Humanities and Religious Studies

College of Arts and Letters

The Department of Humanities and Religious Studies offers an integrated approach to the study of world cultures from ancient times to the present. In our courses, students undertake interdisciplinary study of core ideas, ideals, and values. The Humanities – known by Renaissance thinkers as studia humanitatis (“studies of humanity”) -- explore such subjects as literature, history, philosophy, religion, the visual arts, music, drama, and film. Religious Studies focuses on beliefs and practices of the world’s religions in their historical and cultural contexts. Employing the methods and insights of disciplines such as history, anthropology, sociology, psychology, and philosophy, Religious Studies approaches its subject matter with empathy while avoiding assumptions or judgments about religious truth claims.

The Department offers the following degree programs:

The BA in Humanities provides a strong interdisciplinary foundation in world cultures while also allowing students the opportunity to focus their studies on a specific era – such as the ancient, medieval, or modern eras – or on culture in a particular region.

The BA in Humanities with a Concentration in Religious Studies emphasizes religion as an aspect of culture and investigates major religious traditions, including Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Minor programs in both Humanities and Religious Studies.

The MA in Humanities provides graduate-level engagement with humanistic approaches to world cultures.

Students in all five programs acquire concrete skills in critical thinking, analysis, research, writing, and organization that lead to attractive careers throughout the job market. Many of our students prepare for careers in teaching at the elementary level (as part of a Liberal Studies major program) or secondary level (as part of a single subject credential program in English/Humanities). Others pursue postgraduate study in the Humanities, History, Theology, and related fields in preparation for careers in teaching at the community college and university levels or in library, museum, or curatorial work. Humanities majors are also well-prepared for careers in government and fields such as law and counseling, which require interaction with people from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Special Features

  • Faculty advisors are available to help majors and minors design individual patterns of study that reflect students' particular interests and prepare them for work in their chosen fields.

  • The Department fosters a sense of community among faculty and students in order to create a welcoming and congenial environment that encourages mutual respect, active learning, and the lively exchange of ideas.

Career Possibilities

Teaching · Academic Research · Publishing · Journalism · Government · Public Relations · Law · Library Science · Creative Writing · Literary Research · Theology · Ministry · Counseling

Contact Information

Bradley Nystrom, Department Chair
Victoria Shinbrot, Graduate Coordinator
Carol Downey, Administrative Support Coordinator
Mendocino Hall 2011
(916) 278-6444
www.csus.edu/hum

Faculty

BRODD, JEFFREY

BUCKMAN, ALYSON R.

DOYNO, MARY

DUBOIS, JOEL

JAOUDI, MARIA

NYSTROM, BRADLEY

SHEK, RICHARD H.

SHINBROT, VICTORIA

STARK, HARVEY

THOMA, JUDY

 

Undergraduate Programs

BA Degree in Humanities Concentration

Units required for Major: 39
Minimum total units required for the BA: 120

Required Lower Division Courses (12 Units)
HRS 10Arts and Ideas of the West: Ancient to Medieval3
HRS 11Arts and Ideas of the West: Renaissance to Modern3
HRS 70Arts and Ideas of Asia: Ancient to Medieval3
HRS 71Arts and Ideas of Asia: Medieval to Modern3
Required Upper Division Courses (9 Units)
HRS 105Approaches to the Humanities3
Select one course in the HRS 190 Seminar in Humanities and Religious Studies series3
Select one course in the HRS 195 Seminar in Humanities series3
Required Areas of Study (9 Units)
Select at least one from each of the categories A, B, and C:9 - 18
A. Ancient - Renaissance
The Culture of Classical Greece
The Culture of Classical Rome
Medieval Culture
Renaissance
B. Enlightenment - Postmodern
Baroque and the Enlightenment
Romanticism and Revolution
Birth Of The Modern
Global Crossings: Art and Culture 1945 to Present
Images Of America
C. Global/Non - Western
Introduction to Islamic Cultures
Introduction to the East Asian World
The Classical Culture of China
Modern Japanese Literature and Culture
Supporting Courses (9 Units)
Select up to three of the following with approval of HRS faculty advisor:0 - 9
Approaches to Religious Studies
Classical Mythology
World Mythology
Multicultural America
American Space and Identity
Hollywood and America
The Film
Contemporary Issues in Film
Women in Film and American Culture
Fantasy and Romance
Experimental Offerings in Humanities and Religious Studies
Special Problems
Total Units39

Note: With approval of HRS faculty advisor, a student may select up to two courses from the following departments: Art, English, Foreign Languages, History, Philosophy. Theatre and Dance.

