Undergraduate Courses

RELIGION 0976 Religion in Philadelphia

What makes Philadelphia the “city of brotherly love?” To understand Philadelphia you need to know about its religious history and character. Philadelphia, a city of many and varied racial and immigrant groups, has a rich religious history. We will explore how Philadelphia’s religions have played a role in the city’s traditions of toleration and freedom, conflict and oppression. The course will examine the influences various religions have had on the fabric of Philadelphia’s history and cultural life. We’ll think together about how religion has interacted with other areas of urban life, including politics, art, education, journalism, and popular culture. We will explore religion in Philadelphia by visiting houses of worship, shrines and burial grounds. By the conclusion of the course you will think about religion and about Philadelphia in new and unexpected ways.

RELIGION 0957 Sports and Leisure in American Society

In this course, we explore the complexity and diversity of American society through the study of sport and leisure. How does the way we play or watch sports reflect, and contribute to, American values? We will also pay careful attention to the globalization of sport and the role of U.S. sports in the world today. Issues of religion, race, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, and socio-economic class will be prominently featured. There will also be a primary focus on raising ethical questions through a discussion of case studies based on real events.

RELIGION 1001 Religion and Society

Religion and Society serves as the introductory course that is required for all Religion majors and minors. This course deals with such issues as: What is the nature of religion? What impact does it have on personal identity, social life, and political structures? What ethical issues arise out of the tensions between religion and society? Although we will emphasize contemporary U.S. society and forms of religion, some historical background and discussions on world-wide religious beliefs and practices will be included.

RELIGION 2002 Religion and Sexuality

This course examines the attitudes and practices of the major world religions regarding human sexuality and to look at issues in religion and sexuality in the United States today. Because you will be learning about how different religions approach sexuality, you will be asked to examine your assumptions about the relationship between religion and sexuality in your own tradition. You will also be expected to keep an open mind about different religions’ beliefs and practices that may differ widely from your own. Topics to be covered will include puberty rituals, cosmic sex, erotic art and writings, textual traditions, marriage and procreation, gender identity, modesty. The course requires active participation, including brief weekly writing assignments, small group work, and a 10-page final paper that will help you synthesize some of the ideas we’ve discussed.


While Jews are often seen as “the people of the book” they are also a “people of the body.” This course will encourage students to think in new ways about the Jewish connection to sports, locating sports in the history and sociology of American Jewish life. We’ll start with a look at the history of Jews in relationship to athletics and body image. Then we’ll focus on the American Jewish experience, examining not only the major sports that Jews have been involved with (baseball, boxing, and basketball) but also how immigration, urbanization, gambling, assimilation, and anti-Semitism have influenced Jewish involvement in sports. We will examine questions about ethnicity and race, gender (both masculinity and women’s participation) and class. We will also examine international affairs, especially the 1936 Olympics, the role of sports in Israel, and Israel-America relations as experienced through U.S. participation in the Maccabiah games. We will close with a look at sports in the life of contemporary Jews as participants, writers and spectators. Requirements include attendance and participation, weekly writing assignments, and a final oral history project.

Graduate Courses

RELIGION 8011 Religion in Public Life

In this course, we will inquire about key intellectual issues pertaining to the public understanding of religion in the U.S. today:  examining the ideas of secular and religious; understanding the first amendment clauses on religious freedom and establishment; tracking ethical debates concerning race, gender, and sexuality; gaining perspective on civil religion and popular culture; examining how religion uses and is portrayed in the media; and gaining insight about religious pluralism in local and global contexts. We will seek to understand the connections among world events, American society, and religious life, and we will practice how to do critical writing in a variety of styles to address public and academic audiences.

RELIGION 8810 Religion and Sexuality

This course examines recent ideas and trends in the scholarly literature about sexuality in the context of religious studies. We will focus primarily on how contemporary scholars have reshaped and rethought religious traditions that control and celebrate sexuality in light of contemporary ideas about the power and variety of sexual experience and expression. Students will be required to read and critically engage scholarly monographs and write an extensive original research paper on a topic of their choice.

LIBERAL ARTS 8985 Teaching Higher Education: Humanities

This course is required for any student seeking Temple’s Teaching in Higher Education Certificate. The course focuses on the research on how people learn, best teaching practices, and developing a reflective approach to teaching. It includes experiential components, including micro-teaching and the creation of a syllabus and assignments. All topics are considered through the lens of teaching in the Humanities. Students may enroll without prior teaching experience. Participants in this course will apply theories of learning and development to teaching; use a variety of teaching methods to address all learners effectively; apply the principles of integrated course design to develop syllabi, assignments, and assessments and develop a reflective and purposeful approach to teaching.

Religion 8810 Religion in Contemporary American Culture

In this class we will read and discuss a variety of recently published (within the last 5 years approximately) book-length works to analyze and asses the current state of the study of religion in North America. American Religion has many sub-fields and is approached through a variety of methods, with hundreds of books published under this broad rubric each year. In order to connect our studies to your own areas of interest, and also with the goal of learning how to engage in scholarly discourse in a sub-field and method, you will be responsible for choosing a book for us to read. We will spend the first part of the semester on a series of tasks and weekly assignments: learning how to make a book selection; engaging in précis writing; inquiring into the process of reading and re-reading in different formats; understanding the intended audience; becoming familiar with the scholarly conversation in the author’s field; delving deeply into their sources, and writing reviews (including manuscript, short and long essays, and award nominations). During the latter part of the semester we will read the books you have chosen together. Each student will be responsible for guiding the discussion of the text they selected.

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