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Viewing: REL 489 / REL 589 : Interpretations of Religion

Last approved: Wed, 07 Mar 2018 16:06:29 GMT

Last edit: Wed, 07 Mar 2018 16:06:25 GMT

Catalog Pages referencing this course
Change Type
Major
REL (Religious Studies)
489
023958
Dual-Level Course
Yes
589
Cross-listed Course
No
Interpretations of Religion
Interpretations of Religion
College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Philosophy and Religion (16PHI)
Term Offering
Fall and Spring
Offered Upon Demand
Spring 2018
Previously taught as Special Topics?
No
 
Course Delivery
Face-to-Face (On Campus)

Grading Method
Graded with S/U option
3
16
Contact Hours
(Per Week)
Component TypeContact Hours
Lecture3.0
Course Attribute(s)
GEP (Gen Ed)

If your course includes any of the following competencies, check all that apply.
University Competencies

Course Is Repeatable for Credit
No
 
 
Jason Bivins
Professor of Religious Studies
assoc

Open when course_delivery = campus OR course_delivery = blended OR course_delivery = flip
Enrollment ComponentPer SemesterPer SectionMultiple Sections?Comments
Lecture2525No25 per semester, one section per semester
Open when course_delivery = distance OR course_delivery = online OR course_delivery = remote
Prerequisite: One course in religion, philosophy, anthropology, history, or sociology.
Prerequisite: Graduate standing
Is the course required or an elective for a Curriculum?
Yes
SIS Program CodeProgram TitleRequired or Elective?
16RELSTBAB.A. in Religious StudiesElective
Theory and method in the study of religion. Historical survey of the discipline of religious studies. Investigation of the major schools of interpretation and themes of study. Application of methodologies to historical and sociological case studies, involving both US and non-US religious traditions. Students cannot receive credit for both REL 489 and REL 589.

An external review (Fall 2015) recommended increased offerings as permitted by existing resources for graduate students by creation of small "piggy back" versions of existing 400-level courses. In a post-review meeting with the Provost and Senior Vice Provost, the recommendation was favorably received. As the department had already agreed with the Dean of H&SS to increase its offerings to graduate students, having already proposed on 9/30/2015, four new 500-level "piggy back" versions of existing 400-level courses, it welcomed the recommendation to continue.


Given that the enrollment history is as indicated below, the addition of five graduate students would not impose an unmanageable added burden on the instructor:


Sp 2013 19


Undergraduate grading:

Participation and Attendance 20%

Reading Responses 15% weekly 1-2 pp

Two Short Papers 15% each 5-7 pp

Research paper 35% 20 pp


Graduate grading:

Participation and Attendance 15%

Reading Responses 15% weekly 3-4 pp

One Short Paper 15% each 8-10 pp

One Book Review 15% 8-10 pages

Research paper 40% 30-35 pp


Three additional (not mandatory) meetings for graduate students will be arranged at mutually convenient times to discuss the additional readings, to workshop the book review assignment, and to discuss research projects over the course of the semester.


[Last reviewed for GEP 1.2013]


No

Is this a GEP Course?
Yes
GEP Categories
Global Knowledge
Humanities
Humanities Open when gep_category = HUM
Each course in the Humanities category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:
 
 
Students will be able to describe the academic study of religion as an emergent cultural phenomenon of the 19th and 20th centuries, with reciprocal interpretive influences from particular religions and culturally influenced academia.
 
 
Reading response, short or research papers. (Ex. If 20th century American scholar J. Z. Smith had travelled back in time to the 19th century, how would he and K. Marx have disagreed about the nature of religion and its study?)
 
 
Students will be able to analyze religious studies scholars’ interpretive acts as culturally conditioned transformations of data concerning religious traditions.
 
 
Reading response, short or research papers. (Ex. How would Freud in his psychologizing stance have differed from Said as an anti-colonialist in his description of the “basic facts” about Mormon religious practices?)
 
 
Students will be able to identify, construct and reconstruct arguments that constrain natural human teleological inclinations consilient with beliefs constitutive of particular religious faiths.
 
 
Reading response, short or research papers. [Ex. What did Hume see as the main weaknesses of design (teleological) arguments for the existence of a person-like deity? In what ways would Pellauer and Foucault have found Hume’s account deficient?]
Mathematical Sciences Open when gep_category = MATH
Each course in the Mathematial Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Natural Sciences Open when gep_category = NATSCI
Each course in the Natural Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Social Sciences Open when gep_category = SOCSCI
Each course in the Social Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Interdisciplinary Perspectives Open when gep_category = INTERDISC
Each course in the Interdisciplinary Perspectives category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Visual & Performing Arts Open when gep_category = VPA
Each course in the Visual and Performing Arts category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Health and Exercise Studies Open when gep_category = HES
Each course in the Health and Exercise Studies category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
&
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Global Knowledge Open when gep_category = GLOBAL
Each course in the Global Knowledge category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to achieve objective #1 plus at least one of objectives 2, 3, and 4:
 
 
Students will be able to identify the economic attributes and cultural attitudes that support or resist a distinction-in-practice between theistic and non-theistic religions.
 
 
Reading response, short or research papers. (Ex. Is the distinction between theistic and non-theistic religions an imposition of invidious cross-cultural hermeneutics? Discuss the application of your answer to the reflective yet culturally bound task of explaining the popularity of Zen Buddhism among secular Jews in the US.)
 
Please complete at least 1 of the following student objectives.
 

 
 

 
 
Students will understand how key historical factors - including institutional development, educational patterns, and wars - yield different results depending on whether they are experienced by, e.g., Muslims or Hindus in India. Similarly, students will also understand how cultural factors like art or race are dealt with by examining the differing interpretations by theistic and non-theistic traditions.
 
