Course Descriptions 2019-2020


Note: If this list is in conflict with the Arts & Science timetable, the information on the timetable takes priority.

Additional details about courses can be found on the Arts & Science timetable. *For courses with tutorials, please also see the Arts and Science timetable. Sessional dates are available on the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Sessional Dates website.

UTSC Courses  UTM Courses

100-Level Courses


RLG100Y1-Y World Religions

Term: Year
(This course has a tutorial*)

Description: An introduction to the history, philosophy, and practice of the major religions of the world, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism.

Exclusion: RLG280Y1,RLGA01H3,RLGA02H3.
Note: RLGA01H3 and RLGA02H3 taken together are equivalent to RLG100Y1.
Note: RLG101H5 is not equivalent to RLG100Y1Y.
Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Society and its Institutions (3), Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)


RLG101H1-F Introducing Religion: Reason and Religion in the Modern Age

Term: Fall
(This course has a tutorial*)

Description: An introduction to critical thinking about religion as it took shape in modern European thought. We examine major thinkers such as Baruch Spinoza, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Nietzsche, Hannah Arendt, and others. Issues covered include freedom of thought, the relationship between religion and politics, belief and truth, rational ethics in relation to religious ethics, etc. We explore how issues addressed by these classical authors remain relevant in today’s world.

Distribution Requirement: Humanities

Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)


RLG101H1-S Introducing Religion: Blood, Sex, Drugs

Term: Spring
(This course has a tutorial*)

Description: Religion can be understood as a set of aspirations that manages and moralizes the most intimate matters of social life, including sexual intercourse, bodily fluids, and mind altering substances. This course engages fundamental theories of religion to consider an eclectic set of case studies that troubles a clean divide between purity and danger.

Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

MHB155H1-F Elementary Modern Hebrew I

Term: Fall

Description: Introduction to the fundamentals of Hebrew grammar and syntax. Emphasis on the development of oral and writing skills.

Exclusion: Grade 4 Hebrew (or Grade 2 in Israel)/NML155H1
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

RLG197H1-F Enchantment, Disenchantment, Re-enchantment

Term: Fall
Description: Modernity is associated with disenchantment, secularisation and progress, and has traditionally been understood as the successor to the enchanted, spiritual, and transcendent worldviews of antiquity and the middle ages. Re-enchantment, a term increasingly encountered in popular and academic contexts alike, demonstrates nostalgia for an enchanted past, a discomfort with the modern narrative, and a desire to recover wonder. This course will examine the history of enchantment through a series of readings taken from literature, philosophy, theology, ranging from Plato to contemporary magical realism. Restricted to first-year students. Not available for CR/NCR option.
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

RLG197H1-S Enchantment, Disenchantment, Re-enchantment

Term: Spring
Description: Modernity is associated with disenchantment, secularisation and progress, and has traditionally been understood as the successor to the enchanted, spiritual, and transcendent worldviews of antiquity and the middle ages. Re-enchantment, a term increasingly encountered in popular and academic contexts alike, demonstrates nostalgia for an enchanted past, a discomfort with the modern narrative, and a desire to recover wonder. This course will examine the history of enchantment through a series of readings taken from literature, philosophy, theology, ranging from Plato to contemporary magical realism. Restricted to first-year students. Not available for CR/NCR option.
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

RLG198H1-F Dystopia: Religion & Gender in Science Fiction

Term: Fall
Description: This course will examine the “what ifs” and imagined worlds of ideal utopias and oppressive dystopias through the lens of religion and gender in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland. Because science fiction and utopian/dystopian literature expresses what an author sees as possible or hopes is possible, but also fears is possible, we will consider science fiction as a political and social critique. Themes to be covered include fundamentalism, totalitarianism, the relationship between technology and religion, religion and reproductive rights, and the potential relationship between religion, gender and oppression. Restricted to first-year students. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

200-Level Courses

No 200-series RLG course has a 100-series RLG course prerequisite or co-requisite.

RLG200H1-F Study of Religion

Term: Fall
(This course has a tutorial*)
Description: An introduction to the discipline of the study of religion. This course surveys methods in the study of religion and the history of the discipline in order to prepare students to be majors or specialists in the study of religion.
Prerequisite: Open to Religion Specialists and Majors
Exclusion: RLG200Y1, RLGB10H3, RLG105H5
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

RLG201H1-F Indigenous Religion

Kevin White
Term: Fall
Description: A historical and thematic introduction to Indigenous religions.
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

RLG202H1-F Judaism

Term: Fall

Description:An introduction to the religious tradition of the Jews, concentrating on its ancient roots. Focus on great ideas, thinkers, books, movements, sects, and events in the historical development of Judaism through its formative period, i.e., from Abraham the father of faith and people to the destruction of the second Jerusalem Temple in 70 CE and the “exile” from the Land of Israel.

