in the writings of Dayananda Saraswati, Sri Aurobindo and Radhakrishnan.

RLG 4001H

Directed Reading: TST Seminar

Reading course designators for those who wish to take appropriate, upper level Toronto School of Theology Courses.

Reading Course Form

RLG 4004H

Once General Exams are completed, students in the PhD program are required to participate at least once in the Department for the Study of Religion’s colloquium before undertaking their final oral exams. The colloquium participation is recorded as a credit/non credit on the transcript.


Postsecular Political Thought: Religion, Radicalism, and the Limits of Liberalism
Tuesday 4-6, JHB317

This seminar in theory examines the postsecular as a series of questions opened by the so-called return of religion to public debate, the rise of politicised religious movements, and the limits of liberal democracy’s ability to respond to the challenge of religion and religious otherness. The course will examine the debates on religion’s public, political role as articulated by thinkers such as Habermas, Rawls, Brown, Zizek, et al by focusing on politically radical or revolutionary challenges to liberalism that are grounded upon or draw their inspiration from religious traditions, doctrines and practices. We will focus especially on challenges emerging from the colonial and post-colonial world in response to colonialism and the globalization of liberal democracy and capitalism, from thinkers such as Ghandi, Qutb, Ali Shariati, Gutierrez, recent contributions by postcolonial theorists to a ‘postsecular’ debate that is dominated by Western thought, as well as examining forms of globalized ‘fundamentalist’ thought.

Toronto School of Theology Courses

This is a list of 5000 level TST courses taught by DSR cross appointed faculty. For purposes of SGS registration these courses are assigned a Departmental designation of RLG4001H.
TRT 5671H
Cross-cultural Religious Thought
A. Khan
Monday 11a-1p, Trinity College
PRE-REQUISITES: A course in theology or philosophy of religion. CREDITS: One Credit

An examination of the idea of self in Hinduism and Islam through representative contemporary thinkers Rabindranath Tagore and Muhammad Iqbal respectively. How is self understood? What is its relation to the ideas of person and personal identity? What are the philosophical and theological presuppositions of the idea of self? Answers are supplemented by classical and other contemporary writings of the religious tradition in question, thereby accessing the worldview associated with that tradition. Introductory lecture, weekly student presentations and discussions or assigned readings.

Nietzsche, Foucault and the Genealogical Approach to the History of Philosophy
R. Sweetman
Tuesday 9:30a-12:30p, Institute for Christian Studies

This seminar examines that philosophical approach to the history of philosophy that travels under the name of genealogy. It does so in terms of close readings of selected texts of the tradition’s two major figures: Friederich Nietzsche and Michel Foucault against the backdrop of a number of ancient and medieval examples of protreptic rhetoric. It thereby attests the thesis that contemporary genealogy is the latest manifestation of the protreptic tradition in the history of philosophy, i.e., a deliberative rhetoric designed to exhort recipients to turn (convertere) from harm to health, from falsehood to truth, from the base to the noble.

Religious Pluralism as Theological Challenge
A. Khan
Monday 2-4p, Trinity College

Challenges of religious pluralism to Christianity appearing from outside Christianity, and responses to it. How do other world religious traditions think about Christianity or religions for that matter? What are the theoretical problems of religious pluralism and the response to them from within Christianity?

Methods for exploring Religious Experience
C. Shantz
Thursday 11a-1p, St. Michael’s College

Acts of prayer, collective effervescence, ritual action, ecstatic experiences have all left a mark in early Judaism and Christianity. However, despite the importance of religious experience to these historical movements, scholarship has been reluctant to explore these phenomena in their own right. The course explores various methodologies, and the theories underlying them, as they are relevant to religious experience. Topics include ritual, emotion, metaphor, and identity. Together we will consider the relationship between the methods and our research questions. Although the examples in the course readings will be drawn primarily from Biblical and contemporary material, students are welcome to explore sources from other historical periods.

Paul: Methodological Problems
L. Vaage
Wednesday 11a-1p, Emmanuel College

This course complements EMB5703 (Paul’s Biographical Problems); though it may be taken independently. Pursued will be problems related to the manuscript tradition of the corpus paulinum; historical authenticity, literary unity, and chronology of the individual writings; scribal and other interpolations.

Isaiah and Prophecy in Early Judaism and Christianity
J. Newman
Tuesday 9-11a, Eammanuel College

The course considers the various ways in which the medium of prophecy is transformed in the post-exilic period, particularly as this relates to the retrieval and extension of Isaianic traditions. The course will focus on the exilic and post-exilic editing of the book of Isaiah and the deployment of Isaiah traditions in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament.

