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Religious Life of China

This course surveys China’s unique religious heritage through a selective survey of major thinkers, texts and cultural expressions. The primary emphasis is on the historical development and mutual influence of the “three teachings”— Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism — with special attention given to the relationship between philosophy and popular practice, and to the interaction among political and religious institutions. Topics include gods and the sacred, ritual, ethics, human nature, meditation, mysticism and salvation. Offered every other year. Also offered as ASIA 223

Religious Visual Culture

This course considers the interaction between visuality and religion: the role that seeing might play in religious practice and the role that religion might play in visual practice. It explores not just the ways that images and objects can embody and communicate meaning, but also how they can elicit powerful responses (e.g. fascination, excitement, faith, desire, or fear) in those who view them, and how they help humans to constitute the worlds that they inhabit. The course draws upon case studies from multiple religious traditions. Also offered in Asian Studies.

GIS

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is the use of computers to manage, display and analyze spatial or geographical information. This course introduces students to the basic concepts, functions, and applications of GIS. We discuss maps, data sources and management, and geographic techniques, including global positioning systems, aerial photography and satellite imagery. Through a series of lab exercises students explore the analytical functions of GIS, such as proximity, overlay and three dimensional modeling.

Media and Society

This 100-level course is designed to explore the complex and often contradictory relationship between media, culture and society. Like the professor and textbook authors, we will cultivate sociological perspectives to analyze and explain how various forms of media-from traditional to digital-can spread their influence across society. On what terms is media content produced and consumed, and what “effects” are likely to follow?

Introduction to Environmental Studies

This one-semester course is an introduction to the basic concepts and inter-relationships needed to understand the complexities of environmental problems. A survey of the characteristics of natural environments and human populationsis followed by a study of environmental degradation and alternative solutions to environmental problems. The student is introduced to the roles of many disciplines (including both the natural and social sciences) in the study of environmental problems.