Exclusion: RLG202H5, RLG202Y1
Recommended Preparation: RLG100Y1/RLG200H1/RLG280Y1
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

RLG203H1-S Christianity

Term: Spring
(This course has a tutorial*)
Description: An introduction to the Christian religious tradition, this course will consider a wide range of themes. These will include key elements, major historical periods, and cover significant concepts, such as mysticism, art, and creation.
Exclusion: RLG203H5, RLG203Y1
Recommended Preparation: RLG100Y1/RLG200H1/RLG280Y1
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

RLG204H1-F Islam

Term: Fall
(This course has a tutorial*)
Description: The faith and practice of Islam: historical emergence, doctrinal development, and interaction with various world cultures. Note: this course is offered alternatively with NMC283Y1, to which it is equivalent.
Exclusion: NMC185Y1, NMC185H1, NMC283Y, RLG204H5, RLG204Y1
Recommended Preparation: RLG100Y1/RLG200H1/RLG280Y1
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

RLG205H1-F Hinduism

Term: Fall
(This course has a tutorial*)
Description: A historical and thematic introduction to the Hindu religious tradition as embedded in the socio-cultural structures of India.
Exclusion: RLG205H5, RLG205Y1
Recommended Preparation: RLG100Y1/RLG200H1/RLG280Y1
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

RLG206H1-S Buddhism

Term: Spring
(This course has a tutorial*)
Description: The development, spread, and diversification of Buddhist traditions from southern to northeastern Asia, as well as to the West.
Exclusion: RLG206H5, RLG206Y1
Recommended Preparation: RLG100Y1/RLG200H1/RLG280Y1
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

RLG208H1-F Sikhism

Term: Fall
Description: This class is an introduction to the historical, cultural, and religious formations of the Sikh tradition. In addition to learning about the various contexts in which Sikhs and other groups have interacted from the early modern period until today, students will use theories and methods in Religious Studies to think critically and to develop skills in close reading of primary sources in translation. The class will also focus on Sikhs in the diaspora with a particular attention to Sikhs in Canada. Notions such as history, identity, and encounter will constitute a central thread and shape class discussions.
Exclusion: RLG207H5
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

RLG209H1-S Justifying Religious Belief

Term: Spring
(This course has a tutorial*)

Description:

Beliefs typically characterized as “religious” concern such things as the existence and nature of the Deity, the afterlife, the soul, miracles, and the universe’s meaningfulness, ultimate purpose, or interest in the distribution of justice according to some plan. Common to these and other religious beliefs is that empirical evidence for them are lacking – at least so say all those who insist that rational beliefs require justification and that justification comes either from observing publically-accessible phenomena or some kind of solid scientific reasoning. Religious beliefs, it further seems, run counter to modern conceptions about who counts not only as an acceptably rational, but also as a fully moral agent. How might people who hold – and want to continue to hold – religious beliefs respond to these accusations and doubts?

The course examines these basic epistemological and moral challenges to religious belief as well as the various strategies available to religious believers who are confronted with such demands for justifications. By doing so, we will aim to understand better whether religious beliefs of various sorts could count as rational, whether reasonable people might disagree with each other about the very nature of reality and morality, and whether anyone who falls short of common intellectual and social ideals of rationality and reasonableness ought to be tolerated.

Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

RLG211H1-F Psychology of Religion

Term: Fall
(This course has a tutorial*)
Description: A survey of the psychological approaches to aspects of religion such as religious experience, doctrine, myth and symbols, ethics and human transformation. Attention will be given to phenomenological, psychoanalytic, Jungian, existentialist, and feminist approaches.
Distribution Requirement: Social Science
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

RLG213H1-F Reading Sacred Texts

Term: Fall
Description: Surveys interpretative traditions related to sacred texts, focusing on reading strategies that range from the literal to the figurative with attention to rationales that transform literal textual meanings and copyists manipulations of texts. May focus on various religious traditions from year to year, targeting a single canonical tradition or comparative analysis. Students will gain insight into literalist, environmentalist, secularist and erotic approaches to texts. Prior exposure to the study of religion is not required; all readings will be in English.
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

