Current Special Topics Course Offerings

Each semester, we offer special topics courses that are designed by our faculty to innovate and engage students with new subject matter.

Theology and Religious Studies special topics courses are numbered THRS 202, 203, 394 and/or 494.

Current Special Topics Courses

THRS 394
Gods with the Opressed: African American Religions & Cultural History

Section 01 (CRN: 1949), MWF 1:25-2:20 p.m., 3 units

Jamall Calloway, PhD

This course embarks upon an historical investigation of the Black religious traditions formed primarily but not exclusively on U.S. soil. A cursory glance of African American religious traditions exposes how sermons, Negro spirituals, literary conversion narratives and prayers tell the stories of an enslaved people in search of a god/s or, even the personality of a moral universe, that would intervene on their behalf at best or simply care at the very least. Throughout our time together, we will think deeply and widely about these traditions as we investigate the rich complexities of a people making religion, cultivating belief systems and participating in black rituals that first call for the abolition of enslavement while also providing succor and support in the midst of that calling's ongoing failure.  In this course, we are after worlds that do not appear easily at first glance. We are journeying down history to uncover the otherwise religious contributions from people considered Negro in the modern world.

THRS 394
Christian Spirituality 

Section 05 (CRN: 4570), MW 4:00-5:20 p.m., 3 units

Section 06 (CRN: 4571), MW 5:30-6:50 p.m., 3 units 

Peter Bennett  

An exploration of diverse Christian spiritual traditions and an introduction to the methods of the theological sub-discipline of Christian Spirituality. The course provides an overview of the rich spiritual traditions of Christianity. Students will read both primary and secondary texts. By the end of the course successful students will be able to identify, analyze, and engage a variety of Christian spiritual traditions and will have the tools to think critically about one's own spiritual practices. Prerequisite: Any lower division THRS course.

THRS 394
Contemplative Traditions 

Section 02 (CRN:2486), MW 2:30-3:50 p.m., 3 units

Louis Komjathy, PhD

Emphasizing peer-directed conversation, this course is a seminar on meditation and contemplative prayer from a historical contextualist, textual, comparative and experiential perspective. The course examines contemplative practice in various religious traditions through close textual analysis of important and representative texts.

THRS 394
Comparative Theology 

Section 03 (CRN:2612), MW 4:00-5:20 p.m., 3 units

Section 04 (CRN: 4257), MW 5:30-6:50 p.m., 3 units

Rico Monge, PhD

This class is designed to introduce you to the idea and practice of comparative theology. We will explore what comparative theology is and how it challenges theological study and enriches one’s own faith/worldview. The majority of the course will focus on comparisons between the world’s two largest religions, Christianity and Islam.We will explore such themes as religious fundamentalism and violence, ethics, gender and sexuality, and the role Christianity and Islam have played in hip-hop culture and music.