Graduate Courses 2017-2018

RLGN 7130 A01 – Seminar in Hinduism
Prof. Ian Whicher
FALL 2017 Tuesday 2:30 – 5:15 pm

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 texts such as the Yoga-Sutra of Patanjali 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 theory and practice, clarify the authentic place of Yoga within Hinduism, and consider the growing popularity of Yoga and its relevance today.

RLGN 7190 A01 – Religion and Philosophy: Global Warming: Community and Responsibility
Instructor: Dawne McCance
FALL 2017  Wednesday  2:30pm - 4:15pm

This course in Religion and Philosophy, a seminar offering, falls under the rubric of “critical climate change,” a fairly recent, provocative and pressing, theoretical development within the humanities. Put broadly, the course has two overlapping goals: first, that of informing ourselves as to the environmental “crisis” facing the planet earth in the so-called age of the Anthropocene; and second, that of engaging some of the conceptual and practical challenges this crisis poses for the disciplines of religion and philosophy. More specifically, the course focuses on global warming (desertification, famine, melting glaciers) and its links to growing populations of climate refugees and to what has been termed the “social death” of some (African, Alaskan) communities. In this situation, do we have at our disposal a traditional or historical principle of response? Do we know today what “response” and “responsibility” mean? How, with reference to the traditions we inherit, might we conceptualize “community” as other than living together with one’s likes?

Winter 2018

RLGN 7080 A01- Seminar in Research Methods and Theory
Instructor: Kenneth MacKendrick
WI NTER 2018 Wednesday 2:30pm -5:15pm

An intensive overview of the historiography of the study of religion. Topics includes the discovery of past religion, the invention of world religions, colonialism and the study of religion, and proposals for reconstructing religious studies.

RLGN 7140 A01 – Seminar in Buddhism
Instructor: David Drewes
WI NTER 2018 Thursday / 2:30pm - 5:15pm

Mahāyāna, the larger of the two main forms of Buddhism, is one of the most influential religious movements in human history. This is an upper-level seminar on Mahāyāna during in its early centuries, focused primarily on close reading and interpretation of Mahāyāna sūtras, the primary texts associated with this movement.

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)

Fall 2017

REL-3940/4940-001 Topics: Contemporary Jewish Thought 
Jane Barter
Sep 6 - Nov 29, 2017
Wednesday 14:30-17:15 DUCK 1D10

This course explores Jewish thought in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with specific attention given to several significant themes regarding Judaism and late modern culture.  Among the themes to be explored are Jewish diasporic identity, post-colonialism and the nation state, post-Shoah theodicy, and Jewish feminism. Among the thinkers discussed are Martin Buber, Franz Rosenzweig, Walter Benjamin, Hannah Arendt and Judith Butler.

REL-3970/4970-002 Topics: Buddhism, Sex & the Body
Stephanie Balkwill
Sep 7 - Nov 30, 2017
Thursday 14:30 - 17:15 RCFE 1RC018

This course will investigate what the Buddha is said to have said regarding bodies, sex, and desire, and will further examine how such teachings have been understood historically. Beginning with the Indian tradition of Buddhism, we will survey Buddhist literature—both sutras and otherwise—with an eye to understanding what the differences between male and female bodies, as well as the intercourse between them, has meant within what we think are the earliest texts of the Buddhist tradition. We will then re-focus our study from the perspective of the most influential of Buddhist traditions—the Chinese Mahāyana—in order to appreciate how Buddhist ideas of the physical body and the actions of said body have and have not changed in specific historical contexts. Topics to be considered include: the question of Buddhist erotica, female-to-male sex change, and the primacy of the male body in Buddhist teaching. The class will assume no prior training in the Buddhist traditions of South and East Asia but will ask that students read deeply into new materials and come to class ready to engage in wide-ranging conversation about physical bodies, desire, and human sexuality.

Winter 2018

REL-3512/4512-001 Religious Quest in the Modern Age
Carlos Colorado
Jan 9 - Apr 3, 2018
Tuesday 14:30 - 17:15 MAN 3M64

This seminar course explores and engages a selection of contemporary literary sources that portray different forms or modes of religious quest (pilgrimage, anti- pilgrimage, grappling with death, the search for meaning, etc.). A central focus of the course is on the way that the absence (or perhaps even death) of God or the divine is presented in modern literature, including how that perceived absence shapes questions regarding selfhood and “fullness”, as well as how that absence is understood as a contributing factor to nihilism and other modern existential predicaments. The philosophical work of Charles Taylor will provide one lens through which we will view our literary sources.

REL-3900/4900-001 Topics: Sufism
W. Rory Dickson
Jan 10 - Apr 4, 2018
Wednesday 14:30 - 17:15 MAN 3M64

This course focuses on the intersection of two of Islam's main intellectual traditions, philosophy and Sufism. The "philosophical-Sufi amalgam" synthesized Sufi metaphysics and mysticism with Arabized Greek philosophy. This synthesis would provide one of Islam's most widespread and enduring intellectual frameworks, one that would shape all facets of Islamic culture during the medieval and early modern periods in particular. The course then offers an in-depth exploration of Islamic philosophy and Sufism, and further considers the ways in which these traditions have informed Islamic history and culture more broadly.

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