RLG214H1-S Mythology and Religion

Mariana Dobreva-Mastagar
Term: Spring
Description: A journey through some of the greatest myths, Classical, Near Eastern, Nordic, Slavic, and Indigenous North American. It identifies some common models that explain the world, and establish norms of personal and social behaviour. During the course we will trace themes, mores, and legends designed to help us cope with human predicaments.
Starting with more structured classical mythology, the course then moves to a comparative approach to other mythic systems, examining themes of creation, chaos, and order, love and death, coming of age, the monstrous, and explanations of evil and misfortune, and their survival in organized religions and modern culture.
Distribution Requirement: Humanities

RLG230H1-F Religion, Law, and Society

Robert Gibbs

Term: Fall
Description: While for many people in our society, religion is a private and even an inner matter, there are major religious tradition that see laws as creative of holiness and as key to righteousness. By introductions to Indigenous, Islamic and Jewish legal traditions and materials, we will engage a complex dialogue with the dominant Christian views of Law and Religion. This course will explore how some religious traditions hold a positive role for laws, and how laws can connect society and religion. The course examines various issues, including: Canadian society and secularization; religious pluralism and legal pluralism; the role of religions in public contexts; land and property; marriage and women’s rights; and the place of minority religious communities.
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Society and its Institutions (3)

RLG233H1-S Religion and Popular Culture

Term: Fall
(This course has a tutorial*)
Description: A course on the interactions, both positive and negative, between religion and popular culture. We look at different media (television, advertising, print) as they represent and engage with different religious traditions, identities, and controversies.
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

RLG235H1-S Religion, Gender, and Sexuality

Term: Spring
Description: Examination of gender as a category in the understanding of religious roles, symbols, rituals, deities, and social relations. Survey of varieties of concepts of gender in recent feminist thought, and application of these concepts to religious life and experience. Examples will be drawn from a variety of religious traditions and groups, contemporary and historical.
Exclusion: RLG314H1, RLG314H5
Distribution Requirement: Social Science
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

RLG241H1-F Early Christian Writings I

Term: Fall
(This course has a tutorial*)
Description: An introduction to early Christian writings, including the ‘New Testament,’ examined within the historical context of the first two centuries. No familiarity with Christianity or the New Testament is expected.
Exclusion: RLG241H5; RLG341H5; HUMC14H3; RLG241Y1
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

MHB255H1-F Intermediate Modern Hebrew I

Term: Fall
Description: Intensive study of written and spoken Hebrew.
Prerequisite: MHB156H1/ NML156H1 or permission of instructor
Exclusion: Grade 8 Hebrew (or Ulpan level 2 in Israel)/NML255Y1
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

MHB256H1-S Intermediate Modern Hebrew II

Term: Spring
Description: Continued intensive study of written and spoken Hebrew.
Prerequisite: MHB255H1/NML156H1 or permission of instructor
Exclusion: Grade 8 Hebrew (or Ulpan level 2 in Israel)/NML255Y1
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

RLG261H1-F Introduction to Tibetan I

Online Course

Term: Fall
Description: An introduction to Classical Tibetan language for beginners. Development of basic grammar and vocabulary, with readings of simple texts. This is an online course. Lectures will be delivered via the web and mandatory tutorials will require live webinar participation. The final exam will require attendance on the St. George campus, or in another authorized exam centre.
Exclusion: RLG261Y1
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

RLG262H1-S Introduction to Tibetan II

Online Course

Term: Spring
Description: The second semester of an introduction to Classical Tibetan language course for beginners. Continued work on grammar and vocabulary, advancing to reading texts. This is an online course. Lectures will be delivered via the web and mandatory tutorials will require live webinar participation. The final exam will require attendance on the St. George campus, or in another authorized exam centre.
Prerequisite: RLG260H1
Exclusion: RLG260Y1 Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

RLG264H1-F Reading Pali Buddhist Texts I: Basket of the Sermons

Term: Fall
Description: This course offers an opportunity to students interested in Buddhism to read, analyze, and discuss select simple passages from the scriptures of the Theravada canon in their original language. It will cover philosophical, psychological, and narrative texts and their interpretation, as well as a first exposure to the Pali Language.
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

RLG280Y1-Y World Religions: A Comparative Study

Term: Year
(This course has a tutorial*)
Description: An alternative version of the content covered by RLG100Y1, for students in second year or higher who cannot or do not wish to take a further 100-level course. Students attend the RLG100Y1 lectures and tutorials but are expected to produce more substantial and more sophisticated written work, and are required to submit an extra written assignment.
Prerequisite: Completion of 5.5 full course equivalents
Exclusion: RLG100Y1/RLGA01H3/RLGA02H3
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2) + Society and its Institutions (3)

300-Level Courses

All 300-series courses presuppose at least three prior RLG half courses (or equivalent). Only specific prerequisites or recommended preparations are listed below. Students who do not meet the prerequisites but believe they have adequate preparation should consult the undergraduate coordinator regarding entry to the course.

