Students are required to purchase the following books. You can find them at the UCSD bookstore. Or click on the images to find them at

Please refer to the schedule of readings and lectures for the specific readings assigned to each class meeting.

ISBN:  0374500010


by Elie Wiesel


ISBN:  1619024438

Chuang Tzu: The Inner Chapters

by David Hinton, translator


ISBN:  0451531353

The Scarlet Letter

by Nathaniel Hawthorne


ISBN:  0679752471

A River Sutra

by Gita Mehta


ISBN:  0140194967

Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman

by Malidoma Patrice Somé


● You also will also be required to download, print, and read a number of articles available online in PDF format. The links are available on the Schedule of Readings & Discussions page.




In accordance with university policy, students must complete all formal course requirements in order to receive credit for RELI 2.

Class Attendance – 5%
    Attendance is mandatory in this course. You are permitted two absences. More than two absences throughout the term will begin to lower this portion of your grade. I will circulate an attendance sheet at the beginning of every class. Arriving in class after the sheet has been circulated will count as 1/2 absence.
    You will start out with an A for this grade. Two absences are permitted. A third absence will lower this portion of your grade to a B. A fourth to a C. A fifth to an F. If you miss the class more than six times, you will fail it in its entirety, regardless of your other performance. Please note: I am not a monster; I will make accommodations for very special circumstances.
Class Participation – 5%
    This class encourages active in-class participation. All students should be prepared to be called upon to discuss the assigned readings.
    For most students, you will receive the same grade for participation that you receive for class attendance. This is because most students do not speak in class or ask questions. I understand that there are many reasons students do not actively participate, and I will not penalize you for just sitting there taking notes, etc. However, if you participate on a regular basis in a way that contributes to the class’ intellectual progress, you can raise this grade to an A. If you speak simply to speak; or if you demonstrate to me on a consistent basis that you have not done your homework, then you might even lower this grade (this is a possibility, but I don’t think it has ever happened).
In-class Exams – 20%
    This class has a lot of reading. Hopefully you will enjoy the assigned books and will want to read them. As an experienced teacher, however, I know that some students fall behind in the daily assignments, and some choose not to do the reading at all.
    In order to encourage you to keep up with the reading, RELI 2 will have regular in-class exams that test your knowledge of the assigned books. These will usually be multiple-choice exams, very short, that will ask you to recall factual information from the readings.
Personal Response Papers – 45%
    You will be required to write 5 Personal Response Papers: one for each unit of the course. The Personal Response Papers give you an opportunity to reflect on the major themes of the course in relation to events and experiences in your own life. In each case, I will give you a prompt to help stimulate your intellect and imagination.
    A longer description of the assignment can be found by clicking here.
Final Exam – 25%
    The exam is scheduled on Wednesday December 13, 11:30 am-2:30 pm. The exam will be open-book; this means that you can bring your books and class notes to the exam. Using your resources as well as your brains, you will have to write one (possibly two) essay(s) that compare and contrast the traditions we studied during the quarter. I encourage you to also bring a computer or tablet. You will be permitted to write your essays on the device, and then to submit your answers electronically through before leaving the room. If you do not take the test on a computer or tablet, you will need a bluebook. If you hope to reschedule this exam for any reason, please make sure you speak with me by the end of Week 3 at the latest.

    Important note: If you use electronic resources for your books or class notes, then you MUST take the exam in a blue book.

Make-Up Policy
    Late assignments will be accepted only with a documented excuse and at my discretion. If you think you are going to have trouble turning an assignment in on time, please come and talk to me beforehand. I will often grant extensions for good reasons, but I appreciate the courtesy of being requested for such an extension before the assignment is actually due. I reserve the right to refuse an assignment that is excessively late or has been turned in late without my prior approval.
Academic Integrity
    University policy also requires me to report all cases of suspected plagiarism to the Office of Academic Integrity. You are responsible for understanding what constitutes plagiarism, and for avoiding it: “I didn’t know…” is not an acceptable excuse. If you are unsure how plagiarism is defined, please check here for guidance.

Students should note that all course requirements are subject to revision at the instructor’s discretion.



Class Attendance 5%
Class Participation 5%
In-class Exams 20%
Personal Response Papers 45%
Final Exam 25%