The course provides graduate training in the theories and methods of religious studies and guides students in contextualizing their own work within this discourse. It is an opportunity to learn how religion became an object of study, to explore the approaches of key theorists, and to assess the efficacy of these approaches. Controversies surrounding ritual, canon, culture, power, translation, and "experience" will inform our conversations. Students will develop a more nuanced understanding of the relationship of religious studies and area studies, in terms of historical and continuously-evolving dynamics. Finally, this course challenges students to evaluate the broader role of religious studies in the humanities and to set goals for their professional contributions to this discourse.