RLG301H1-S Religion on the Couch: Freud and Jung on Religion

Term: Spring
Description: Critical analysis of Freud’s main writings on religion, with particular attention paid to the concepts unconscious, Oedipal trauma and its transmission, dreams, symbols, and unconscious communication. Comparisons with Jung include approaches to the unconscious, symbols and archetypes. Jung’s theory of synchronicity and Freud’s theory of thought-transference, and their implications for different understandings of the unconscious and archaic inheritance, along with their implications for Freud’s and Jung’s approach to religion will be explored.
Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 credits
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

RLG305H1-S Material Religion

Simon Coleman

Term: Spring
Description: Religions are constituted by material forms, including bodies, shrines, films, icons, and ‘ kitsch’. Anti-materialist convictions have also prompted many religious impulses, involving forms of iconoclasm that ironically demonstrate the power of objects. What is at stake in studying materiality? How might such a perspective transform our view of religion.
Prerequisites: Completion of 4 Credits
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

RLG308H1-F Religion and the City

Term: Fall
Description: The course focuses on the role of religion in cities, as well as the ways urbanization and immigration have transformed religious organizations and identities. In particular, we will ask how religious practices, institutions and groups shape particular places, how religious groups share or contest space, and the way the religious life of cities is shaped by migration and globalization. We will explore these topics using theoretical tools from anthropology, sociology, human geography and the study of religion.
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Society and its Institutions (3)

RLG309H1-S Religion and Human Rights

Term: Spring
Description: We will explore the dynamic inter-relations of women, religion and human rights within a contemporary global context. Our aim will be to include both theory and praxis. Our approach will be intersectional, crosscultural, inter-religious and inter-disciplinary. We will begin with the development of key documents, issues, and models of the three inter-related goals of UN Women: Peace, development, gender equity and empowerment in addressing the human rights of women and girls North and South. Issues examined will include: the intersection of race, ethnicity, class and sexual orientation with gender; the role of culture and religion as both a pretext for violence and also as a basis for multi-lateral peacebuilding initiatives, including local/grassroots and global initiatives; GBV (gender-based violence); universalism and cultural-religious relativism; reproductive and gender rights; globalization; the right to self-determination; transitional justice; gendered justice and narratives; religion, trauma, and healing. In addition to weekly group meetings, there will also be an opportunity to integrate individual interest in student papers and oral presentations and reports. We will do this by drawing on both academic and nonacademic resources including UN Women, and women’s grassroots and global initiatives. Weekly meetings will include an in-class experiential component with the aim of developing several resources for human rights training, specifically, mindfulness practices (i.e., breath, listening, council) drawing on both secular (i.e., UN Women human rights training manual) and interfaith sources.
Prerequisite: three RLG or PHI/PHL half-courses and third year standing.
Exclusion: RLG309H5, RLG309Y1
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

RLG313H1-S Gender, Sexuality and Religion in the West

Judith Baskin
Term: Spring
Description: The Jewish Family in Medieval and Early Modern Europe: An examination of the written sources and material evidence for the Jewish family in medieval and early modern Europe, 1000 to 1700 C.E. Topics include: the impact of Rabbinic Judaism; the medieval context; birth and birth rituals; education; betrothal and marriage; divorce; death and inheritance; male performance of piety; female performance of piety; women’s and men’s economic activities; community governance and family status; the family in early modern Italy; representations of the family in the autobiographical writings of Glikl of Hameln and Solomon Maimon.
Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 credits
Exclusion: RLG237H1
Recommended Preparation: RLG235H1
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Society and its Institutions (3)