Religious Studies Concentration 

Units required for Major: 39
Minimum total units required for the BA: 120

Required Lower Division Courses (9 Units)
Select three of the following:9
Arts and Ideas of the West: Ancient to Medieval
Arts and Ideas of the West: Renaissance to Modern
Arts and Ideas of Asia: Ancient to Medieval
Arts and Ideas of Asia: Medieval to Modern
Required Upper Division Courses (12 Units)
HRS 108Approaches to Religious Studies3
HRS 140Exploring World Religions 3
Select one course in the HRS 190 Seminar in Humanities and Religious Studies series3
Select one course in the HRS 198 Seminar in Humanities series3
Required Areas of Study (9-18 Units)
Select at least three of the following, at least one from each of the categories A and B:9 - 18
A. Religions with South and East Asian Origins
History of Buddhism
Chinese Philosophy and Religion
Zen Buddhism and Daoism
The Confucian Tradition
Religions of India I: The Formative Period
The Hindu Year: Fall
The Hindu Year: Spring
B. Religions with West Asian Origins
Paganism in the Roman World
Introduction to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament
Introduction to the New Testament
History of Christianity to the Reformation
History of Christianity Since the Reformation
Introduction To Judaism
Introduction to Christianity
Introduction To Islam
Supporting Courses (0-9 Units)
Select up to three of the following:0 - 9
Approaches to the Humanities
Classical Mythology
Introduction to Islamic Cultures
World Mythology
Great Mystics of the World
Food, Farming, and the Sacred
Spirit and Nature
World Religions and Cultures in Cinema
Experimental Offerings in Humanities and Religious Studies
Special Problems
With approval of HRS faculty advisor, advisor approval, a student may select up to two of the following:
Magic, Witchcraft and Religion
Rise of Religious Cults
Communication and Religion
Native American Religion and Philosophy
African Religions and Philosophies
History of Religion in the United States
Philosophy Of Religion
Sociology of Religion
Feminism and the Spirit
Total Units30-48

Note: With approval of HRS faculty advisor, foreign language study may be applied as elective units. The advisor and student together will determine if the language is appropriate to the student's area of interest in Religious Studies. Students should consult with an advisor before choosing any electives.

Minor - Humanities 

Required Lower Division Courses (6 Units)
HRS 10Arts and Ideas of the West: Ancient to Medieval3
or HRS 11 Arts and Ideas of the West: Renaissance to Modern
HRS 70Arts and Ideas of Asia: Ancient to Medieval3
or HRS 71 Arts and Ideas of Asia: Medieval to Modern
Required Upper Division Course (3 Units)
HRS 105Approaches to the Humanities3
Required Areas of Study (9-12 Units)
Select at least one from each of the categories A, B, and C:9 - 12
A. Ancient - Renaissance
The Culture of Classical Greece
The Culture of Classical Rome
Medieval Culture
Renaissance
B. Enlightenment - Postmodern
Baroque and the Enlightenment
Romanticism and Revolution
Birth Of The Modern
Global Crossings: Art and Culture 1945 to Present
Images Of America
C. Global/Non - Western
Introduction to Islamic Cultures
Introduction to the East Asian World
The Classical Culture of China
Modern Japanese Literature and Culture
Supporting Courses (0-3 Units)
Select one from the following with approval of HRS faculty advisor:0 - 3
Classical Mythology
World Mythology
Multicultural America
American Space and Identity
Hollywood and America
The Film
Contemporary Issues in Film
Women in Film and American Culture
Fantasy and Romance
Select one course in the HRS 190 Seminar in Humanities and Religious Studies series
Select one course in the HRS 195 Seminar in Humanities and Religious Studies series
Experimental Offerings in Humanities and Religious Studies
Special Problems
Total Units18-24

Note: With approval of HRS faculty advisor, a student may choose one course from the following departments: Art, English, Foreign Languages, History, Philosophy, Theatre and Dance.

Minor - Religious Studies 

Units required for Minor: 21

Required Upper Division Courses (6 Units)
HRS 108Approaches to Religious Studies3
HRS 140Exploring World Religions 3
Required Areas of Study (6-15 Units)
Select at least one course each from categories A and B:6 - 15
A. Religions with South and East Asian Origins
History of Buddhism
Chinese Philosophy and Religion
Zen Buddhism and Daoism
The Confucian Tradition
Religions of India I: The Formative Period
The Hindu Year: Fall
The Hindu Year: Spring
B. Religions with West Asian Origins
Paganism in the Roman World
Introduction to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament
Introduction to the New Testament
History of Christianity to the Reformation
History of Christianity Since the Reformation
Introduction To Judaism
Introduction to Christianity
Introduction To Islam
Supporting Courses (0-9 Units)
Select up to three of the following:0 - 9
Classical Mythology
Introduction to Islamic Cultures
World Mythology
Great Mystics of the World
Food, Farming, and the Sacred
Spirit and Nature
World Religions and Cultures in Cinema
Select one course in the HRS 190 Seminar in Humanities and Religious Studies series
Experimental Offerings in Humanities and Religious Studies
Seminar in Religious Studies
Special Problems
With approval of HRS faculty advisor, a student may select up to, two of the following:
Magic, Witchcraft and Religion
Rise of Religious Cults
Communication and Religion
Native American Religion and Philosophy
African Religions and Philosophies
History of Religion in the United States
Philosophy Of Religion
Sociology of Religion
Feminism and the Spirit
Total Units12-30

Graduate Program

Master of Arts in Humanities

Admission Requirements

Admission as a classified graduate student in Humanities requires:

  • a baccalaureate degree from an accredited four-year college or university (or equivalent preparation if the student has done undergraduate work outside the U.S.);
  • an undergraduate major in Humanities or in a closely related field (subject to approval by the Graduate Coordinator);
  • a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 semester units attempted and a minimum 3.3 GPA in Humanities courses (or in major in a related field);

Students with deficiencies in Admission Requirements that can be removed by specified additional preparation may be considered for admission with conditionally classified graduate status. Any deficiencies will be noted on a response to the admission application.