Kierkegaard’s Studies
A. Khan
Monday 2-4p, Trinity College

Central ideas in the Kierkegaard corpus and their relevance to contemporary theological and philosophical concerns.

Rhetoric as Philosophy from Isocrates to the Age of Abelard and Heloise
R. Sweetman
Tuesday 9:30a-12:3p0, Institute for Christian Studies

This seminar examines that philosophical approach to the history of philosophy that travels under the name of genealogy. It does so in terms of close readings of selected texts of the tradition’s two major figures: Friederich Nietzsche and Michel Foucault against the backdrop of a number of ancient and medieval examples of protreptic rhetoric. It thereby attests the thesis that contemporary genealogy is the latest manifestation of the protreptic tradition in the history of philosophy, i.e., a deliberative rhetoric designed to exhort recipients to turn (convertere) from harm to health, from falsehood to truth, from the base to the noble.

These 6000 level Toronto School of Theology courses may be taken as a Directed Reading Course (RLG1501/2) but students should speak with the DSR Graduate Director before enrolling.
Classics of Christian Spirituality
M. Stoeber
Monday 5-7p, Regis College

The course develops major themes in the history of Christian spirituality, through a close reading of selections by Plato, Origen, Pseudo-Dionysius, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St. Gregory of Palamas, Julian of Norwich, St. Ignatius of Loyola, and Dorothy Day.

Foundations in the Psychology of Counselling
M. Hewitt
Tuesday 2-4p, Trinity College

Foundations in the psychology of pastoral counselling, emphasizing the interpersonal, intersubjective and relational dynamics operative in the dyad in a faith-based context. Focus of the course will be on case studies where students will examine multiple perspectives of effective communication in the pastoral setting. Strong focus heightened awareness of not only what persons seeking counseling brings to the relationship, but equally important, on what the counselor brings, and the multiple levels of conscious and unconscious communication mobilized in therapeutic encounters.

Religion, Life and Society: Reformational Philosophy
R. Sweetman
Monday 1:45-4:45p, Institute for Christian Studies

An exploration of central issues in philosophy, as addressed by Herman Dooyeweerd, Dirk Vollenhoven, and the Amsterdam School of neoCalvinian thought. The course tests the relevance of this tradition for recent developments in Western philosophy. Special attention is given to critiques of foundationalism, metaphysics, and modernity within reformational philosophy and in other schools of thought.

Paul’s Ethics
A. Jervis
Thursday 9-11a, Wycliffe College

This seminar course will provide an introduction to Paul’s ethical thinking in the context of the theological fabric of his thought. It will provide an opportunity to read some of the great commentators on Paul’s ethics and to discuss the interrelationship between Paul’s ethics and his theology.

Spirituality and Suffering
M. Stoeber
Wednesday 11a-1p, Regis College

critical exploration of religious responses to suffering. Focal issues will include the relation of love and spiritual transformation to suffering, the role of religious models or exemplars of suffering, and religious experience and the problems of theodicy. Readings will include works by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Dorothee Soelle and Simone Weil, as well as other selections drawn from the Christian, Buddhist, and Jewish traditions.

Issues in the Philosophy of Religion and The Brothers Karamazov
M. Stoeber
Thursday 4-6p, Regis College

This course explores issues in the philosophy of religion, with special reference to The Brothers Karamazov. Major themes include: the existence and nature of God, religious language, religious experience, faith and reason, the problem of evil, religion and morality, and afterlife beliefs. Readings include Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov and selections from theologians and philosophers of religion.

Other Courses of Interest

All details concerning course offerings cross-listed from other departments should be checked with the relevant academic department as changes can occur which may not be reflected in our listing.

For further information on graduate courses offered by the Department of Anthropology please visit their website.

ANT 6030H
Anthropology and the Ethical Imagination
J. Sidnell
Thursday 2-4p, Location TBA

Through a reading of three ethnographies along with some classic and recent writing in philosophy and social theory, this course considers what has been described to as “the ethical turn” in contemporary social and cultural anthropology. The course is organized around a series of questions. What is ethics and how can we distinguish it from morality or, indeed, from sociality and social norms? What, if any, importance do philosophical theories such as utilitarianism, Kantian deontology and virtue ethics have for the anthropologist? How are “big ethical questions” (e.g. abortion, war, punishment, human rights) related to the ethics of everyday life? What does it mean to live ethically or to live an ethical life? In what ways do persons contribute to their own constitution as ethical subjects? Can we discern in the social lives of the people we study distinctively ethical projects as opposed to political or aesthetic ones? What role does self-reflection play in our lives as social beings, i.e. is ethical thought necessarily self-reflective? What are the limits of social life and how do ethical projects that have as their goal detachment, renunciation, self-effacement or self-abnegation fit with broader social norms? Is it possible (or advisable) to adopt a relativist perspective on ethical life? What is the relation between ethics and religion? How did selflessness and altruism come to occupy a central place within much ethical thinking?