RLG318H1-F Religion and Nature

Term: Fall
Description: The ongoing environmental crisis has prompted an active engagement with religious conceptualizations of nature. There is a complex relationship between nature, religion and the aesthetic expression of human spirituality. This course will examine how religion has shaped our relationship with nature. It will trace this history in the Latin West from the antique to the contemporary, examining how a number of thinkers have undertaken a creative re-engagement with religious concepts of nature.
Exclusion: RLG228H1
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

RLG322H1-F Early Christian Gospels

Patrick Strange
Term: Fall
Syllabus: RLG322H1

Description: This course will examine the ancient literary genre of biography and explore how early Christian gospels fit into this genre. The course will compare ancient biographical accounts of famous ancient figures such as Alexander the Great, Roman Caesars, and wandering philosophers with representations of Jesus, in both canonical and extra-canonical sources. These texts will be considered in their Greco-Roman context through literary, historical, and political perspectives. Emphasis will be put on philosophical and religious motivations that appear in ancient biographies. Reading knowledge of Latin and Ancient Greek is helpful but not necessary.

Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 credits
Recommended Preparation: Reading knowledge of Latin and Ancient Greek
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

RLG324H1-S The Apostle Paul and His Enemies

Term: Spring
Description: An examination of Paul’s life and thought as seen in the early Christian literature written by him (the seven undisputed letters), about him (the Acts of the Apostles, the Acts of Paul) and in his name (the six disputed NT letters).
Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 credits
Exclusion: RLG324H5
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

RLG334H1-F / TRT3881H-F Religion, Space, and Diaspora

Mariana Dobreva-Mastagar
Term: Fall
Description: Ideas dwell in the space! The course examines how the experience of diaspora, particularly in large metropolitan areas like Toronto, transforms traditional religious space and practices. It introduces the notion of vernacular religion, “religion as it is lived” or the way people “do religion.” The course provides an interdisciplinary approach and discusses the concepts of religion, “official” religion, introduces the notion of vernacular religion, and folklore. The students will take part in variety of observations in different sites.
Distribution Requirement: Humanities

RLG337H1-F Witchcraft and Magic in Christian Tradition

Leslie Hayes
Term: Fall
Description: This course considers the history and theory of Western witchcraft, magic, and heresy in the mediaeval and early modern periods. Consideration of relevant anthropological theory, the relationship between constructions of witchcraft, the Enlightenment and the rise of science, and the role of gender in definitions of witchcraft.
Recommended Preparation: RLG203Y1/RLG203H5
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Society and its Institutions (3)

RLG342H1-F Judaism in the Early Modern Era

Term: Fall

Description:The development and range of modern Jewish religious thought in its early stages, with focus on Spinoza, Mendelssohn, and Krochmal. Responses to the challenges of modernity, and fundamental alternatives in modern Judaism.

Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 credits
Exclusion: RLG342Y1
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

RLG347H1-S Judaism in the Late Modern Era

Term: Spring

Description:Continuing from, but not presupposing, “Judaism in the Early Modern Era,” the course will trace the late modern stages in the development of Jewish thought, and will bring the history of modern Jewish thought to the present. Focus on Cohen, Rosenzweig, Buber, and Fackenheim. Confronting assimilation, anti-Semitism, and other theological and political issues, as well as responses to the Holocaust and the establishment of the state of Israel.

Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 credits
Exclusion: RLG342Y1; RLG342H1
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

RLG351H1-S The Quran: An Introduction

Term: Spring
Description: The revelatory process and the textual formation of the Quran, its pre-eminent orality and its principal themes and linguistic forms; the classical exegetical tradition and some contemporary approaches to its interpretation.
Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 credits; RLG100Y1/RLG204Y1/RLG224H1/RLG280Y1/NMC185Y1/NMC185H1
Exclusion: NMC285H1, NMC285Y1, NMC286H1
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

RLG352H1-S Post-Colonial Islam

Term: Spring
Description: This course will study Islam in a post-colonial framework. It will introduce students to the work of post-colonial studies, and how critical scholarship has transformed our understanding of monolithic concepts such as modernity, the nation and Islam. It will focus on the particular case of Islam in South Asia and the Middle East by exposing students to the transformative impact of colonialism. It will equip students with the tools to challenge the hegemonic notion of a singular ‘tradition’ in Islam by tracing its lineages in the post-colony.
Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 credits
Exclusion: NMC381Y1, RLG250H1
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Society and its Institutions (3)

MHB355H1-F Advanced Modern Hebrew I

Term: Fall
Description: Advanced intensive study of written and spoken Hebrew.
Prerequisite: MHB256H1/NML255Y1 or permission of instructor
Exclusion: OAC Hebrew/NML355Y1
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

