Graduate Courses 2018-2019

RLGN 7080 A01 - Seminar in Research Methods and Theory             
Dr. David Drewes
Fall 2018   T 14:30-17:15

This class is a historical survey of theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of Asian religions, focused primarily on Buddhism. Topics covered will include the presuppositions and concerns of early scholars, important trends in twentieth-century scholarship, and approaches used in contemporary work.
RLGN 7150 A01 - Seminar in Islam       
Dr. Lisa Alexandrin
Fall 2018  R 14:30-17:50 

Messianism and Sufism:
This seminar will be organized around two critical questions: how do we approach the different messianic discourses in Muslim societies from the 13th-18th Centuries, and what is specific to the mystical messianisms associated with Sufism? Readings will concentrate on theoretical approaches to the question of messianism (i.e., Adorno, Benjamin, Derrida, and Scholem), primary sources in English translation related to Sufi thinkers, such as Ibn 'Arabi, as well as historical case studies specific to Sufism and the Sufi orders in the Ottoman Empire.
RLGN 7030 A01 - Advanced Studies in Mysticism       
Dr. Danielle Dubois
Winter 2019 W 14:30-17:15

“One of the most abused words in the English language,” (E. Underhill) mysticism has been understood in a variety of ways. This seminar examines the evolution of these meanings in various mystical traditions. What are the possibilities and limitations of mysticism as an interpretive model? How does religious experience and mystical language complement or conflict with orthodox religious traditions? And more broadly, does mysticism help us understand texts that are not specifically religious? Our investigation into mystical practices and discourses will be informed by texts primarily from the Christian tradition and by the works of literary theorists such as Michel de Certeau.
RLGN 7160 A01 Seminar in Judaism  
Dr. Justin Lewis
Winter 2019    T 14:30-17:15   
This year’s topic is Midrash: a body of literature from late antiquity, and a method of reading sacred text. Midrash combines close reading with far-ranging imagination, to create law and stories. Biblical narratives are retold, and non-narrative passages are explained through parables. The midrashic attitude toward Scripture as endlessly interpretable, with no one fixed meaning, is an important alternative to “fundamentalist” approaches. It has also reminded scholars of postmodern approaches to text, leading to diverse scholarship on Midrash in the light of contemporary theory. We will read selected texts from the Bible, Midrash on these texts, and scholarly investigations of Midrash; there will be opportunities to create our own Midrash as well.

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)

REL7940 - Continental Philosophy of Religion       
Dr. Jane Barter 
FALL 2018    W 14:30-17:15

Description not available.

REL7940 - Islamic Law            
Dr. W. Rory Dickson
FALL 2018   M 14:30-17:15  

Islamic law (shari'a / fiqh) is a 'hot button' issue among Muslims and others, with controversies surrounding its application drowning out in-depth comprehension of its historical development and contemporary diversity. This seminar begins by considering the historical contexts within which Islamic law (shari'a / fiqh) took shape, before examining its origins with the Qur’an and early development within emerging Muslim societies. We then focus on the crystallization of Islamic law into its classical schools of thought.  Next, the course shifts from the history of the law to its substantive areas and application. Here we explore in detail the underlying ethos and principles of Islamic law and the methodologies that Muslim scholars have employed to determine the legal status of an act. Finally, we will take a closer look at debates within Islamic law regarding violence and warfare, gender, non-Muslims, and modernity, all through contemporary case studies.

REL7940 - Ecocriticism            
Dr. Arthur Walker-Jones 
FALL 2018    T 14:30-17:15

This graduate seminar is an introduction to ecocriticism with a view to religious influences in nature and environmental writing and the ecocritical analysis of religious literature. Ecocriticism had its origins in the study of nature writing and environmental literature, though quickly expanded to an interdisciplinary analysis of the relationship of humans to the other than human world in all forms of literature and culture. Ecocriticism often includes ethical and political concerns about the survival of humans and other animals in the face of the global environmental crisis, and the role culture plays in legitimating exploitation, or imagining a better world. Ecofeminism was an early and major branch of ecocriticism because of the intersections between feminism and environmentalism. Course readings include ecocritical theory, classic nature and environmental literature, religious texts, and contemporary literature. Participants in the class will learn to apply an ecocritical lens to the analysis of religion and culture while developing and sharing their own research projects.

REL7708 - Buddhism under Colonization        
Dr. Stephanie Balkwill  
WI NTER 2019  R 14:30-17:15

In this seminar, we both survey and critically analyze primary source materials from the European 19thcentury forward that tell the story of the tradition of Buddhism’s move to the West. With an eye to understanding the unique forms that both Buddhist practice and the study of Buddhism as a discipline have taken in North America and Europe, the class employs a historical methodology to explore the ways in which 19th and early 20th century Europeans understood Buddhism, the impact that such understandings had on the practice of Buddhism in Asia, and, ultimately, the transference of a European-inflected “Buddhist Modernism” to the contemporary West. Students are assessed on their reading, writing, and speaking skills, and complete an end of term project that focuses on scrutinizing one particular facet of contemporary Buddhist practice—East or West—from the historical perspective of the European encounter with Buddhism and the tradition’s subsequent spread and development.

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