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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

James K. Wellman
RELIG 380
Seattle Campus

The Nature of Religion and Its Study

Study of religion as a general human phenomenon. Manner in which different methods of inquiry (phenomenology, anthropology, sociology, psychology, literary criticism, archaeology, philosophy, theology) illuminate different aspects of religion and help to shape our conceptions of its nature. Recommended: RELIG 201 or RELIG 202. Offered: jointly with CHID 380.

Class description

>This course is an introduction to the academic study of religion. There are vigorous debates as to the appropriate method and theory in the study of religion. We will explore what is at stake in these discussions and how we can join the conversation in an intelligent and informed fashion. The course gives the student a historical overview of the discussion of religion and provides a sense of where the academic study of religion is headed. We will look at religion using the tools of sociology, theology, anthropology and philosophy. The course will end with a review of new theories of religion that privilege neither the individual nor the culture but analyze social, cultural and psychological systems together-using an integrated approach as the best guarantor of understanding the phenomenon called religion > > > > >> > > > >

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

>>The course is designed in a lecture and discussion format. Discussions and student questions are critical to how the class will be run. The specific goals of the course include the following: o To develop questions that are relevant to the student's investigation of religion. o To develop arguments for one's perspective on issues. o To analyze different problems and approaches to the study of religion. o To think analytically and creatively about one's perspective on religion.

Recommended preparation

Basic course in Religion, 201/202 or Religion 301. Willingness to do challenging reading and to think critically about theory and method in the approach to religion.

Class assignments and grading

Writing assignments and a final exam.

>1) If student has demonstrated understanding of the analytic tools discussed in class. 2) If student has understood text well enough to be critical in an informed fashion. 3) If student approached the subject in a thoughtful, clear and creative way.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Loryn Hazan Paxton
Date: 10/23/2001