MHB356H1-S Advanced Modern Hebrew II

Term: Spring
Description: Continued advanced intensive study of written and spoken Hebrew.
Prerequisite: MHB355H1 or permission of instructor
Exclusion: OAC Hebrew/NML355Y1
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

RLG368H1-F Hindu Ways of Living

Term: Fall
Description: The course surveys the textual sources of the practices of Yoga, Ayurveda and Hindu traditions such as domestic rituals, rites of passage and community centered religious activity. It critically evaluates the assumption of an unbroken continuity of tradition of these practices from antiquity onwards and comes to consider what they have come to constitute as a result of modernity and globalization.
Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 credits
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

RLG369H1-S The Mahabharata

Term: Fall
Description: A study of the great Sanskrit epic, the Mahabharata.
Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 credits
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

RLG371H1-F Interdependence

Term: Fall
Description: An exploration of the Buddhist concept of interdependence, or interdependent origination, from doctrinal and contemplative perspectives, as presented in classic Buddhist texts and as used in contemporary environmental and activist movements globally.
Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 credits
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

RLG373H1-S Buddhist Ritual

Term: Spring
Description: Daily worship, the alms round, life-crisis celebrations, healing rituals, meditation, festivals, pilgrimage, the consecration of artifacts and taking care of the ancestors are among the forms of Buddhist ritual introduced and analyzed in this course. Liturgical manuals, ethnographic descriptions and audiovisual records form the basis for a discussion of the role of ritual as text and event.
Prerequisite: See note above for general prerequisites
Recommended Preparation: RLG206Y1/RLG206H5
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

RLG379H1-F Religions of the Silk Road

Term: Fall
Description: An historical introduction to the religious traditions that flourished along the Silk Road, including Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, Nestorian Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Islam. Drawing on a variety of sources (textual, archaeological, works of art), the course will focus on the spread and development of these traditions through the medieval period. Issues include cross-cultural exchange, religious syncretism, ethnic identity formation and so on. Emphasis will also be placed on religious and political events in modern Central Asia.
Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 credits
Exclusion: RLG245H1
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

RLG383H1-F Interpretation and Dialogue

Term: Fall
Description: Can we understand the beliefs and behaviors of people whose religious and cultural outlooks differ radically from our own? Do we always impose our preconceptions on them? Or are there cognitive, imaginative, and emotional resources that enable us to see people on their own terms? These questions, which beset the practices of anthropologists and historians of religions, are central to the philosophy of the human sciences. This course explores the theoretical issues involved in interpretation and dialogue across cultural and historical divides. But the course is by no means just a theoretical exercise. The theoretical issues themselves from a practical concern of everyone who lives in a multicultural reality and so is confronted periodically with questions about the content of the notion of a common humanity.
Prerequisite: see note above for general prerequisites
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

RLG389H1-F Women, Religion, and Peacebuilding: Comparative Contexts (Special Topics II)

Eleanor Pontoriero
Term: Fall
Distribution Requirement: Humanities

RLG389H1-S Religion, Diaspora and the City (Special Topics II)

Mariana Mastagar
Term: Spring
Description: Large cities are home to religious buildings, many of which are established by immigrant communities. Often the religious space in diaspora is the first to signal modifications in social and religious dynamics. Ideas dwell in the space! The course explores how the allocation of time and space adapts the tradition to reflect the needs of diaspora. The students will learn how to decipher and examine these adaptations through observation of architecture, decoration, and activities performed in the buildings. It introduces the notion of vernacular religion, “religion as it is lived” or the way people “do religion.” The course Observation on a variety of religious sites (some are Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish) is included.
Distribution Requirement: Humanities

RLG391H1-F Modern Atheism and the Critique of Religion: Hegel to Nietzsche

Term: Fall
Description: Examines select modern thinkers and their critical approaches to the nature and significance of religious beliefs and practices. Hegel, Feuerbach, Marx, and Nietzsche are among the major thinkers studied.
Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 credits
Exclusion: RLG310Y1
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

RLG392H1-S The European Enlightenment and Religion

Term: Spring
Description: This course explores some of the major thinkers of the European Enlightenment and their philosophical inquiries into the meaning and significance of religion as a set of cultural institutions. Special attention is paid to the analysis of religious concepts and institutions along epistemological, ethical, and political lines.
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

