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Religious Studies Courses

Course information found here includes all permanent offerings and is updated regularly whenever Academic Senate approves changes. For historical information, see the Course Catalogs. For actual course availability in any given term, use Course Search in the Portal.

RLST 101. Understanding Religious Traditions in a Global Context (1). An investigation of three or more major religious traditions that are practiced across political and cultural boundaries. This foundational course emphasizes the historical diversity of these traditions, their distinctive narratives, beliefs, and practices, and the lived experience of specific religious communities and individuals in the context of the contemporary world. Through the study of major religious traditions, students develop critical perspectives on understanding diverse religious phenomena and the power of religious worldviews in a global context. (5T) Offered every year. Prerequisite: first-year or sophomore standing or permission of instructor.

RLST 200. The Comparative Study of Religious Communities (1). An investigation of distinctive religious communities through a comparative and historical lens. Courses may focus on communities of different religious traditions that are related through historical and cultural context or thematic emphasis; alternatively, they may investigate diverse communities that adhere to one particular tradition. Courses include: Religious Traditions in the Middle East, South Asian Religious Traditions, East Asian Religious Traditions, Abrahamic Traditions in History and Literature, Christianity in Modern Europe, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Fundamentalisms, New Religious Movements. May be repeated for credit if topic is different. (5T) Offered at least every year.

RLST 210. Religion and Acculturation (1). An examination of the transmission of religious traditions across cultural, linguistic, and ethnic boundaries. Courses emphasize the mutual transformation of traditions and the communities that practice them through historical processes of transmission. Courses include: The Black Church in the U.S., Buddhism in North America, Islam in North America, Colonialism and Religion, Cyberreligions. May be repeated for credit if topic is different. (3B) Offered at least every second year.

RLST 220. Religious Thought (1). An examination of religious doctrines, ethics, and conceptions of reality in their historical contexts, with reference either to particular religious communities or to particular themes. Courses include: Theologizing Harry Potter, Violence and Non-Violence, Liberation Theologies, Human Rights and Human Responsibilities. May be repeated for credit if topic is different. (5T) Offered at least once every year.

RLST 221. Comparative Religious Ethics (1). Using the atrocities and acts of courage committed by “ordinary people” during the Holocaust as the central problematic to be investigated, this course examines the ethical perspectives offered by particular strands of Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and Confucianism. Emphasis is placed on grappling with the problems and possibilities of ethical relativism in a global context. (Also listed as Interdisciplinary Studies 233.) (5T) Offered at least every second year.

RLST 230. Religious Practice (1). A study of diverse forms of religious practice in one or more traditions. Special emphasis is placed on exploring the relationship between religious practices, experiences, and concepts. Courses include: Gender in Religious Practice, Popular Piety and Heresy in the Middle Ages, Religion in Daily Life, Sacred Spaces, Art and Performance in Religious Traditions. May be repeated for credit if topic is different. (3B) Offered at least every second year.

RLST 240. Religious Language and Literature (1). A close reading of religious literature and study of conceptions of language in one or more traditions, with an emphasis on understanding the history of their interpretation and developing appropriate methods of scholarly interpretation. Courses include: The Old Testament, The New Testament, The Qur’an, Religious Biography and Autobiography, Interpreting Buddhist Literature. May be repeated for credit if topic is different. (5T) Offered at least every other year.

RLST 250. Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Religion (1). An introduction to diverse approaches employed in the academic study of religion. This methodological course provides a common point of reference for the exploration of the nature, meaning, and function of religion, as well as diverse angles of vision through which students can view and shape their future endeavors in relation to their current studies. (5T) Offered each fall.

RLST 280. Seminar: Selected Topics in Religious Studies (.5, 1). A study of individual persons, central issues, or major movements. May be repeated for credit if topic is different. Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: varies with topic.

RLST 380. Seminar: Selected Topics in Religious Studies (.5, 1). A study of individual persons, central issues, or major movements. May be repeated for credit if topic is different. Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: at least 3 courses in Religious Studies or consent of instructor.

RLST 385. Senior Thesis in Religious Studies (1). As the culmination of their major in religious studies, students undertake a major independent research project culminating in a thesis paper (or equivalent in another medium). Course meetings offer students guidance in the writing process, as well as the opportunity to examine, reflect on, and articulate the value of their education, both for themselves and for those they encounter in their lives beyond Beloit College. (CP) Offered every spring. Prerequisite: Senior standing and declared majro in religious studies, or consent of instructor.

RLST 390. Special Projects (.25 - 1). Prerequisite: sophomore standing.

RLST 395. Teaching Assistant (.5). Work with faculty in classroom instruction. Graded credit/no credit. Prerequisite: at least junior standing and consent of instructor.

RLST 396. Teaching Assistant Research (.5). Course and curriculum development projects with faculty. Prerequisite: at least junior standing and consent of instructor.