ANT 6059H
Anthropology of History
I. Kalmar
Tuesday 1-3p, NF008

Historical perspectives in anthropology and ethnographic approaches to the archive. Of special interest in 2016-17 will be what might be called genealogies of exclusion. We study the history of the closely related constructions of race, religion, language, culture, and nation (and implicitly related constructions like gender) starting from the late eighteenth century, and then examine the traces and transformations of that history, as recognized in contemporary anthropological work in postcolonial societies and among indigenous populations and migrants in the West.

ANT 6055H
Anthropology of Subjectivity and Personhood
Napolitano/ Daswani
Monday 12–3p, AP 367

ANT 6018H
Approaches to Nature and Culture
H. Cunningham
Wednesday 6–8p, TC 22

“Nature,” Raymond Williams wrote in Keywords, “is perhaps the most complex word in the language.” He notes that “…any full history of the uses of nature would be a history of a large part of human thought” (1987:219-21). This course explores the ways in which the category of “nature” has been generated, contested, and re-fashioned by various thinkers who, in large part, make up a “canon” (i.e., an “assemblage”) of environmental thought. Through readings that encompass often quite substantially different approaches, this course seeks to engender discussion and debate about “nature” and its relation to other key concepts and approaches in social theory. Although the course adopts a roughly chronological and thematic framework, the readings have been specifically selected to draw out and investigate the contributions of different voices, and, consequently, to invite students into conversations with them. The course deliberately engages with fiction and non-fiction and explores analytical themes of “borders,” “interfaces” and “entanglements”—that is, boundary-making as itself a multi-faceted encounter with “nature” and one which ultimately generates certain types of human-nature interactions while excluding or marginalizing other kinds. Because “borders” can encompass geophysical spaces, metaphysical categories, ecological zones, as well as human and non-human actors, we will be focusing on “nature” itself as a kind of borderscape.

ANT 6021H
Political Anthropology: State, Power and Sovereignty
A. Muehlebach
Wednesday 10a–12p, AP 367

This course examines anthropological approaches to the production and reproduction of political power, authority, and legitimacy. Traditionally, anthropology sought to approach the study of political processes from the perspective of “stateless” societies. The goal was to destabilize ideas of “the state” by studying how people organize their political lives at its margins. Anthropologists have more recently begun to explore different modalities and histories of statehood and statecraft as well as questions of state absence and abandonment, including alternative forms of sovereignty, violence, and benevolence in different parts of the world. Readings may rang e from classical ethnographies of “stateless” societies to contemporary explorations of genealogies of power/knowledge, the interplay of formal/informal sovereignties, and how such forms of authority unfold through micro-political practices. The course should be of interest to M.A. and PhD students seeking a deeper understanding of the structures of authority that shape their own lives and the lives of the people they study.

Book History and Print Culture
For further information on graduate courses offered by Book History and Print Culture, please visit their website.
Centre for Comparative Literature
For further information on graduate courses offered by the Centre for Comparative Literature please visit their website.
Gender, Agency and Life Writing
Tuesday 3–5p

In this course, we will focus on issues that are situated at the intersection of four major trends in contemporary feminist literary studies : 1) the unprecedented interest in autobiographical writings, sparked by a profusion of the actual publication of such texts and by the development of a large body of criticism dealing with the numerous forms of life writing; 2) the rapid evolution of specifically feminist theories of autobiography (Gilmore, Smith, Watson) over the past twenty years; 3) current feminist theories of agency and subjectivity (Butler, Druxes, Mann); 4) the recent theoretical inquiry into the category of gender (Butler, Robinson, Scott), especially as it is represented in the literary text.

Critical Theory – The French-German Connection
Wednesday 3–5p

This course examines central theoretical issues in contemporary thought with particular attention to the role that the “Frankfurt School” and its affiliates such as Benjamin, Kracauer, Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse, Habermas and others play in the context of modern German social and cultural thought. In France, thinkers like Levinas, Foucault, and Derrida respond to this tradition and enrich it. The course explores in which way the continuing dialogue between these thinkers informs current critical approaches to rethinking issues and concerns such as theorizing modernity, culture, secularization, multiculturalism, and the vital role of cultural difference.