RLG394H1-S Religion in the Game of Thrones

Leslie Hayes
Term: Spring
Description: Religion weaves complex social logics and social rationales imbedded in all levels of culture. This course explores multiple questions of religion as a cultural element, both visible and invisible. Theories of religion as well as questions of gender, authority, and power will be examined. The course culminates in a student project oriented toward an academically oriented “Handbook” for the study of religion in the Game of Thrones.
Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 credits
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

RLG397H1-S Sikhism

Term: Spring
Description:This class is an introduction to early Sikh texts in their original language and in translation. In addition to learning the grammar of what Christopher Shackle has called ‘the sacred language of the Sikhs’ and acquiring translation skills, students will be expected to demonstrate their ability to analyze and interpret texts in relation to their contexts of production.
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

400-Level Courses

400-series courses are intended primarily for Specialists and Majors who have already completed several RLG courses. Prerequisite for all 400-level courses requires permission of the instructor. All 400-level courses are E indicator courses and also cross-listed as graduate courses. For further information on how to enroll, please click here.

RLG404H1-S Departmental Capstone: Research

David Perley
Term: Spring
Description: An integrative capstone seminar that emphasizes iterative development of a research project, locating a research specialization within its broader disciplinary audience, and communicating the process and results of a research project to non-specialists within the study of religion.Open to Relgion Specialists and Majors only.
Prerequisite: Open to 4th-year Religion Specialists and Majors
Distribution Requirement: Humanities

RLG405H1-F Departmental Capstone: Practical

David Perley
Term: Fall
Description: A capstone seminar that emphasizes integration of the study of religion with contemporary public life in the development of a research project, locating a research specialization in relation to non-academic contexts, and communicating the process and results of a research project to non-academic audiences.
Prerequisite: Open to 4th-year Religion Specialists and Majors
Distribution Requirement: Humanities

RLG406H1-F Constructing Religion

Term: Spring
Description: How have different researchers constructed ‘religion’ as their object of study, and are some frameworks simply incompatible with each other? We discuss – but also provide critical assessments of — different theoretical and methodological frameworks.
Prerequisite: Open to 4th year Religion Specialists and Majors
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

RLG411H1-S Hindu Epics (Advanced Topics in Religion)

Term: Spring
Distribution Requirement: Humanities

RLG412H1-S Advanced Topics in Religion: The Prophetic Family in Islamic Tradition

Term: Spring
Description: Advanced topics in religion.
Distribution Requirement: Humanities

RLG414H1-S Comparing Religions

Term: Spring
Description: 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 through close study of 4-6 recent works, from ritual studies, philosophy of religion, comparative theology and/or ethnography.
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

RLG418H1-F Advanced Topics in the Philosophical Study of Religion: Religion and Modern Moral Philosophy

Term: Fall
Description: This seminar probes a famous thesis about the failings of modern moral philosophy, the modernity of which relates largely to its independence from moorings in any religious tradition. According to thesis, which is most commonly associated with G. E. M. Anscombe, the project of modern moral philosophy is ill conceived not only in the sense that its basic concepts are confused but also in the sense that its basic capacity to guide modern people’s ethical lives is attenuated. Is Anscombe correct? And, if she is, what can and should be done about this state of affair? To answer these questions, which is the task of the seminar, we will read first Anscombe’s classic paper “Modern Moral Philosophy” as well as some of the most significant work in ethical theory (by Iris Murdoch, Alasdair MacIntyre, Bernard Williams, and Avishai Margalit) that follows its wake.
Distribution Requirement: Humanities

JPR419H1-F Secularism and Religion (formerly RLG419H1)

Term: Fall
Description: Themes considered include what notion of religion is necessary for secular governance, and how secularity relates to particular discourses of citizenship and practices of political rule. Case studies include the effects of colonial rule on religious life; Jewish emancipation in Europe; and religious freedom in France and North America. (Given by the Departments of Political Science and Religion)
Prerequisite: 2.0 200-level (or above) credits in Political Science or Study of Religion/permission of the instructor Exclusion: RLG419H1
Distribution Requirement: Humanities, Social Science
Breadth Requirement: Society and its Institutions (3)

RLG458H1-F Advanced Topics in Islam

Term: Fall
Description: This course will examine how Allah has figured in the study of Islam. We will evaluate different academic attempts to grapple with the Divine, covering topics such as God-human relations, theodicy, anthropomorphism, immanence/transcendence, divine interventions, and the Sufi trope of befriending God. We will read work by Orientalists, anthropologists, historians, and Islamic Studies scholars to ask whether, how, and to what effect God can be made an object of scholarly research and how such academic approaches differ from (or overlap with) theological ones.
Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