Admission Procedures

Applicants should file two applications: one to the California State University, Sacramento Office of Graduate Studies for admission to the University, and the other to the Department of Humanities and Religious Studies for classified status in the Humanities master's program. Please check with the Office of Graduate Studies for current application deadlines.

All applicants must file the following with the Office of Graduate Studies, River Front Center 215, (916) 278-6470, www.csus.edu/grad studies:

  • an online application for admission; and
  • two sets of official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, other than California State University, Sacramento

Applicants must also file the following with Department of Humanities and Religious Studies:

  • statement of purpose of approximately 500 words (typed) in response to the following question: How does the Humanities master's program fit with your talents, interests, and aspirations?
  • two letters of recommendation. Letters should ideally come from college/university instructors, but if these are not available, any other credible source who can address qualifications will be acceptable (e.g., work supervisor or community leader);
  • academic writing sample of 3-5 pages, to be accompanied by a brief explanation regarding the context (e.g., the course and assignment) for which the writing was produced.

Advancement to Candidacy

Each student must file an application for Advancement to Candidacy, indicating a proposed program of graduate study. This should be initiated by the student as soon as the student has:

  • removed any deficiencies in Admission Requirements;
  • completed at least 12 units of 200-level courses in the graduate program with a minimum 3.0 GPA;
  • achieved a passing grade on the Humanities M.A. Preliminary Exam; and
  • received a placement Score Number of 80 on the Writing Placement for Graduate Students (WPG) timed essay exam or received a grade of "B" or better in a Graduate Writing Intensive (GWI) course in their discipline within the first two semesters of course work at California State University, Sacramento or met one of the graduate GWAR equivalency standards.

Advancement to Candidacy forms are available in the Office of Graduate Studies and the Humanities and Religious Studies departmental office. The student fills out the form after planning a degree program in consultation with his/her HRS advisor. The completed form is then returned to the Graduate Coordinator and the Office of Graduate Studies for approval.

Master of Arts Degree in Humanities

Units required for the MA: 30
Minimum GPA 3.0

Required Courses (9 Units)
HRS 200ACulture and Expression: Prehistory to the Middle Ages3
HRS 200BCulture and Expression: Renaissance to the Present3
HRS 202Western Aesthetics: Traditions and Revision3
Electives (18 Units)
Select 18 units from the following: 118
A. Ancient Humanities
Ancient Greek Culture
Ancient Roman Culture
Evolving Concepts of God: Portrait of Deity in Monotheistic Religions
Religions of the Roman Empire
Early Christian Literature
The Gothic Spirit
B. Modern Humanities
Space and Time
Versions of the Self in Western Literature and the Arts
Historical Reflections on the American Dream
Ordinary America
Transcendence Transgression in the Romantic Period
Modernism: Contingent Realities of Self and World
Seminar in HRS: The Body
Seminar in HRS: The Hero
C. Global Humanities
Gender and Religion in Cross-Cultural Perspective
Seminar in Religious Studies
Global Citizenship and Culture
Seminar in HRS: The Many Realities of Consciousness
Seminar in HRS: Death Afterlife
Culminating Requirement (3 Units)
HRS 500Culminating Experience3
Total Units30
1

Choose two areas from the three (A. Ancient Humanities; B. Modern Humanities; C. Global Humanities). Students must complete 9 units in each of the two selected areas (18 units total). Six of the 18 units may consist of HRS 100-level courses with the approval of the Graduate Coordinator, AND 3 of the 18 units may consist of HRS 299 with approval of the Graduate Coordinator.

HRS 10.     Arts and Ideas of the West: Ancient to Medieval. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Introduction to the literature, art, architecture, philosophy and history of the ancient and medieval West, with emphasis on classical Greece and Rome and the European Middle Ages.

HRS 11.     Arts and Ideas of the West: Renaissance to Modern. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Introduction to the literature, art, architecture, music, philosophy, and history of the West from the Renaissance to the present.

HRS 21.     First Year Seminar: Becoming an Educated Person. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: E


Introduction to the nature and possible meanings of higher education, and the functions and resources of the University. Designed to help students develop and exercise fundamental academic success strategies and to improve their basic learning skills.

HRS 70.     Arts and Ideas of Asia: Ancient to Medieval. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Introduction to the cultural history of ancient and early medieval Asia incorporating examples of art, literature, philosophy, and religion, providing a survey of China, India, and several other distinct cultures of the areas surrounding them--especially Japan.

HRS 71.     Arts and Ideas of Asia: Medieval to Modern. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Introduction to the cultural history of late medieval and modern Asia incorporating examples of art, literature, philosophy, and religion, providing a survey of China, India, and several other distinct cultures of the areas surrounding them--especially Japan.

HRS 105.     Approaches to the Humanities. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): HRS 10 and HRS 11 or instructor permission.


Advanced study of interdisciplinary methods applied to the arts, including literature, music and other modes of humanistic expression.

