[RLST 101] Religion and Reality

Why is it that the ways of thinking and living that people call “religious” are often judged by outsiders to be potentially harmful forms of delusion, while those who adhere to those lifeways understand them instead as providing access to what scholar Robert Orsi calls “the really real”? The story of the ideas and events that led to this stark difference of opinion is deeply tied up with European notions of racial and civilizational superiority. This course explores that story and counter-narratives to it in order to assess the consequences both for the lives of people who identify as “religious” and for the ongoing power struggle over who gets to define reality and what forms of knowledge are granted legitimacy.

Course Title

Religion and Reality

Course Code

RLST 101



Fulfills Domain/Capstone Requirements



Prerequisite: first-year or sophomore standing or consent of instructor.


Offered every year.

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