Religious Studies

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Religious Studies Minor — Course Descriptions

Please note that these courses are not taught every semester, but are usually taught once in a two-year period.

ANT 340 — Culture and Belief (3 cr.)

Anthropological approach to the meaning and function of religion in social life. The nature of thought or belief systems that give rise to the different forms of religious life. (Spring). Liberal arts. Prerequisite: ANT102.

ANT 337 — Israeli Culture and Society (3 cr.)

Cultural, social, and political development of modern Israel. Emphases on western ideological basis of Zionism and the Israeli political system, cultural diversity and conflict, internal social dynamics and regional political relations. Historical, religious, economic, and political factors as bases of contemporary Israeli culture and lifestyles. (Fall/Spring/Summer). Liberal arts.

ANT349 — Middle Eastern Cultures (3 cr.)

Sociocultural systems of North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and Southwest Asia with emphasis on Islamic cultures and Arab peoples. Ecological and historical bases of contemporary cultures and the contribution of village, nomadic and urban ways of life to Middle Eastern civilizations. (Fall). Liberal arts. Prerequisite: ANT102 or sophomore standing.

ANT375 — West Asia: Culture & Conflict (3 cr.)

Overview of the cultural and political systems of West Asia (sometimes referred to as the Levant) with particular emphasis on ethnic diversity and propensity to conflict in the region both inter- and intra-state. The role of culture in the maintenance of violence and creation of political identity. Focus on Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Israel, Palestine, and Iraq. Topics include ethnic violence, terrorism, insurgency, the Palestinian-Israel Conflict, Lebanese Civil War, the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and the Gulf War. (Fall/Spring). Liberal arts. Prerequisite: ANT102 or other social science or history course.

ART343 — Medieval Art (3 cr.)

European art and architecture c. 300-1400. Primary focus on fresco, manuscript illumination, sculpture, and architecture of the medieval West. Visual arts of Byzantium also discussed. Emphasis on patronage, art/historical context, and function of imagery. (Every Other Year). Liberal arts. Prerequisite: ART137 or POI.

ART 354 — Jewish Art to 1600 (3 cr.)

Jewish art and architecture from its origins in ancient Palestine through c. 1600 in Europe. Analysis of style and content within the Judaic context as well as consideration of interaction with and function within contemporary Middle Eastern and European cultures. (Every Other Fall). Liberal arts. Prerequisite: ART137 or POI.

ENG 252 — The Bible (3 cr.)

The Bible introduces the student to the historical, literary, and philosophical contexts of this critical text of Western Civilization. A major goal of the class is to help students further appreciate western literature and history through an enriched knowledge of its biblical roots, inspirations, and allusions. (Spring & Fall). Liberal arts.

ENG338 — Utopias in Literature (3 cr.)

Readings in Utopian and Dystopian literature from Plato to the present with emphasis on the last 100 years. (Spring, Summer & Fall). Liberal arts. Prerequisite: ENG101.

GWS340 Gender and Religion (3 cr.)

Investigation of the impact of religious beliefs on gender issues and their manifestation in human social and political experience. Critical examination of the early emergence of the interplay between gender role ideologies and religious mythology from the Neolithic to the Iron Age. Analysis of such contemporary religious traditions as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. (Spring). Liberal arts. Prerequisites: GWS101 or one of the following: PSY101, SOC101, HIS101, ANT102 or POI.

HIS384 — Religion in the Modern World (3 cr.)

Explores the complex position of religion in modern western societies, as both a source of conflict and an agent of change. Primary emphasis is on the political uses of religion, rather than on the defining tenets of any particular religious tradition. (Spring). Liberal arts. Prerequisites: sophomore standing; HIS101 or HIS102 or HIS121 or HIS122 or HIS132.

INT104 — Introduction to the World's Religions (3 cr.)

An introductory inquiry into the structures of five of the world's major religions: Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in their understanding of the relationship of the human and the divine. This course is an examination of both Eastern and Western religious traditions as a means of cultivating a critical and historical perspective on the related elements of myth, symbol, and ritual. In our study of religion, we seek to understand and appreciate how religious expression functions as an integral component of diverse human experiences. (Fall). Liberal arts.

INT 101 — Introduction to Judaism (3 cr.)

Overview of Jewish history, calendar of holy days; theology; liturgy; sacred texts; Zionism, anti-Semitism; religious movements; women in Judaism; relationship with Christianity and Islam; contemporary issues. (Spring). Liberal arts.

PHI125 — Science and the Supernatural (3 cr.)

A course devoted to the philosophical issue of distinguishing science from pseudoscience. Popular beliefs in astrology, scientific creationism, parapsychology and other purportedly supernatural phenomena will be methodologically and historically examined and contrasted with scientific explanations. (Fall/Spring).Liberal arts.

PHI240 — Asian Philosophy (3 cr.)

Survey of Middle- and Far-East philosophies and their views and systems with special emphasis on Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic Philosophies. (Fall). Liberal arts.

PHI 320 — Philosophy of Religion (3 cr.)

Philosophical thinking about religion. Concepts and propositions of theology. Reasoning of theologians and philosophers. Religious experience and the activity of worship. Oriental as compared to Western religion. Religion and science. (Fall ). Liberal arts. Prerequisite: 3 philosophy credits or sophomore standing or POI.

Contact Information

If you would like more information about religious studies at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact

Dr. Richard Schaefer, Program Coordinator
Office: Champlain Valley Hall 324
Phone: (518) 564-5211