HRS 108.     Approaches to Religious Studies. 3 Units


Exploration of the history and methodology of Religious Studies, including the analysis of several significant theories of the origin and function of religion. Methods and theories drawn from the disciplines of psychology, sociology, history, anthropology, philosophy and feminist studies.

HRS 113.     The Culture of Classical Greece. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Examination of the Golden Age of Athens and the birth of Western humanism; studies in the classical ideals, tragedy, comedy, poetry, history, philosophy, art and architecture.

HRS 114.     The Culture of Classical Rome. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Study of Roman culture and its influence. Emphasis on art, architecture, literature, history, philosophy and religion of Rome from the early Republic to the end of the Western Empire.

HRS 115.     Material Culture of Ancient Rome. 3 Units


A focused study of ancient Roman culture as understood through investigation of materials artifacts, especially as found in archaeological sites and museum exhibits. The majority of course time will be spent in Rome and in Pompeii and other locations near Bay of Naples. Visits to archaeological sites and museums will be supplemented by readings of relevant texts and by ongoing discussion.

HRS 117.     Paganism in the Roman World. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Survey of ancient Roman paganism, the wide variety of religious beliefs, practices, and institutions found throughout the Roman world. Topics include Greek influences, traditional religion, state and ruler cults, healing cults, oracles, astrology, mystery religions, priests and priestesses, prayer, sacrifice, and religious philosophies.

HRS 119.     Classical Mythology. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Study of Greek and Roman myths and hero tales and their place in the arts and literature of Western civilization. Also provides an introduction to the general nature and function of myth.

HRS 120.     Reason and Revelation: The Origins of Western Culture. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): GWAR certification before Fall 09; or WPJ score of 80+; or 3-unit placement in ENGL 109M/W; or 4-unit placement in ENGL 109M/W and co-enrollment in ENGL 109X; or WPJ score 70/71 and co-enrollment in ENGL 109X.

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Writing Intensive Graduation Requirement (WI), Humanities (Area C2)


Study of the conflicting cultures that have shaped the social, religious and ethical perspectives of Western Culture. Readings in the Bible, Plato, Greek drama, the New Testament, and church fathers.

HRS 121.     Introduction to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Survey of the historical narratives and other literature of the Bible, analysis of archeological evidence and introduction to the basic problems of textual criticism. Topics of study will include the origins and development of early Judaism and its interaction with surrounding cultures.

HRS 122.     Introduction to the New Testament. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Study of the New Testament literature in its historical and cultural setting. Topics covered include the literary relationships of the four Gospels, the historical Jesus, the evolution of early Christianity, and the diverse theologies represented in the letters of Paul and other canonical and non-canonical writings.

HRS 126.     History of Christianity to the Reformation. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Christianity from Jesus to Martin Luther. Emphasis on the evolution of Christian thought and institutions and the relationship of the Church to popular culture and secular powers.

Cross Listed: HIST 126; only one may be counted for credit.

HRS 127.     History of Christianity Since the Reformation. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


European Christianity from the Reformation to the present. Emphasis on the evolution of Christian thought, the co-existence of the Catholic and Protestant traditions and the relationship of religious and secular values in European society.

Cross Listed: HIST 127; only one may be counted for credit.

HRS 131.     Medieval Culture. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Decline of Rome to the Renaissance. Emphasis on the cultural development of the West from the Germanic invasions until the advent of Humanism with attention to theology, art, architecture and literature to illustrate the dynamics of these diverse years.

HRS 132.     Renaissance. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): GWAR certification before Fall 09; or WPJ score of 80+; or 3-unit placement in ENGL 109M/W; or 4-unit placement in ENGL 109M/W and co-enrollment in ENGL 109X; or WPJ score 70/71 and co-enrollment in ENGL 109X.

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2), Writing Intensive Graduation Requirement (WI)


Investigates the nature and implications of Renaissance Humanism in Italy (14th and 15th centuries) as well as its impact in Northern Europe in the 16th century. Includes the literary works of such writers as Petrarch, Pico, Machiavelli, Erasmus and Cervantes, along with the art of Giotto, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, Cellini, Dufay, da Vinci, and the music of Palestrina.

HRS 134.     Baroque and the Enlightenment. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Multi-faceted survey of the culture of Europe and North America in the Age of the Baroque and Enlightenment (1600-1792). Emphasizes literature, music, painting, architecture and ideas in France, Britain, Germany and Italy.

HRS 135.     Romanticism and Revolution. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Interdisciplinary survey of the cultures of Europe and North America in the 19th century. Building on the Romantic aesthetic developed late in the 18th century. Considers the literature, music, painting and ideas of northern Europe and America until the 1900s.

HRS 136.     Birth Of The Modern. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Investigation of those crises in art and society underlying the development of modernism and post-modernism.

HRS 137.     Global Crossings: Art and Culture 1945 to Present. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Exploration of concepts and expressions of postmodernism and its emphasis on irony, citation, and the interconnectedness of politics, aesthetics, and philosophy across the disciplines (art, literature, architecture, film) and the continents (Europe, Asia, Africa, America and Latin America).

HRS 140.     Exploring World Religions. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): GWAR certification before Fall 09; or WPJ score of 80+; or 3-unit placement in ENGL 109M/W; or 4-unit placement in ENGL 109M/W and co-enrollment in ENGL 109X; or WPJ score 70/71 and co-enrollment in ENGL 109X.