Literature of Contact and Anthropological Thought 16th-18th Century
A. Motsch
Tuesday 11a-1p

This course analyzes the link between contact literature (travel literature, discovery literature, colonial literature) and the establishment of modernity and its discourses of knowledge. Taking into account the philosophical and political debates between the 16th and 18th century, the course seeks to account for the European expansion, in particular the colonization of the Americas, and the emergence of discourses of knowledge about other cultures. Two aspects ought to be singled out here: the knowledge produced about «others» and the new consciousness of Europe’s own identity which was profoundly transformed in this very contact. The course follows the hypothesis that the philosophical and modern definition of modern Man is itself a result of the contact between Europe and its others. The discussions of the texts privilege epistemological aspects and anthropological and political thought. More precisely, the goal is to trace the various ways the emergence of the modern subject is tied to its construction of alterity. Literary texts for example will therefore be questioned about their social and political dimensions within the episteme of the time. A prominent issue will be the intercultural dynamic between the 16th and 18th centuries between Europe and the rest of the globe, but also within Europe itself. The development of new discourses of knowledge will involve texts of very different nature : literary, ethnographic, political, philosophical, historical, etc. Other aspects to be discussed are the issue of literary genres and canon formation, the conditions which make anthropological writing possible and the conceptualization of the «other» (ethnicity, race, religion, gender, etc.)

JFC 5025H
Feminism and Postmodernism: Theory and Practice
B. Havercroft
Tuesday 3-5p

This course will examine the complex and controversial relationship between feminism and postmodernism, as this encounter is staged in both theoretical and fictional writings. While many of the «canonical» theoretical texts on postmodernism were penned by male scholars (Lyotard, Baudrillard, Vattimo, Hassan, Scarpetta, etc.), who largely ignored questions of feminism, gender, and women’s artistic practices, feminist critics (Jardine, Butler, Suleiman, Nicholson, Yeatman, and others) soon intervened in the debate. As these latter theoreticians demonstrated, many of the notions characterizing postmodern theories and literary texts were in fact concerns common to feminist thought : the crisis of patriarchal master narratives and the ensuing emphasis on localized, small narratives; the criticism of binary, hierarchical oppositions (center/margin, life /art, culture /nature, mind/body, masculine/feminine); the endeavour to privilege the heterogeneous, the plural, and the hybrid; and the problematization of the subject, of representation, and of language. Doubtful as to whether disseminated subjects are capable of agency and effective political action, other feminist scholars (di Stefano, Hartsock) still question the possibilities of constructive intersections between feminism and postmodernism. Drawing on the principal feminist theories in the postmodern debate, we will study the contentious theoretical issues outlined above, before turning to an analysis of an international corpus of postmodern literary narratives written by women, which construct « strategic subjectivities » (Kaplan) and « forms of common action » (Mouffe), combining ethical perspectives and aesthetic experimentation. Our close readings of these texts will pay careful attention to textual devices typical of postmodern texts (see Hutcheon), such as the extensive use of intertextuality, the recycling and rewriting of mythological, religious, and historical figures and events, the questioning of major binary oppositions underpinning Western thought, genre hybridity, the representation of the author in the text, and so on.

For further information on graduate courses offered by the Classics Department please visit their website.
Apuleius Apology
A. Bendlin
Thursday 9a-12p, LI220

This reading seminar offers a close reading of Apuleius’s Apology, the published version of a defense speech pro se de magia the author purportedly delivered in ca. 158/9 CE in the town of Sabratha in Africa Proconsularis. The seminar investigates the text’s cultural and religious context, but we will also consider a range of related texts on “magic” and criminal procedure in the Roman imperial world (excerpts from Apuleius’s Metamorphoses, Pliny’s Natural History, Tacitus’ Annals, the pertinent juristic texts, inscriptions, etc.).

