Graduate Courses 2019-2020

RLGN 7080 A01 – Seminar in Research Methods and Theory
Dr. Dawne McCance
Fall 2019  Wednesday 2:30 – 5:15 pm

This course is based on the premise that advanced students of religion should have at least some familiarity with the theoretical approach to the study of religion that Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) articulated through a number of published texts on the subject. One of the major thinkers of our time, Derrida took religion, particularly Western religions, as one of his central concerns, always approaching traditions with an interest in their historical and contemporary engagement with issues that remain challenging—perhaps more so than ever—today. The course will focus on four of these: anti-Semitism, colonialism, misogyny, and the Anthropocene. No background in Derrida’s work is assumed or required. A course manual will be available through the University of Manitoba Bookstore. Seminar format.

RLGN 7140 A01 – Seminar in Buddhism
Dr. David Drewes
Fall 2019  Tuesday 2:30pm - 5:15pm

This class will focus on the question of early Buddhism. We will focus on primary texts, inscriptions, and early Buddhist art, as well as on the ways in which scholarly perspectives on this period developed from the mid nineteenth century to the present day.

RLGN 7030 T05 – Religion and Democracy
Dr. Ken MacKendrick / Dr. Steven Lecce
Winter 2020  Wednesday 2:30pm - 5:15pm

This course focuses on the placement of religion and the role of religious tolerance and toleration within democratic theory. Additional topics covered may include religion and the public sphere, secular and post-secular, human rights, multiculturalism, colonialism and post-colonialism. An emphasis will be placed on the rights and privileges granted to religion(s) within democratic societies in theory and in practice.

RLGN 7130 A01 – The Yoga Tradition
Dr. Ian Whicher
Winter 2020  Thursday 2:30pm - 4:15pm

Yoga is an immensely rich, diverse, and highly complex spiritual tradition comprising a great many approaches, schools, teachers, and technical vocabularies. This course critically explores various theory-practice orientations within the Yoga tradition. Primary textual material will be discussed and interpreted in class. As well as tracing the long historical development of Yoga, the course will examine the meaning and purpose of Yoga in its classical expression, correct misconceptions of Yoga, clarify the authentic place of Yoga within Hinduism, and consider the growing popularity of Yoga and its relevance today

Department of Religion |University of Manitoba | 328 Fletcher Argue Bldg.
Winnipeg MB R3T 5V5 | Phone: 204.474.9151 |


(Courses offered at the University of Winnipeg are open to those students enrolled in the Joint Master's Program)

REL4900 – Peace & War in Islamic Thought 
Dr. Rory W. Dickson
Fall 2019  Monday 2:30pm - 5:15pm

In recent decades, media commentators, politicians, and online polemicists have engaged in a global debate over Islam’s relationship to war and peace. Extremists movements and anti-Islamic activists draw a spotlight on Islamic scripture and law, and raise questions about their relationship to violence. The term jihad has come under scrutiny as an example of an orientation toward war within Islamic thought. In contrast, Muslim leaders have emphasized the meaning of “Islam” itself as related to peace (salaam), and suggest that individual and collective peace are the goals of Islamic teachings. The simplistic binaries that too often frame this wider debate on Islam and violence belie the diversity of Islamic thought on peace, war, and inter-religious dynamics. This course focuses then on the historical Islamic tradition’s varied approaches to this issue, including a survey of legal (fiqh), philosophical (falsafa) and Sufi (tasawwuf) discourses on peace and conflict. Several Muslim thinkers and historical actors will be focused on as case studies illustrating diverse perspectives on peace and war in both pre-modern and contemporary periods.

REL4940 – Feminist Theory & Religion
Dr. Jane Barter
Fall 2019  Wednesday 2:30pm - 5:15pm

This course is an examination of the mutual influence and exchange of ideas between feminist theory and Western religious traditions. Beginning with the First Wave of Feminism's indebtedness to liberal Christian values, and ending with the critical reappropriation of religious and cultural values by postmodern and post-secular feminisms, this course will seek to discover the conditions under which feminism and Western religions share common aims and where they differ.

REL4504 - The Problem of Evil
Dr. Carlos Colorado
Winter 2020  Tuesday 2:30pm-5:15pm

This seminar course explores some of the ways that western religionists have conceptualized and responded to the problem of evil throughout history. In order better to understand this perennial religious problem, we consider scriptural, philosophical, and theological accounts of the concept of evil and responses to the reality of human suffering. Through works from Elie Wiesel, Primo Levi and Hannah Arendt, we consider the religious and moral significance of the Holocaust. Writings from two formative existential writers, Albert Camus and Friedrich Nietzsche, lead us through an analysis of what might be termed the “problem of good”—how to talk about human good after the “death of God.” Finally, we explore depictions of evil in North American popular culture, including Cormac McCarthy’s chilling novel The Road.

REL4708 - Buddhism & Politics
Dr. Stephanie Balkwill
Winter 2020  Wednesday 2:30pm-5:15pm

This course considers the intrinsic ideological, doctrinal, and institutional connections between the tradition of Buddhism and the political systems of both South and East Asia. Building on the premise that the religion of Buddhism has always been deeply connected to and dependent on political systems across the whole of Asia, this class introduces a number of case studies in “Buddhist Politics” from a diverse geographical and temporal range. The course focuses on close readings of primary Buddhist texts in English translation and requires that students choose one particular, historical example of the relationship between the Buddhist tradition and political life to complete an in-depth study of. As a seminar, the class is highly conversational, and students are assessed on their ability to both contribute to and lead discussion.

REL4802 - Indigenous Healers
Dr. Mark Ruml
Winter 2020  Monday 2:30pm-5:15pm

Indigenous Healers (3 hrs Seminar/Discussion) This course focuses on the religious/spiritual leaders who are often referred to as medicine men/women or shamans. These individuals primarily function as healers but may also serve as Elders, prophets, priests, philosophers, intellectuals, mystics, artists, poets, and musicians, among other roles. This course examines the historical and contemporary place of these highly respected persons in Indigenous religious traditions.

Department of Religion and Culture | University of Winnipeg |3C02-515 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg MB R3B 2E9 |Phone: 204.786.9107 |