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2), Writing Intensive Graduation Requirement (WI)


Comparative inquiry into the nature of global religions. Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam will be studied. Material and social aspects of these religions will be considered along with primary beliefs and practices. The common yearning to experience the divine and the numinous will be emphasized.

HRS 141.     Introduction To Judaism. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Survey and analysis of the fundamental tenets of Judaism set within the context of the historical and intellectual development of the Jewish People.

HRS 142.     Introduction to Christianity. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Study of the beliefs, practices, institutions and history of the Christian religion. Emphasis on the Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant traditions and the relationship of Christianity to global cultures.

HRS 144.     Introduction To Islam. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Survey of the Islamic way of life: its beliefs, traditions and practices from Quranic origins and the Sunna of the Prophet Muhammad. The historical development of Islamic law, religious sects, mysticism, and intellectual thought of the global Muslim community from medieval to contemporary times.

HRS 145.     Introduction to Islamic Cultures. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Survey of the expression of Islamic values in religious practice, philosophy, theology, art, architecture, music, and literature in different geographic locations and historical periods.

HRS 146.     Islam in America. 3 Units


An inquiry into the history and development of Islam in United States. Special emphasis will be placed on issues related to race, ethnicity, gender, ritual practice, and the politics of being Muslim in America.

HRS 147.     History of Buddhism. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Examines in cultural and historical perspective, drawing on both ancient and contemporary sources, the key practices and ideas of Buddhist traditions in India, China, Southeast Asia, Tibet, Japan, and other surrounding regions; as well as the more recent spread of these practices and ideas to Europe, North America, and Australia.

Cross listed: HIST 147

HRS 148.     African Arts and Cultures. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Survey of African cultural and artistic forms which explores the intersection of culture and the humanities in different African contexts-past and present. Emphasizes the cultural diversity of the African continent, and surveys how different cultural, ethical, aesthetic, and religious values are expressed in literature, visual art, music, architecture, and ritual. Focuses primarily on sub-Saharan Africa.

HRS 151.     World Mythology. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Introduction to the nature and function of myth. The specific literature studied will be exclusive of classical mythology and because of the breadth of subject matter will vary in content. The mythology of at least four cultures will be covered each term.

HRS 152.     Great Mystics of the World. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Examination of the meaning of mysticism as a "direct experience of ultimate reality" in the world's religions. The history, teachings, belief systems and scriptures of Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam will be studied to illuminate the lives and works of each religion's great mystical thinkers.

HRS 154.     Food, Farming, and the Sacred. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Examination of primary sources dealing with the sacred dimensions of food and farming in pre-modern and modern world cultures. Attention paid to sustainable, small-scale farming, and spiritual perspectives that promote and reinforce sustainable food practices. Interested students may receive one additional unit of credit for 20 hours of work with a local organization involved in farming and/or local food distribution through the Community Engagement Center and reflection assignments relating this work to course materials.

HRS 155.     Spirit and Nature. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Comparative inquiry into the critical connection between religion and nature. Traditional views of selfhood, the sacred, morality and specific ecological issues, such as energy consumption will be examined through representative sources in world religions.

HRS 161.     Multicultural America. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2), Race & Ethnicity Graduation Requirement (RE)


Topically structured, interdisciplinary introduction to the cultural experiences of historically under-represented groups. Historical and contemporary events, as well as values and beliefs in American culture, are examined through various artistic expressions, such as music, painting and literature.

HRS 162.     American Space and Identity. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Examination of the ways in which physical spaces within America contribute to the formation of American identities and vice versa. Interdisciplinary and topically organized, analyzes both exterior and interior spaces: city, suburb, regions, body, mind, and the borderlands, to name a few. Also studies the interaction of race, class, gender, and sexuality with space and identity.

HRS 168.     Images Of America. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): GWAR certification before Fall 09; or WPJ score of 80+; or 3-unit placement in ENGL 109M/W; or 4-unit placement in ENGL 109M/W and co-enrollment in ENGL 109X; or WPJ score 70/71 and co-enrollment in ENGL 109X.

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Writing Intensive Graduation Requirement (WI), Humanities (Area C2), Race & Ethnicity Graduation Requirement (RE)


Interdisciplinary survey of major events, trends and figures in American history viewed through the lenses of American literature, visual arts, music and architecture. The arts in America are studied in relation to major ideas, significant personalities and important historical events from the period of the early republic to the present.

Cross Listed: HIST 168; only one may be counted for credit.

HRS 169.     Hollywood and America. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Chronological survey of American films and their cultural significance from the 1890s to the present. Focus on films produced in Hollywood, the contexts in which they were created and the impact of Hollywood as a geographical and mythical place in the development of American culture.

Cross Listed: HIST 169; only one may be counted for credit.

HRS 170.     The Religious Landscape of the Sacramento Valley. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): GWAR certification before Fall 09; or WPJ score of 80+; or 3-unit placement in ENGL 109M/W; or 4-unit placement in ENGL 109M/W and co-enrollment in ENGL 109X; or WPJ score 70/71 and co-enrollment in ENGL 109X.

