Students can choose five of the following courses:

  • International Humanitarian Response
  • 666 Faces of Satan: Imagining Demons and “Others” in Oriental and Western Traditions
  • Politics, Philosophy and Religion
  • Rome and the Renaissance Papacy
  • Reformation and Reform in Sixteenth-Century Europe
  • Vatican II and Present-day Roman Catholicism
  • International Law
  • Islam and Politics
  • Democracy and Government in Today’s Society
  • Orthodox Christianity: Between Tradition and Modernity

International Humanitarian Response

The course is designed to provide students with a deep understanding of the international humanitarian aid in countries affected by a crisis (conflict, natural disaster). It gives a firsthand understanding of what is like to work under pressure in difficult context. It is based on both theoretical and practical knowledge in order to make the experience and learning applicable to the realities of the humanitarian sector. Students will hear firsthand experiences from people who have been on humanitarian field missions. Practical learning is at the heart of the course. The course uses interactive tools and scenario-based teaching (simulation exercises; role playing). 3 credits. Pre-requisites: IA200, Senior standing or permission of the instructor. This course satisfied the information literacy and oral presentation requirements. 

666 Faces of Satan: Imagining Demons and “Others” in Oriental and Western Traditions

The course explores the origin and meaning of religious ideas of Satan, Devil, demons and evil. Students will learn about different sources that influenced visual and conceptual representation of Satan and demons, primarily in the Judeo-Christian tradition. The course also examines the connection between developments of demonology and the way in which the western tradition was imagining “others” (e.g. ethnic, religious, national others).
Religious iconography of “Satan” and “Devil” is a source of inspiration for many pop-cultural motifs. This course also explores the origin and meaning of numerical and visual symbols that are often used in popular culture to represent Satan and evil (such as 666).

Politics, Philosophy and Religion

The course analyzes the reciprocal influences of Politics and Religion and asks how Philosophy has enquired into the interdependency of these two essential dimensions of human experience and social life. The aim of the course is to understand how religion affects politics and vice versa by considering the theoretical background offered by major philosophers and theorists. Through a combination of historical and theoretical analysis students will be provided with essential tools to examine and critically discuss various case studies, from early modern history to the present. Themes and issues include: Religion and Morality; Civil Religion and the role(s) of Religion in Politics; the Church and the State; Religious Liberty in Early Modern Europe; Religion as a factor of Social Change; Secularization; the Sacralization of Politics; Religion and Totalitarianism; Religion and Democracy; Post-Secularization.

Rome and the Renaissance Papacy

With the return of the papacy to Rome after "the Babylonian captivity" at Avignon, the city gradually began to recover its former splendor. Despite the lack of a strong indigenous craft tradition, Rome had two formidable cultural assets: her Christian heritage and her classical Roman past.  Both were enormously significant for the revival and development of the papal city. This course introduces students to the main cultural, social, political and religious features of Rome in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.  Students will study and evaluate a wide selection of source material – artistic, literary, historical, philosophical, religious – thus gaining an informed appreciation of some of the most important aspects and interrelations of Rome in this period. Questions of culture, identity and power will be addressed. Through the presentation of case studies of individual Popes, we will examine how a political and religious agenda defined the papacy both within the city in the Italian peninsula and across Europe. The role of the Cardinals and papal bureaucracy will also be discussed. Much of the teaching will be conducted on-site where we will explore the development of cultural and religious tourism, and examine monuments in the city and ask how their appearances were shaped by social, religious and political factors. 

Reformation and Reform in Sixteenth-Century Europe

In November 1517 Martin Luther nailed to the Cathedral door in Wittenberg ninety-five theses questioning the value of indulgences and criticizing the moral and doctrinal abuses of the Church. He thus set in motion a call for the reform of the Church which would eventually divide Europe. The subsequent development of this reform movement has shaped global history and has on-going relevance in vast areas of Christianity. The Catholic Church developed a counter-reformation attitude that was enacted by the Council of Trent. This course examines the causes that lead Luther to make his protest and explores the results of this dramatic action. Students will study the effects of the Reformation across Europe, noting the diversity of opinions, as well as the Catholic Church’s response. On-site visits will be used to re-animate history.

Vatican II and Present-Day Roman Catholicism

The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) was perhaps the most significant event in Twentieth century Christianity. The Roman Catholic Church redefined its relationship with modernity in order to regain centre stage in the global  world. The main documents of Vatican II will be introduced in their historical background and theological significance. The reception of the Council and the tensions around it will be assessed in the pontificates of John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis. Present-day global trends within Roman Catholicism will be assessed in the framework of ecumenical, inter-religious and public/secular contexts.

International Law

This course is a study of the nature and sources of international law, tracing its historical development and concluding with a discussion of recent proposals to strengthen world law. Also examined are recent events that have made international law more enforceable, such as the work of international tribunals and the International Court of Justice.

Islam & Politics

Scholars, government analysts and terrorism experts have examined the relationship between Islam and politics for years. Although this field of study is not recent, it became both dominant and essential since 9/11. This course intends to provide a comprehensive, analytical, and in-depth examination of political Islam in an increasingly globalizing world. The purpose is thus to show the interaction of Islam and politics and the multiple and diverse roles of Islamic movements, as well as issues of: i) authoritarianism; ii) democratization; iii) religious extremism; and iv) terrorism. The first part of the course will give a general overview; the second part of the course will focus on case studies at the regional and global level.

 Democracy & Government in Today’s Society

This course offers an informative introduction to the complexities of government in some selected countries, regardless of their ideology, size and economic development. It also provides students with a civic background, whatever their academic specialization. This implies tentative answers to questions such as the purpose of government, the functions of political institutions, and the real actors in political processes in the global era.
Constitutions, legislatures, administrations, social forces, interest groups, political parties and elections are scrutinized in turn.

Orthodox Christianity: Between Tradition and Modernity

This course explores Orthodox Christianity from multiple standpoints. Students will learn about historical events leading to the establishment of the Christian Church, the subsequent development of the ecclesiastical structure of the Orthodox Church and dogmas, and theological issues that led to fragmentation of the Christian community, from the earliest period to the Great Schism in 11th century. Students will also learn about major theological issues in modern and contemporary Orthodox theology, present organization of the Orthodox Church and its position toward the ecumenical dialogue and a variety of other questions relevant for contemporary culture and society. An important aspect of the course is also analysis of the liturgical art and sacral architecture of the Orthodox Church that will be explained in connection to theological ideas that influenced the character of their form and content. 

Exact selection of elective courses offered in each semester is subject to change. Number of offered courses can be expanded or reduced, depending on the needs in each semester.
In addition to courses, students will also be offered a study trip to a location in Italy or the Mediterranean that has relevance to the program and topics of particular courses.