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Undergraduate course descriptions

Picking Your Courses

We provide an annual course guide for courses in our department, which is downloadable on the right under "course guides." Many courses can fit into multiple categories of requirements. It is recommended that you register as soon as possible, as some courses fill up very quickly. If you have been shut out, but need the course for your major or minor, please speak to an advisor about ways we might prioritize you.

Also note that you do not need to take all your requirements at once. You can and should take some electives even in your first year. Of the total credits for the degree, only 42 are for the major (or 60 for honours). Experiment and explore!

In addition to our regular course offerings, the following topics courses are offered in the 2024-2025 academic year. For the regular course descriptions, please refer to the official undergraduate calendar.


RELI 398/2 –AA  (3 credits) M.17:45-20:15

This course explores the relationship between religion and popular culture. Topics for discussion include: the nature of modern popular culture; the topographies of popular culture in today's digitally integrated, superflat world; the nature of religion in a society that is inundated, saturated, and oriented by popular culture; the deployment and functions of traditional religious themes and tropes in new pop-cultural forms; and the global “apocalyptic shift” of the past generation and its pop-cultural expressions.


RELI 398/2 – BB (3 credits) W.1745-2015
(xlist LOYC 398BB)

The environmental crisis is arguably the first truly global crisis that humanity has faced. Increasingly, scholars and others are coming to see it not as a crisis of technology but rather as one of values. Since religions are the primary source of values in any human society, we may look to the world's various religious systems to better understand how they place humans within the broader context of nature, how they teach us to value it, and what our responsibilities are towards the non-human world.


RELI 298/4 - A (3 credits) T.J. 13:15-14:30

In this introductory course we will consider the representation of women's experiences and expressions in the narrative of the Hebrew Bible. How are women presented? We find prophets, prostitutes, wives, shepherds, and sisters. All sorts of women! Readings and discussion will interrogate both feminist theory and Judaic tradition. We will discover understandings that question traditional perspectives on women. A variety of popular, Jewish and feminist approaches will be discussed. We will challenge our notions of women's place and participation both in the past and as presented even today.


RELI 398/4 - AA (3 credits) J. 17:45-20:15

Horror films explore the hopes and fears of individuals and societies. Perhaps because religious traditions also engage in assuaging, explaining, and/or eradicating the same, and accept the supernatural as immanent, religious themes feature quite heavily in the horror genre. As categories and mediations, both horror and religion occupy interstitial spaces between mainstream and crowd pleasing, as well as cultic and esoteric. In this class, we will explore how religion is instrumentalized in narratives and visualizations of horror, and interrogate it as a site for negotiating personal and societal values, individual and institutional failings, and immediate and distant futures. The films are from diverse cultural, religious, and linguistic backgrounds, and thus, this class will also have a comparative purpose of examining how universal questions are contextualized and engaged with differently. Students will engage with the films affectively, and consider what the medium of horror accomplishes through the incitement of fear, revulsion, sadness, as well as exaltation, exhilaration, and catharsis. Additionally, students will learn to analyze the medium of film with respect to the techniques and tropes of horror, write critical reviews that consider narratives in terms of their cultural and temporal milieu, and acquire an understanding of the category of religion as a lived practice.


RELI 398/4 - B (3 credits) T.J. 14:45-16:00

This course explores diverse approaches to human sexuality and gender through the lens of Jewish culture and it investigates Judaism through the lens of gender and sexuality. Throughout the term, we will engage directly with a range of evidence, from ancient texts to archaeological artifacts to contemporary film and television. Our goal is to uncover insights and different approaches to these areas of human experience. Topics to be covered may include: divergent constructions of masculinity and femininity; non-binary, fluid, and trans gender; ritual, holiness, the body, and sexual activity; gender and everyday life; ethnic identity and sexual relations outside the group; homosexuality; marriage; procreation; and sexual assault. With each of the different topics, we will consider whether there are uniquely Jewish approaches to sexuality and gender, and what the lens of this particular cultural tradition can contribute to our understanding of this one facet of the human experience.


Adding a Religions & Cultures Major or Minor

Are you interested in changing your major? Adding a second major? Adding a minor? Doing honours? Our advisor can easily add a second major and minor, and, if you are already in a BA in Arts and Science, change your major. In other circumstances, the advisor will guide you to the correct application procedure. There are many reasons why students are drawn to our programs and there are a number of options available, including a B.A. in Religions & CulturesSouthern Asia Studies, or Judaic Studies.

Program Requirements

Check the requirements for the degree - according to the calendar in the year you entered the program - and see which courses fit each requirement. If you are uncertain or it is unclear where a course will fit, please consult the Undergraduate Advisor. Note that except fo the regular B.A. and minor in Religions and Cultures, all 42 or 24 credits should be in courses within the department. You should receive prior permission for courses outside of the department, and you should consult with the undergraduate advisor regarding other programs or courses not explicitly mentioned in the Undergraduate Calendar.

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