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Writing Intensive Graduation Requirement (WI), Humanities (Area C2)


Introduction to the field study of religious communities. Addresses the nature of religious pluralism in the U.S. today. The practice and belief systems of at least five different religious communities will be studied each semester. Students are required to do an in-depth term project based on research in one or more religious communities

Cross Listed: ANTH 170; only one may be counted for credit.

HRS 171.     Introduction to the East Asian World. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Comparative study of the cultural heritages of China and Japan through literature, art, religion, philosophy and history. East Asian modes of thinking and humanistic expressions will be identified and contrasted with those of the West.

HRS 172.     The Classical Culture of China. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Introduction to classical Chinese culture through a survey of history, philosophy, religion, literature and art. The course identifies the uniqueness of Chinese culture as well as the common concerns it shares with other high cultures.

HRS 173.     Chinese Philosophy and Religion. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Study of Chinese philosophic and religious ideas through representative works in English. The traditional Chinese views on human nature, society, politics, morality, and spirituality are examined. The Chinese transformation of Buddhism will also be discussed. The inner dynamics of traditional Chinese thought and its contemporary implications are explored.

HRS 174.     Modern Japanese Literature and Culture. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Study of representative Japanese literature (in English translation) from the late Tokugawa through the modern period. Traditional Japanese values will be identified and Japan's journey toward modernity examined. Both the uniqueness of Japanese culture and common concerns among cultures will be explored.

HRS 175.     Zen Buddhism and Daoism. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Mystical nature of Daoist and Zen teachings will be emphasized. The organic linkage between Daoism in China and Buddhism in India will be explored. The emergence of Zen as a quintessential representative of East Asian cultural and aesthetic values will be discussed.

HRS 176.     The Confucian Tradition. 3 Units


Study of the Confucian tradition as it unfolded in China and influenced China's East Asian Neighbors. Philosophical and religious dimensions, as well as the evolution and transformation of this uniquely Chinese tradition over time, will be studied. The Confucian influence on Chinese culture, philosophy, religion, literature, political structure and social organization will be identified and analyzed.

HRS 178.     Religions of India. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


An introduction to the bewildering diversity of Indian religions, relating religious practices & ideas to broader cultural developments, including visual arts and literature. Focuses on the way Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh traditions address the concept of karma in distinctive ways, paying special attention to the way words and intentions are said to influence the consequences of a person's deeds.

HRS 178A.     Religions of India I: The Formative Period. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Introduction to religious life on the Indian subcontinent during its ancient period, relating religious practices and ideas to broader cultural developments, including visual arts and literature.

HRS 179A.     The Hindu Year: Fall. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


A survey of Hindu religious teachings, stories, and history, as expressed through the holy days and festivals celebrated each fall by Hindus throughout India and abroad, during which ideas, stories, and values are transmitted from one generation to the next. Examines the little understood and rarely discussed historical development behind each celebration, based on both ancient and contemporary sources, thereby reveling why Hindu ideas and history have remained compelling to Hindus for thousands of years.

HRS 179B.     The Hindu Year: Spring. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


A Survey of Hindu religious teachings, stories, and history, as expressed through the holy days and festivals celebrated each spring and summer by Hindus throughout India and abroad, during which ideas, stories, and values are transmitted from one generation to the next. Examines the little understood and rarely discussed historical development behind each celebration, based on both ancient and contemporary sources, thereby revealing why Hindu ideas and history have remained compelling to Hindus for thousands of years.

HRS 180.     The Film. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Arts (Area C1)


Introduction to the aesthetics of cinema with special attention to the evolution of critical theories of cinema within the framework of twentieth century arts and ideas.

HRS 181.     Contemporary Issues in Film. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Arts (Area C1)


Examination of contemporary film and film criticism from an interdisciplinary perspective, stressing the links between film, literature, the visual arts and society.

HRS 183.     World Religions and Cultures in Cinema. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Examination of the religious and spiritual dimensions of selected films from around the world. The cinematic arts are examined in relationship to religious and spiritual concerns, concepts, and values.

HRS 185.     Women in Film and American Culture. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: GE AREA D


Study of major social issues confronting American women, examined through their images in film and other visual and literary arts.

HRS 188.     Fantasy and Romance. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)


Exploration of the aesthetic of fantasy. Approaches may include emphasis on the historical development of the quest-romance or the use of the fantastic as social commentary. Particular genres, such as science fiction, may be explored.

HRS 190B.     Seminar in HRS: The Body. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): Completion of 9 units of lower division core courses and eligibility for WI classes based on WPJ placement score or passage of the appropriate prerequisite; HRS major or minors only.


Seminar for Humanities and Religious Studies majors. Examines cultural constructions of the body through analysis of art and literature and through the insights of media studies, cultural studies, sociological, psychology, and anthropology.

Cross listed: HRS 290B

HRS 190C.     Seminar in HRS: Many Realities of Consciousnes. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): Completion of 9 units of lower division core courses and eligibility for WI classes based on WPJ placement score or passage of the appropriate prerequisite; HRS major or minors only


Seminar for Humanities and Religious Studies majors. Examines philosophies and theories of perception as applied to cultures, religious traditions, nature, film and literature. Investigates consciousness through examination of the subjectivity of human perception.

Cross listed: HRS 290C

HRS 190D.     Seminar in HRS: Death and Afterlife. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): Must be HRS major or minor; Completion of 9 units of HRS lower division courses; Completion of the GWAR.