Topics in Roman History: Orientalism and the Classics
K. Blouin
Thursday 1-4p, LI103

The concept of Orientalism was developed by the literary scholar Edward Said who, in his seminal work Orientalism (1978), defined it as “the corporate institution for dealing with Orient – dealing with it by making statements abot it, authorizing views of it, describing it, by teaching it, settling it, ruling over it: in short, Orientalism [is] a Western style for dominating, restructuring, and having authority over Orient”. Starting from a careful reading of Said’s work and of the scholarly and popular responses it led to, this seminar will reflect on the many ways in which Orientalism has shaped the field we call Classics. Issues to be discussed include ancient Orientalism, the relationship between Orientalism and the development of Classics as a discipline, Antiquity as a “chronological Orient”, and the origin, role, and significance of ancient topoi linked to the “Other” in contemporary discourses. Weekly readings will include modern scholarship and ancient, written and material primary evidence. Students in Classics are expected to read ancient Greek and Latin texts in the original language, while students from other departments who do not master these languages will be provided with translations.

Roman Networks
C. Fulton
Monday 3-6p, LI103

During the first centuries CE, the reach of the Rome Empire was constantly being extended and contested, yet it was also maintained by cross-cultural connections that spanned the Mediterranean Sea, North Sea, Red Sea, Black Sea, and Indian Ocean, in addition to many overland trade routes. Scholarship has sought to understand these connections and elucidate the spread of certain phenomena through network-based approaches. This seminar addresses questions such as: How were these networks developed and maintained? What entities were moved along networks? What were the consequences? After discussing current approaches to networks, this seminar will examine the objects, people, and ideologies transported around the Mediterranean. Case studies will explore (1) the incorporation of luxuries from Greece and the Near East into Roman usage, (2) changes in Roman attitudes towards Egyptian culture alongside changes in Egyptian practices, and (3) the negotiation of identity as a result of interactions between Rome and the western provinces. We will draw on evidence from epigraphic sources, ancient authors, and archaeological sites to tease apart the complex interrelationships of identity, religion, economy, and politics that were intertwined through Roman networks.

School of Environment
For further information on graduate courses offered by the School of the Environment please visit their website.

Capitalist Nature: A Political Ecology
Tuesday 12-3p, ES 1042

This course is concerned with exploring the idea of “capitalist nature”. Specifically, the course is based on five central questions: (i) What are the unique political, ecological, and geographical dynamics of environmental change propelled by capital accumulation and the dynamics of specifically capitalist forms of “commodification”? (ii) How and why is nature commodified (however partially) in a capitalist political economy, and what are the associated problems and contradictions? (iii) How do the contemporary dynamics of environmental change and environmental politics shape and help us understand transformations in markets, commodity production regimes, and capitalist social relations and institutions more broadly? (iv) How can we understand the main currents of policy and regulatory responses to these dynamics? (v) How do dominant ideas about nature (non-human as well as human) reflect, reinforce and subvert capital accumulation?

For further information on graduate courses offered by the English Department please visit their website.
Realism in the Time of the Anthropocene
Wednesday 6–8p, JHB 617

What does literary realism look like in the time of the anthropocene? If the anthropocene is a truly “anti-anthropomorphic concept,” as Timothy Morton states, then it suggests the world is one in which the fate of humanity is deeply imbricated with the fates of many other entities. Moreover, it is one in which we can no longer take for granted the bifurcation between humans and nature (between masterful, intentional agents and the stable background of the natural world) and, therefore, entails finding ways to conceive of the world as both constructed and real. This seminar examines how contemporary novels develop new modes of realism in response to the conditions of life in the anthropocene. Though we will be primarily interested in how new concepts of agency, causality, and ontology implicit in many theories of the anthropocene challenge and alter the practices of literary realism, we will also examine how novels themselves offer valuable resources and narrative models consonant with the project of an anti-anthropomorphic realism.

Monuments of Modernism
Monday 2-4p, UC255

Modernism is much more than a literary period—it’s a capacious, abstract field that also refers to movements in art, architecture, music, and thought that resist straightforward historical understanding and precise definition. So this course will serve as a graduate-level introduction to the intricacies and varieties of modernism and its elusive, tricky “spirit.” We’ll orient ourselves in this vast field by closely reading its enduring major canonical literary works in English: James Joyce’s Ulysses; Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway; T. S. Eliot’s The Wasteland; William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!; Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons; and Ezra Pound’s The Cantos.

For further information on graduate courses offered by the Department of History please visit their website.
Religion and Society in Southeast Asia
Tuesday 1–3p

HIS 1234H-F
Readings in Early Modern French History
P. Cohen
Tuesday 10a-12p

This course is designed to introduce students to fundamental questions in the history of early modern France, as well as help prepare students for examination fields in early modern European history. Students will examine a series of key themes and important primary and secondary texts as an avenue into critical reflection on the political, religious and social history of France in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Of particular interest will be the institutions of the Renaissance monarchy, the causes and consequences of the Wars of Religion, historiographical debates surrounding the development of the absolutist state, the social history of war, and the intersection of social change, political history and religious life. All assigned course reading will be in English. Students will write one short book review and a longer essay analyzing a substantial primary text (or series of documents).

