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Home > Academics > Undergraduate > Religious Studies >
Ethnic Studies
Course Description

Religious Studies 180
World Religions: Spirituality, Identity, and the "Other" in the Religions of the West

Instructor: Judith Bishop

This introductory course surveys the rise and development of the three major world religions which ground their tradition in the Abrahamic narrative: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Major topics include sacred texts, sacred space, prayer, pilgrimage, mysticism, and community with a particular emphasis on “interfaith” relations –historical perspectives on the children of Abraham in conflict and dialogue. Primary texts include religious autobiography, poetry, mystical writing, personal narratives and selected sacred texts. This course focuses on an understanding of religion and religious identities as dynamic--rather than fixed categories—in negotiation with issues of gender, culture, nationality, and social justice. The course concludes with a look at the rise of fundamentalism in modern Judaism, Christianity and Islam and its impact on contemporary global issues.

Note: Several field trips to locations of religious significance in the Bay area are currently planned for this course.

This course is offered Fall 2014.

Religious Studies 180
Spirituality and Sustainability

General Information

Instructor: Judith Bishop
Class meetings: Monday through Friday*, 12:00-3:30 pm
*except for Friday, January 10, 8:00 am-5:00 pm—Class trip to Green Gulch Farm Zen Center. No class meeting on Monday, January 13.
Location: Vera Long, Room 140
Notes: This course may meet elective requirements for Environmental Science or Environmental Studies. In addition, for current undergraduate students, this course counts as an upper-division elective; graduate students can take the course for 100-level elective credit. Space for auditors is limited.
Credit: 1.0

Course Description

How does a sampling of world spiritual traditions illustrate the relation between human and non-human entities: i.e., non-human animals, the environment, and the cosmos. What are the implications of these relationships for our contemporary concepts of sustainability? How do these same religious traditions address what we understand today as personal sustainability? Although we understand contemporary society to be uniquely stressful, many of the ancient spiritual traditions regularly foregrounded the need to take time to be “apart”—to separate oneself from the stresses of daily life. From the Jewish Shabbat, to the concepts of pilgrimage, and Buddhist meditation: How have these ancient traditions addressed the need to recharge and refuel? This course explores the different ways ancient traditions have emphasized the need to develop practices that contribute to what we today might term personal sustainability.

This course is offered January 2014.

Program Information

Faculty and Staff


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Ethnic Studies Course List

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Activities & Resources

Message from the Chair

Research Justice at the Intersections

What Can I do with an Ethnic Studies Degree?

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Latina Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month

Black History Month

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Ethnic Studies Fund

Womanist Journal

Women of Color Resource Center

Diversity at Mills

Contact Information

P: 510.430.2080
F: 510.430.2067

Last Updated: 6/2/14