Seminar for Humanities and Religious Studies majors. Examines myths, theories, and perceptions of death and afterlife in cross-cultural and historical perspective through analysis of literature, the visual arts, and music.

Cross listed: HRS 290D

HRS 190H.     Seminar in HRS: The Hero. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): Completion of 9 units of lower division core courses and eligibility for WI classes based on WPJ placement score or passage of the appropriate prerequisite; HRS major or minors only


Seminar for Humanities and Religious Studies. Examines the hero in cross-cultural and historical perspective through analysis of visual artifacts, literature, history, philosophy, music and film.

Cross listed: HRS 290H

HRS 190M.     Saints, Relics, and Miracles in Late Antique and Medieval Europe. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): Student must complete 9 units of lower division core courses and be eligible for WI classes based on WPJ placement score or passage of the appropriate prerequisite


Seminar in Humanities and Religious Studies majors. Examines the role of the body in the creation of saints' cults in medieval Europe through analysis of literature and art. Considers how the idea of martyrdom set the terms for an ideal Christian life and explores the role relics, pilgrimage and miracle stories played in medieval society.

HRS 195.     Seminar in Humanities. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): Completion of 12 units of HRS lower division core courses, HRS 105, senior status; or instructor permission.


Senior seminar for Humanities and Religious Studies majors with Humanities Concentration; focuses on the perspectives and methods of the academic study of the humanities. Topics chosen by the instructor.

Note: May be repeated once for credit.

HRS 196.     Experimental Offerings in Humanities and Religious Studies. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): Instructor permission.


Special experimental course on specific themes, figures, or topic areas.

Note: May be taken twice for credit if topic differs.

Credit/No Credit

HRS 198.     Seminar in Religious Studies. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): Completion of 9 units of HRS lower division core courses, HRS 108, senior status; or instructor permission.


Senior seminar for Humanities and Religious Studies majors with Religious Studies Concentration; focuses on the perspectives and methods of the academic study of religion. Topics chosen by the instructor.

Note: May be repeated once for credit.

HRS 199.     Special Problems. 1 - 3 Units


Tutorial-reading course involving independent research. Topic and research method to be decided upon jointly by student and instructor.

Note: May be repeated for credit.

HRS 200A.     Culture and Expression: Prehistory to the Middle Ages. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): Must be a HRS major or minor


Interdisciplinary seminar on cultural movements, figures, and art forms of eras from prehistory to the Europen Middle Ages. Focus on the West with some global comparison. Emphasis on theoretical perspectives, methods, and research techniques germane to the humanaties.

HRS 200B.     Culture and Expression: Renaissance to the Present. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): Must be a HRS major or minor


Interdisciplinary seminar on cultural movements, figures and art forms of eras from the Renaissance to the present. Focus on the West with some global comparison. Emphasis on theoretical perspectives, methods and research techniques germane to the liberal arts.

HRS 202.     Western Aesthetics: Traditions and Revision. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): Graduate standing.


Introduction to critical methodologies in the Humanities and to techniques of formal analysis as applied to specific eras and artworks in Western cultural history.

HRS 205.     Space and Time. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): 6 units in philosophy or instructor permission.


Introduction to significant philosophical issues involving space and time. An investigation into the current state of these issues.

Note: No background or work in mathematics or physics is required. Cross-listed: PHIL 192D; only one may be counted for credit.

HRS 209.     Versions of the Self in Western Literature and the Arts. 3 Units


Traces the stages through which the concept of the "self" emerges in Western literature, philosophy and the arts, from Antiquity to the 20th Century. Focus is on the transformation of moral identity as the West moves from a divinely ordered cosmos to a relativized universe.

HRS 210.     Gender and Religion in Cross-Cultural Perspective. 3 Units


Exploration of the relationships and roles of women and men in the context of religious life. May focus extensively on one or more particular religious traditions cross-culturally, or draw on a wider spectrum of examples. Special attention paid to the complementary nature of men's and women's roles in many religious traditions; and also the way that male perspectives have dominated many areas of formal religious discourse, noting the dissenting voices of women often hidden in more informal types of expression.

Cross Listed: LIBA 210; only one may be counted for credit.

HRS 213.     Ancient Greek Culture. 3 Units


A graduate-level survey of ancient Greek culture. Emphasis on social and private life, religion, historiography, literature, philosophy, drama, art, and architecture.

HRS 214.     Ancient Roman Culture. 3 Units


A graduate-level survey of Roman culture. Emphasis on social and private life, religion, historiography, literature, philosophy, drama, art, and architecture.

HRS 216.     Historical Reflections on the American Dream. 3 Units


Multicultural exploration of how our nation's history has been constructed, experienced, told and valued from varying ethno-cultural points of view, including each student's personal history.

HRS 217.     Ordinary America. 3 Units


Inquiry into the issues, theories, and methods associated with popular and material culture studies in order to provide students with insights into the past and present nature of American experience. Intended to be an exploration of the ways in which popular and material culture both reflect and contribute to the search for meaning in everyday life.

HRS 220.     Seminar in Religious Studies. 3 Units


Designed to offer a variety of topics in the study of religion. Seminar presents a rotating series of subjects ranging from ancient religious literature to contemporary religious problems.

