Are you happy? Today happiness is a metric by which a growing number of people assess the quality of their lives, with a range of experts offering innumerable life hacks and opportunities to optimize life. But what does it mean to be happy? And how have people tried to achieve this ever-elusive state? Situated squarely within the study of religion, this course considers how different traditions from around the world and for thousands of years have raised similar questions about happiness—not simply for the sake of reflection but also to do something about it. And their answers have varied: fast, meditate, pray, go to the desert, come together, get high, suffer, renounce God, and/or make lots of money. Readings will include selections from social theory and religious texts as well as a few authors who seem to be (against all odds) kind of happy.