 
Reading responses or short papers. The assigned readings focus in on particular case studies like Zen Buddhism's artistic traditions or Muslim inter-religious identity politics. Therefore, reading responses will put into play comparative questions and considerations such as the above.
 
 
Students will be able to identify and describe the origination of contemporary concepts of religion as they developed in response to allegedly progressive cultural and techno-scientific change in Enlightenment-era European and Arabic-speaking societies.
 
 
Reading response, short or research papers. (Ex. How would the German Nietzsche and the British Hume have conceived on the question of “religion without God”? Would the colonial American Mather align more closely with one or the other of these theorists?)
US Diversity Open when gep_category = USDIV
Each course in the US Diversity category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to achieve at least 2 of the following objectives:
Please complete at least 2 of the following student objectives.
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Requisites and Scheduling
100%
 
a. If seats are restricted, describe the restrictions being applied.
 
NA
 
b. Is this restriction listed in the course catalog description for the course?
 
Yes
 
List all course pre-requisites, co-requisites, and restrictive statements (ex: Jr standing; Chemistry majors only). If none, state none.
 
For REL 489: Prerequisite: One course in religion, philosophy, anthropology, history, or sociology.
For REL 589: Graduate standing.
Students cannot receive credit for both REL 489 and REL 589.
 
List any discipline specific background or skills that a student is expected to have prior to taking this course. If none, state none. (ex: ability to analyze historical text; prepare a lesson plan)
 
NA
Additional Information
Complete the following 3 questions or attach a syllabus that includes this information. If a 400-level or dual level course, a syllabus is required.
 
Title and author of any required text or publications.
 
Seth Kunin, ed. Theories of Religion: A Reader. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers
University Press, 2006. $32.35.
John Raines, ed. Marx on Religion. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2002.
$24.91.
David Hume. Principal Writings on Religion including Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion and The Natural History of Religion, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. $10.00.
Donald Capps, ed. Freud and Freudians on Religion: A Reader. New Haven, CT:
Yale University Press, 2001. $25.00.

Additional readings on electronic reserve indicated in syllabus.
 
Major topics to be covered and required readings including laboratory and studio topics.
 
An exploration of various interpretations or theories of religion. Every student or scholar of religion, regardless of their focus, is situated within a complicated tradition of debate over methodological or interpretative questions: What is it we think we’re studying when we study “religion”? What makes “religious” belief or practice different from “non-religious” belief or practice? What are the appropriate methods to use in the study of religions? Can a definition of “religion” be reached? Addressed through study of “canonical” theorists like David Hume, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and Max Weber to contemporary approaches embodied by Michel Foucault, Jonathan Z. Smith, and others. We will “test” these theories by seeing how they apply to selected case studies.
 
List any required field trips, out of class activities, and/or guest speakers.
 
NA
Professor Bivins will continue to teach the course as part of his standard load. The addition of five graduate students would not impose an unmanageable added burden on the instructor.

To become keenly aware of the historical and conceptual development of the concept of religion and the concomitant emergence of religious studies as an academic discipline.

To appreciate fully with the methodological difficulties inherent in inter- and intra-cultural application of the concept of religion in all of its contextualized historicity.

To be able to apply the appreciation of aforesaid difficulties to the study of a variety of specific contemporary religious traditions, cults and imagined religions.


Student Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

1. Analyze the emergence of the academic study of religion, and the various methodological orientations that constitute that study; 

2. Describe the traditions of comparison and theorization in the study of religion, and their relations with each other; and

3. Analyze a broad range of historical and contemporary case studies from varied religions in line with the aforementioned traditions.


Evaluation MethodWeighting/Points for EachDetails
Participation20 / 15Undergrad / Grad; see syllabus
Homework15 / 15Undergrad / Grad; weekly 1-2 pp papers - see syllabus
Short Paper30 / 30Undergrad / Grad; 2 @ 15%, 5-7 pp each- see syllabus
Major Paper35 / 40Undergrad / Grad; 20 pp - see syllabus
TopicTime Devoted to Each TopicActivity
Orientation & History of the Discipline1 wksee syllabus
Hume on religion1.5 wkssee syllabus
Marx on religion2 wkssee syllabus
Nietzsche on religion1 wksee syllabus
Freud on religion2.5 wkssee syllabus
Phenomenology and History of Religions1 wksee syllabus
Sociology of Religion 1.5 wkssee syllabus
Feminism & Anthropology/Ethnography1.5 wkssee syllabus
Post-Structuralism & Post-Colonialism1 wksee syllabus
The Emotions & The Senses1 wksee syllabus
Imagined religions1 wksee syllabus
mlnosbis 9/6/2017:
1) Effective date must be Spring 2018; it is too late for Fall 2017
2) Will the course be capped at 5 graduate students, or is that just an estimate of the number of graduate students you think will enroll each semester?
3) Good distinction between undergraduate and graduate responsibilities.
4) What is the "ER" notation on the syllabus in the topical outline section?
5) What is the previous enrollment for the past few offerings of this course?

ABGS Reviewer Comments:
-No concerns.
mlnosbis (Tue, 12 Sep 2017 12:13:46 GMT): Rollback: Please address all comments in the Additional Comments section before approving the action.
jcbivins (Tue, 12 Sep 2017 14:59:33 GMT): 2) My understanding is that 5 is just our best guess of likely graduate enrollments. 4) "ER" refers to Electronic Reserves readings, i.e. stuff I'll put up on the library's course reserves page. 5) Previous enrollment has been approximately 15-20 each time it's been offered.
Key: 5965