What is religion? Why are people religious? What power does religion have for individuals and societies? How does religion function as a way of knowing, acting, and being in the world? How did the study of religion arise in the modern West, and how scholars of religion go about studying it? What ways have they devised to grasp the rich varieties of religious experiences and expressions that they classify as religions? Throughout the course, students will study a wealth of material that may be regarded as religious, from societies past and present, literate and non-literate, and from around the globe. Finally, students will reflect on the place of the religious in contemporary society. Offered each semester.