Topics in Early Modern European Social History
Thursday 4–6p

How do concerns about purity, contagion, and purgation come to shape intellectual frameworks, social expectations, and political actions in the Renaissance and Reformation? From the fifteenth century, new social, religious, and political tensions brought Europeans into closer contact with other ethnic, racial, and religious groups, and led them to frame identity in more oppositional and exclusive terms. Since society was often described in terms of bodily metaphors, how did medical images and cure inform political action, particularly when these are violent? How do Europeans define, accommodate, repel, or integrate Others – whether these be Turks, the poor, criminals, heretics, aboriginals, slaves? How often do we find individuals or groups crossing the ever-growing boundaries and maintaining connections with those they are supposed to shun?

HIS 1283H
Crusades, Conversion and Colonization in the Medieval Baltic
J. Kivimae
Thursday 5-7p

This seminar will explore the impact of crusades, religious conversion and colonization on medieval Baltic history. The focus of the course will be on close reading and analysis of the Chronicle of Henry of Livonia in English translation. Our readings and discussions will include topics such as crusades and violent conversion, medieval colonialism, Europeanization as well as German expansion eastwards, the role of the Teutonic Knights and the strategies of survival of the native Baltic people after conquest and Christianization.

HIS 1830H
Critical Approaches to Historical Anthropology
M. Kasturi
Wednesday 11a-1p

‘Historical anthropology’ as a distinct, appealing and influential mode of enquiry seeking to combine historical and anthropological approaches to analyse social and cultural processes through time, emerged from important dialogues and engagements between historians and anthropologists over the past three decades. Through a critical examination of the propositions of ‘historical anthropology’, the course will probe how its practitioners have grappled with the constitutive, if problematic relationships between ‘culture’, power and history and ethnography and the ‘archive’. Equally, it will assess the extent to which historical anthropology has elaborated new research methodologies, shaped historiography and facilitated conversations and encounters between disciplines. In this regard, course readings will draw attention to recent strategies proffered by scholars grappling with the possibilities and dilemmas of historical anthropology in spaces deeply marked by colonialism, nationalism and globalisation like South Asia. Course materials will draw upon, but will not be limited to readings from South Asia

History and Philosophy of Science
For further information on graduate courses offered by the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology please visit their website.
Italian Studies
For further information on graduate courses offered by Italian Studies please visit their website.
Renaissance Italian Theatre
Tuesday 2-4p, NF235

The course will examine public and private spectacle in 15th/16th-century Italy in the light of its social, political, or religious implications. An interdisciplinary approach will be used, stressing not only the literary and dramaturgical aspects of the plays, but also the interaction of the power elites, the role of the individual, and the response of spectators. The course will include a close examination of the place of theatre in the political and cultural power structures of the time. Representative authors to be studied are: Jacopone da Todi, Feo Belcari, Lorenzo de’ Medici, Agnolo Poliziano, Bernardo Dovizi da Bibbiena, Machiavelli, Ariosto, Annibal Caro, Giovan Maria Cecchi, Beolco-Ruzzante, Tasso, Trissino.

Medieval Studies
For further information on graduate courses offered by the Centre for Medieval Studies please visit their website.
MST 3225
Jews and Christians in Medieval and Renaissance Europe;
Wednesday 3–5p, LI 310

MST 3346
Medieval Islamic Philosophy
Wednesday 10a–12p, LI 310

MST 3309
Birth of the Will: Augustine and Anselm
Monday 2–4p, LI 301

MST 3501
Introduction to the Medieval Western Christian Liturgy
J. Haines
Tuesday10a-12p, LI310

This introductory course is designed to supply participants with essential tools for further research in medieval liturgy, regardless of their field of expertise. The first four weeks cover basic aspects of private and public Western Latin worship in the Middle Ages. This is followed by an in-depth study of extant liturgical books, especially those from the thirteenth through the fifteenth centuries. The latter will include hands-on work with liturgical books housed in University of Toronto library collections.

Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations
For further information on graduate courses offered by the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Studies please visit their website.
NMC 1306
Scribes, Manuscripts, and Translations of the Hebrew Bible
Thursday 12–2p, BF 316

This course focuses on text-critical study of the Hebrew Bible, providing an introduction to the manuscript evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Septuagint, the Masoretic text, and the Samaritan Pentateuch, as well as from other ancient sources. Issues pertaining to paleography, orthography, and manuscript production are discussed, as well as processes of textual composition and development, and techniques used by ancient translators (Greek, Latin, etc.). Of particular interest is the state of the biblical text leading to the time of canonization in the first or second century C.E. Elementary Hebrew is a prerequisite and elementary Greek recommended.

