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Engaging Religions

We will explore how various religious traditions conceptualize and work toward the common good in a global context.

In a religiously diverse and vastly troubled world, how do religious traditions motivate believers to work toward the common good?

“Engaging Religions,” the course title, refers to three things we will examine. First, it describes how religions are intrinsically engaging: they draw in adherents by fulfilling their material, intellectual, and spiritual needs. Second, it specifies what various secular institutions like governments and development organizations must do in pursuing the common good across our planet -- most of whose inhabitants are religious. Finally, it characterizes our work in this class: exploring how various religious traditions conceptualize and work toward the common good in a global context.

We will read historians, social scientists, philosophers, and critical theorists on how to analyze and interpret the role of religion in contemporary life, while examining case studies of how religious practices, beliefs, and identities intersect with issues in global affairs such as inequality, armed conflict, and climate change. In doing so, we will engage how religious traditions from the East and West—from Asian and Abrahamic “world” religions, to a variety of indigenous “local” religions—complicate or complement modern Catholicism's emphasis on integral human development.

Course KGSA 30600 |  ASIA 30600 | IIPS 30434
Semester Fall 2020
Meetings TR 3:55-5:10 PM
Instructor Alexander Hsu
Email ahsu@nd.edu
Office Hours Tuesdays 2:00-3:55 PM
Oman

Islam & Global Affairs

A journey through the scripture and scholarly traditions of Islam, the course engages multiple overlapping and intersecting themes of relevance to global affairs. 

Is Islam a religion or political ideology? Where do Muslims live? What do they look like? Do all Muslims want to live according to the Sharia? Is the Clash of Civilizations real? Can Muslims share the planet with non-Muslims in permanent peace? Do Muslims have anything akin to Catholic Social Teaching? If you are interested in these kinds of questions, you need to take this course.

A journey through the scripture and scholarly traditions of Islam, the course engages multiple overlapping and intersecting themes of relevance to global affairs, including geography and demographics; governance and political thought; international relations and organizations; civil society and social teachings; knowledge and education; ecology and climate change; migration and identity; human rights and dignity; war and peace; and development and progress. We will also look at contemporary debates surrounding Islam and religious freedom.

The course provides a snapshot of the “Muslim world” in the heartlands where Islam originated, where it thrives in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, and in places where Muslims live as influential minorities in Europe and North America, based on the latest available data and representative case studies.

Designed as survey course with ample time for discussion, students with no prior exposure to Islam are welcome alongside more advanced students who wish to bring their knowledge of Islamic thought into conversation with the conditions of the contemporary world. Graduate students with an interest in Religion may enroll with instructor permission.

Course KSGA 30603 | THEO 40721
Semester Fall 2020
Meetings TR 2:20-3:35 PM | Fitzpatrick Hall of Engineering | 356A 
Instructor Mahan Mirza
Email mmirza@nd.edu
Office Hours By appointment (online or in person)