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Courses / Program Information

World Religions

Religion in the Hispanic World

Introduction to Christianity

Religion and Sexuality

Home  /  Religious Studies  /  Thomas Shoemaker  /  Courses and Programs

Welcome to Summer/Fall 2020

I teach Religious Studies and the theme for every course is the same: "Engagement." It is a tough word to define, and even tougher to learn, but infinitely valuable.

Currently, I offer five courses. I teach all of them as online courses, and I teach several sections of World Religions face-to-face every Fall and Spring.

World Religions (REL 100)

This is offered in the Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer. It's our "gateway class" – an introduction to six World Religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), with a lot of focus on their interactions. It is your chance to hear "the other guys", fairly and without the pressures.

Religion and Sexuality (REL 291)

This is offered in the Fall. I created this one with this in mind: Religion is a three-legged school. All religions are about 1) your money, 2) your sexuality, and 3) the power to enforce those first two. We explore what that means for the major religious traditions, with conversations about gender, consent, marriage, "good sex" and "bad sex", orientations, and more.

Religion in the Hispanic World (REL 151)

This is offered in the Spring. I created it for the Study Abroad program I led in southern Spain for several summers, and now it's available in the Americas. It follows religious development from pre-Roman "Spain" through the arrival and blendings of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, then on to the "New World". We back up a bit to ancient Mesoamerica, then follow the engagement of the "Old" and "New", down to our modern moment.

Introduction to Christianity (REL 270)

This is offered in the Summer. It is a look at the world's largest religious tradition (with its many hundreds of forms) through the people who have made it up. We explore more than 150 people, thinkers, activists, Grand Inquisitors, martyrs, and artists.

Religion, Peace, and Violence (REL 248)

This is planned for the future. I created this course as a response to the assumption that religion isn't relevant. Judging by the Buddhist slaughter of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and the Taliban's reign of terror in Afghanistan, it is terrifyingly relevant in a negative way. But there is a positive side, too, that includes Thich Nhat Hanh and Malala Yousafzai and the Dalai Lama. From the just war theory to Joan of Arc, the Inquisition to abolitionists and prison reform, we look at it all.

You can get a lot more information on each via the links on the left. Please contact me by email if you have more questions beyond that.



Click to go to Engagement website

Click to enter the multimedia-rich Engagement website, designed to supplement your course textbook.


Click to enter the Storytelling collection

Click to enter the Storytelling Collection.





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