Themes in Midrashic Literature
T. Meacham
Wednesday 10a-1p, BF Lib

This course is intended to introduce the student to the exegetical methods of the rabbis in their analysis of concepts related to the Divine, to human beings, and to the Jewish people. The selections are chosen from the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds and midrashic and other rabbinic literature. Close attention will be paid to the literary forms, organization, language, and exegetical techniques of this material. The student will be introduced to concepts of philology, text criticism, and redaction criticism, and become acquainted with the manuscript traditions of the primary text analyzed. The shaping and reshaping of these traditions will be explored through a study of textual parallels. The essential modern debates concerning the text under consideration will inform the background of the study as well as methods to help resolve if possible these scholarly conflicts.

Readings in Qur’an Tafsir
Wednesday 10a-1p, BF Lib

This course is an introduction to the rich literature that has grown around the study of the Qur’an in the Arabic tradition. In addition to readings in the Qur’an students will read selections from works in ma’ani, and majaz; we will then move to the major works in tafsir; selections include material from al-Tabari, al-Tha`labi, al-Zamakhshari, al-Qurtubi, al-Razi, Ibn Taymiyah, and al-Suyuti. The course will culminate in the study of al-Itqan of al-Suyuti. The course will also introduce students to the major reference works that are used for research in this field. Prerequisites: At least two years of Arabic, or advanced reading knowledge, or the permission of the instructor.

Theory & Method in Middle East Studies
M. Tavakoli-Targhi
Thursday 4-8p, BF214

This reading-, speaking-, and writing-intensive course explores the history of the discipline and engages students in ongoing historiographical debates in Near and Middle Eastern Studies. In addition to the emergence of “Oriental Studies” in Europe and North America, students will interrogate the historical connections between the field and other academic disciplines. Particular attention will be paid to the conceptions of time, history, and society, which have played an important role in research and writing on the Middle East. Each student is required to apply the critical approaches and concepts learned in this course to a final historiographical research paper that is directly related to her/his major field of inquiry.

Iranian Modernity
M. Tavakoli-Targhi
Thursday 4-7p, BF214

This seminar explores competing conceptions of Iranian modernity within a comparative historical framework on “multiple modernities.” While interrogating the modernity debate, it explores themes of the development and transformation of public and private spheres, imaginings of the national body and the body social, the themes of secularism and Islamism, rational and religious subjectivities, sexuality and gender, history and memory, revolution and national refashioning, universality and peculiarity, archotopia and heterotopia, and Self and the Other in Iran. A major theme is the exploration of the temporality and historicity in discussions of Iranian modernity. Each student in this course is expected to write a publishable research paper that addresses a significant aspect of Iranian modernity.

Persian Myths, Islamic Legends, Mystical Allegories
M. Subtelny
Monday 2-4p, BF200B

The course examines the ways in which ancient Persian myths and mythological motifs drawn from Zoroastrian cosmology and Iranian epic history were utilized allegorically by such Perso-Islamic philosophers, theosophers, and poets as Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Suhravardi (Shaikh al-Ishraq), and ‘Attar in order to illustrate Islamic theosophical and mystical concepts. The course includes a discussion of tales from the Persian Book of Kings (Shahnama), Qur’anic legends (qisas al-anbiya’), Islamic cosmological doctrines, and Sufism. The main readings will be from the Persian treatises of Suhravardi, hence an adequate knowledge of classical Persian is required. However, students with a background in Arabic and/or Islamic mysticism are encouraged to take the course, as the readings are available in a parallel Persian-English edition: Suhrawardi. The Philosophical Allegories and Mystical Treatises. Ed. and trans. W. M. Thackston. Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda, 1999.

Zoroastrian Apocalyptic Literature: To the Netherworld and Beyond
E. Raffaelli
Thursday 11a-1p, BF TBA

The course studies the Zoroastrian apocalyptic texts that we have received. These texts (composed in the 9th-10thcentury A.D., based on texts written in the Sassanian times, 3rd-7th century A.D.) present divine beings disclosing to human recipients the future developments of history, and the structure of the netherworld. The course also discusses whether apocalyptic texts were produced by Zoroastrians before the Sassanian times, thus constituting a possible source of Judaic apocalypticism.

