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Courses

The Virginia Wesleyan curriculum includes four CSRF courses, offered approximately every other academic year. CSRF 100, Religious Freedom Symposium, is offered intermittently, normally in conjunction with a Center symposium. Several "Center-affiliated" courses offered within other academic departments also address topics that relate to religious freedom.

Center Courses

Center-Affiliated Courses

Biology

History

Philosophy

Political Science

Religious Studies

Sociology

BIO 410 Evolution (3)

A study of the theories of evolution and their proponents in both vegetable and animal kingdoms.

CSRF 100 Religious Freedom Symposium (1)

A non-traditional course that explores in greater depth the themes addressed in the Center's Symposium series. Students attend the symposium programs, read background materials, and participate in discussions, primarily online. Pass/fail grading.

CSRF 232 Religion and American Politics (4)

Investigates the relationship between religion and politics in the United States, paying particular attention to the role of traditional religious identities and issues, while also acknowledging non-traditional religious movements, ideas, and issues. Emphasis is place on upcoming elections, and students are expected to be informed of the current debates in the various national elections, which forms the basis of class discussions and student presentations. Identical to RELST 232.

CSRF 233 Religious Battles in Court (4)

Introduces students to the relationship between religion and American law. Students explore the origins, history, and current legal foundations guiding disputes over religious freedom, providing the backdrop for discussions of current issues such as abortion, gay marriage, and euthanasia. Identical to RELST 233.

CSRF 275 Religious Freedom in America (3)

An examination of the historical development and present state of religious freedom in the United States. Topics include the emergence of the idea of religious toleration in the West, the influence of Jefferson's Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, the concepts of establishment and free exercise of religion in the U.S. Constitution, and the role of religion in American public and political life. Students acquire a conceptual framework and vocabulary for discussing current issues.

HIST 248 Medieval Islamic World (3)

An honors course in the history, religion and culture of the Islamic Near East, Spain, African empires and Swahili coast, the Ottoman empire and Mogul India from Muhammad the Prophet to the seventeenth century.

HIST 314 First and Second Great Awakenings (3)

A study of the social, cultural, religious, and demographic causes and consequences of the First and Second Great Awakenings.

HIST 317 History of Virginia (3)

An exploration of the history of the Commonwealth of Virginia through the Civil War, examining such topics as Powhatan culture, early Virginia settlement and life, the origins of slavery and the construction of race, gentry and slave culture, Thomas Jefferson, and Virginia's role in the Civil War. Field trips to historic sites may be required.

HIST 322 Religion and Social Issues in American History (3)

Examines, from an interdisciplinary vantage point, crucial social issues in American history such as slavery and issues of racial equality, and the status of women. This course explores the religious influences, background and context of these social issues which have had a profound effect on American history and continue to reverberate in American society today.

HIST 400 The Civil Rights Movement (3)

An examination of the patterns of change in race relations as a result of the activities of the Civil Rights Movement. Beginning with a study of the racial conditions in the United States prior to 1954, the course places emphasis on the "significance of chronology in understanding human culture," in this instance, the culture of the United States.

HIST 426 European Heresy and Witch-Hunt (3)

An intensive examination of the varying themes and viewpoints historians grapple with in their study of religious dissent in Medieval and Early Modern Europe. Includes a formal research paper in a student-led seminar format.

HIST 451 History of the Holocaust (3)

Examines the Holocaust from a variety of perspectives based on the General Studies Frames of Reference. Investigating the history of anti-Semitism, the emergence of racial ideologies at the end of the 19th century, the conditions that contributed to the rise of the Nazi Party, and the memory of the Holocaust, this course seeks to situate the Holocaust in a broad historical context. It also considers teh Holocaust from aesthetic and ethical perspectives. The course revolves around an all-class project that commemorates Kristalnacht on November 9, which develops students' historical knowledge, communication skills, and aesthetic sensibilities.

PHIL 110 Perennial Questions (3)

A critical examination of several great issues which confront us in modern philosophical thought including the question of the existence of God, the nature of ultimate reality, the sources of human knowledge, the principles of moral values, and the problems of aesthetic judgments.

PHIL 215 Philosophy of Religion (3)

Addresses some major questions that have emerged in the history of philosophy concerning the justification of theistic belief, the meaning of religious language, the nature of miracles, and mystical experience.

POLS 239 American Political Thought (3)

Focuses on major ideas shaping American institutions of government and politics from the founding generation to the present. The writings of many different individuals relating to such issues as: slavery and race; capitalism and social justice; and feminist political theory are evaluated. Readings include the Federalist Papers, selections from Democracy in America, works by Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, and Betty Friedan.

POLS 348 International Human Rights (3)

Examines the practical and philosophical questions surrounding civil, political, social, and economic rights, self-determination, and minority rights. It explores the contemporary practice of human rights in policy-making and law, with special emphasis on the role of politics in their interpretation, implementation, and enforcement.

POLS 372 Constitutional Law II: Substantive Rights (3)

Privacy rights, rights of accused criminals, racial, economic, and sex discrimination in schools, jobs, and housing, reverse discrimination, and freedom of expression and religion are particular concerns of this course, which examines through the case study method, together with historical and political analyses, the nature of the Supreme Court's authority and its relationships to other branches of American government, equal protection of the laws, and First Amendment rights.

RELST 116/316 World Religions (4)

A survey of various religions of the world, their beliefs, practices, and ethical concerns. Focusing primarily on Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, students in this course examine the history, literature, structures, and manifestations of each of these religions. We examine how such disciplines as psychology, sociology, theology, art and ethics shape, and are shaped by, particular religious worldviews. The course ends with a specific examination of some of the key conflicts/disagreements between two of these religious traditions.

RELST 140 Religion in American Culture (4)

Introduces students to a wide variety of major religious traditions in the United States, and examines both how adherents of those traditions have responded to their "American" experience, as well as how religion generally has transformed in a diverse and increasingly pluralistic environment.

RELST 232 Religion and American Politics (4)

Same as CSRF 232.

RELST 233 Religious Battles in Court (4)

Same as CSRF 233.

RELST 319 Christian Ethics (4)

Focuses both on the distinctiveness of "Christian ethics" over against other ethical theories (e.g. ethical egoism, utilitarianism, etc.) and on the different ways in which Christians themselves use biblical texts within theological ethics.

RELST 320 Science and Religion (4)

Centers around two main questions: What has been the impact of science on theology, and are science and religion incompatible? The first question is primarily historical. We examine key advances in the history of science and theological responses to them. The second question is primarily philosophical. In each case, discussions take their departure from the issues raised in important primary texts.

RELST 336 Sociology of Religion (3)

Same as SOC 336.

RELST 341 War, Peace & Christian Ethics

An examination of Christian ethical perspectives on war and peace. Topics include the justifications for and limitations on the use of force, just war and pacifism, alternative approaches such as just peacemaking, and application of these perspectives to current issues.

SOC 110 Cultural Anthropology (3)

Study of the nature of culture; comparative analysis of social, religious, economic, and political institutions in specific preliterate and modern cultures; the cultural dimensions of behavior.

SOC 230 Understanding Other Cultures (3)

A study of traditional culture patterns, religious beliefs and practices, political and economic behavior, and art forms of a selected ethic group or geographic area. Prerequisite; see catalog.

SOC 336 Sociology of Religion (3)

Examination of the origin and development of religion as a social institution: theories concerning its nature and function, sociocultural dimensions of religious beliefs, values, and conduct; contemporary denominations, sects and cults in the United States; the relationship between religion and other social institutions. Identical to RELST 336.

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