HRS 222.     Evolving Concepts of God: Portrait of Deity in Monotheistic Religions. 3 Units


Seminar traces the historical origin and cultural evolution of the God concept in monotheistic religions. Topics include the archaeological record of humanity's earliest religious artifacts, evidence for the prehistoric worship of the "Great Goddess" figure, an examination of the polytheistic religions of the ancient Near East and their influence on the development of monotheism. Analyzes the evolving portrait of the Deity in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), the New Testament, and the Koran.

HRS 224.     Religions of the Roman Empire. 3 Units


Survey of the major religious beliefs and practices in the Greco-Roman world from 100B.C.E. -- 400C.E. Topics include traditional Greek and Roman religions, healing cults, philosophical religion and Gnosticism.

HRS 226.     Wisdom and Apocalyptic Literature. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): LIBA 200A or graduate status in History or instructor permission.


Examines two of the more creative literary genres that make up the canonical and deuterocanonical literature of the Jewish and Christian bibles. Both the historical and theological underpinnings of wisdom and apocalyptic writing will be explored in-depth, with some consideration given to literary analogues in Egyptian, Mesopotamian and Greek culture. Significant research into wisdom and apocalyptic writings outside of the testamental framework required.

Cross Listed: LIBA 226; only one may be counted for credit.

HRS 228.     Early Christian Literature. 3 Units


Survey of the major genres of Christian literature in the first three centuries CE and their relationship to the development of Christian thought and institutions. Topics include the New Testament; Jewish-Christian literature; Gnostic Christian literature; apocryphal gospels, acts, epistles, and apocalypses; polemical literature; lives of saints; and canons and creeds produced by early church councils.

HRS 234.     The Gothic Spirit. 3 Units


Arts and ideas of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in Western Europe, structured according to the principle of the "reconciliation of opposites." The Gothic period sees such opposites as faith and reason, vertical and horizontal (in architecture), counterpoint brought into harmony (in music). The period culminates in Dante's masterpiece, the Divine Comedy, which exhibits the reconciliation of opposites in such sets as female/male, faith/reason, human/divine, beauty/horror, and chaos/harmony.

HRS 235.     Transcendence Transgression in the Romantic Period. 3 Units


Interdisciplinary study of Romanticism and other literary, philosophical, and artistic movements of the 18th and 19th centuries. Topics will vary from term to term.

HRS 236.     Modernism: Contingent Realities of Self and World. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): Graduate standing or instructor permission.


Interdisciplinary studies in the arts of the modern era.

HRS 237.     Global Citizenship and Culture. 3 Units


This seminar is an exploration of how "the global" is conceptualized in an age with competing notions of the individual and the community. Special emphasis will be placed on race, class, ethnicity & gender to elucidate the many paths that thought, language, and identity take when traversing borders.

HRS 290B.     Seminar in HRS: The Body. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): Must be an HRS major or minor; Completion of 9 units of HRS lower division core courses and eligibility for WI classes based on WPJ placement score or passage of the appropriate prerequisite


Seminar for graduate students studying in the Department of Humanities and Religious Studies. Examines cultural constructions of the body through analysis of art and literature and through the insights of media studies, cultural studies, sociology, psychology, and anthropology.

Cross listed: HRS 190B

HRS 290C.     Seminar in HRS: The Many Realities of Consciousness. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): Must be an HRS major or minor; Completion of 9 units of HRS lower division core courses and eligibility for WI classes based on WPJ placement score or passage of the appropriate prerequisite


Seminar for graduate students studying in the Department of Humanities and Religious Studies. Examines philosophies and theories of perception as applied to cultures, religious traditions, nature, film and literature. Investigates consciousness through examination of the subjectivity of human perception.

Cross listed: HRS 190C

HRS 290D.     Seminar in HRS: Death Afterlife. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): Must be HRS major or minor; Completion of 9 units of HRS lower division courses; Completion of the WPJ.


Seminar for graduate students studying in the Department of Humanities and Religious Studies. Examines myths, theories, and perceptions of death and afterlife in cross-cultural and historical perspective through analysis of literature, the visual arts, and music.

Cross listed: HRS 190D

HRS 290H.     Seminar in HRS: The Hero. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): Completion of 9 units of HRS lower division core courses and eligibility for WI classes based on the WPJ placement score or passage of the appropriate prerequisite


Seminar for graduate students studying in the Department of Humanities and Religious Studies. Examines the hero in cross-cultural and historical perspective through analysis of visual artifacts, literature, history, philosophy, music and film.

Cross listed: HRS 190H

HRS 296.     Experimental Offerings in Humanities Religious Studies. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): Instructor permission.


Special graduate-level experimental course on specific themes, figures or topic areas. Scheduled as needed.

Note: May be taken twice for credit if topic differs.

HRS 299.     Special Problems. 1 - 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): Approval of the faculty member under whom the work is to be conducted and of the department's Graduate Advisor.


Graduate level tutorial-reading course involving independent research. Topic and research method to be decided upon jointly by student and instructor.

HRS 500.     Culminating Experience. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): Advanced to candidacy and permission of the Graduate Coordinator.


Completion of a thesis or comprehensive examination.