NMC 2220 Y
Classical Persian Literature
Wednesday 2–5p, BF315

Survey of classical Persian literature from the rise of the New Persian literary language in the 10th century to the 15th century, based on selected readings from representative authors. Since poetry predominates in mediaeval Persian literary production, most of the course will be given over to the study of such poets as Rudaki, Firdausi (Shah-nameh), Khaqani, Nizami, Sa‘di, Rumi, Hafiz, and Jami. Students will be introduced to the Arabo-Persian prosodial system and Persian rhetorics. Interspersed throughout the course will be readings from Persian prose works relating to mediaeval literary criticism and the biographies of poets, such as Nizami Aruzi’s Chahar maqalehand Daulatshah’s Tazkirat al-shu ‘ara.

For further information on graduate courses offered by the Department of Philosophy please visit their website.
Islamic Philosophy
Wednesday 10a–12p

An introduction to the major figures and themes in classical Islamic philosophy from the 9th to the 12th centuries, with a focus on the works of Al-Kindi, Al-Farabi, Avicenna, and Averroes. We will consider a range of philosophical problems, principally in the areas of metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and epistemology. Among the issues to be considered are the relations between religion and philosophy, proofs for the existence of God, creation and causality, and the nature of soul and intellect.

Political Philosophy – Seminar on The Idea of the Social Contract
Thursday 12–3p

The seminar will deal with the idea of the social contract, which posits that the fundamental relationship of individual persons and society is constituted by a contract between the two parties. Only parties to the social contract are thereby entitled to make political and legal claims upon each other. This idea has been ubiquitous in western political philosophy from early modernity until the present day, even though it has ancient versions. Readings for the seminar will be selected from the writings of Plato, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Rousseau, and Rawls.

For further information on graduate courses offered by the Department of Sociolgoy please visit their website.

Language Courses

NMC 1004Y
Intermediate Sumerian
A Beaulieu
Wednesday 9a-12p, BF 308

NMC 1100Y
Introduction to Aramaic
A. Harrak
Monday ∓ Wednesday 4-5:30p, BF 315

NMC 2100Y
Introductory Standard Arabic
A.K. Ali
Monday & Wednesday 10a-12p, Friday 10a-11p, BF 215

NMC 2101Y
Intermediate Standard Arabic I
A.K. Ali
Monday & Wednesday 1-3p, Friday 12-1p, BF 215

NMC 2102Y
Intermediate Standard Arabic II
A.K. Ali
Tuesday & Thursday 10a-12p, Friday 11a-12p, BF 215

NMC 2103Y
Advanced Standard Arabic
A.K. Ali
Tuesday & Thursday 10a-12p, BF 215

NMC 2200Y
Introductory Persian
A. Taleghani
Tuesday 10a-12p, Friday 10a-12p, SS 2127

Reading German for Graduate Students
Tuesday 3-5, CR403

In this course German reading knowledge is taught following the grammar-translation method designed for graduate students from the Humanities. It is an intensive course that covers German grammar with focus on acquiring essential structures of the German language to develop translation skills. The course is conducted in English, and consequently participants do not learn how to speak or write in German, but rather the course focuses exclusively on reading and translating German. Prior knowledge of German not mandatory. By the end of the course, students should be able to handle a broad variety of texts in single modern Standard German. This course is not intended for MA or PhD students in German.

FSL 6000H-F/-S Reading French Course for Graduate Students
Tuesday 4-6p, TF 101
Tuesday 4-6p, TF 101

Open to Masters and PhD graduate students who need to fulfill their graduate language requirement. On a case by case basis, students with prior language qualifications can access the exam-only option (still with course registration) after prior screening by the home department in support of the exam-only option. A grade of Credit/NonCredit (70% is the minimum grade for CR) will be entered on their transcripts. Students are not permitted to audit this course. This course is designed to develop students’ reading skills particularly as they pertain to research interests. Some remedial grammar, but the primary emphasis is on comprehension of a wide variety of texts in French.

MST 1000Y
Medieval Latin I
D. Townsend/S. Ghosh
Monday-Friday 1-2p, LI 301

MST 1000Y
Medieval Latin II
L. Armstrong
Monday-Friday 1-2p, LI 310

MST 1002S
Advanced Latin: The Bible in the Medieval Schools
A. Andrée
Tuesday 10a-12p, LI 310
(PR: Level Two Latin pass or MST 1001Y)

Updated Sept 13, 2016 (Updated RLG3544 and ANTH3055 )
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