RLG422H1-S Kant’s Theory of Religion

Term: Spring
Description: An advanced study of Immanuel Kant’s theory of religion, as developed in major writings such as the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals 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.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
Recommended Preparation: RLG310Y1
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

RLG431H1-S Advanced Topics in Judaism

Term: Spring
Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor
Distribution Requirement: Humanities

RLG434H1-S Modern Jewish Thought

Term: Spring
Description: Close study of major themes, texts, and thinkers in modern Jewish thought. Focus put on the historical development of modern Judaism, with special emphasis on the Jewish religious and philosophical responses to the challenges of modernity. Among modern Jewish thinkers to be considered: Spinoza, Cohen, Rosenzweig, Buber, Scholem, Strauss, and Fackenheim.
Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

RLG434H1-S/3621-S Modern Jewish Thought: Emil L. Fackenheim

Term: Spring

Description:The topic of the course in 2019-20 will be: the thought of Emil Fackenheim (1916-2003). The course will concentrate on two leading themes in Fackenheim’s thought. First, Fackenheim’s early focus (1945-1967) on revelation as the basis of authentic religion,  and the defence of revelation against the challenges of modern thought. And second, Fackenheim’s late focus (1967-2003) on the Holocaust/Shoah as a traumatic singularity in human history, and as a rupture of all traditions.

Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

RLG441H1-F Words and Worship in Christian Cultures

Term: Fall
Description: How are we to analyze the words that Christians use? And how are such words related to ritual forms? We explore techniques for the analysis of texts, while looking at forms of verbal discourse ranging from prayers, speaking in tongues, and citing the Bible to more informal narratives.
Prerequisite: ANT356H1/RLG212Y1 and permission of instructor
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

RLG448H1-S Pseudepigraphy in Ancient Mediterranean Religion

Term: Spring
Description: A seminar examining the phenomenon of falsely claimed and/or attributed authorship in religions of the ancient Mediterranean, mainly Christianity and Judaism. The course examines understandings of authorship and other cultural forms that facilitate or inhibit ancient pseudepigraphy, ancient controversies over authorship, as well as specific pseudepigraphical writings.
Prerequisite: Two half FCEs numbered RLG32*; permission of instructor
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

RLG465H1-F Readings in Buddhist Texts: Ritual Manuals from Nepal

Term: Fall
Description: An advanced study of select Buddhist texts with a focus on issues of translation, interpretation, commentarial approaches, narrative strategies, as well as issues related to the production, circulation, and consumption of these works. Themes and texts will vary by year.
Prerequisite: Reading knowledge of Sanskrit/Pali/Tibetan or Chinese; permission of instructor
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

RLG468H1-S Special Topics in Buddhim: Teaching Buddhism

Term: Spring
Description: A review of the field of Buddhist Studies and its pedagogical approaches. Discuss emerging theories and practices relevant to teaching Buddhism in higher education, learn to articulate methodological, thematic, and practical trends in the field, and practice a range of teaching methods.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
Recommended Preparation: RLG206Y1Y
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

RLG469Y1-Y Readings in Tibetan

Term: Year
Description: Advanced readings in Tibetan literature using Tibetan language. Tibetan language skills required.
Prerequisite: Instructor’s permission required for admission to course
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1), Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

RLG474H1-S Sanskrit Readings (1)

Term: Spring
Description: This course will have students read choice pieces of South Asian literature. While tackling a text in Sanskrit from a major literary tradition, Buddhist or Hindu, and discussing its content and context, students will learn strategies for translating and interpreting Sanskrit literature.
Prerequisite: Intermediate Sanskrit
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

Individual Studies/Research (year or half)

RLG490Y1F | RLG490Y1S | RLG490Y1 | RLG491H1F | RLG492H1F | RLG492H1S | RLG493H1S | RLG493H1Y | RLG494Y1S | RLG494Y1Y
Student-initiated projects supervised by members of the Department. The student must obtain both a supervisor’s agreement and the Department’s approval in order to register. The maximum number of Individual Studies one may take is two full course equivalents. Deadline for submitting applications to Department including supervisor’s approval is the first week of classes of the session.

Updated July 15, 2019 (Please see first Arts and Science calendar link for complete details.)
View our archive of past undergraduate courses.