Martin S. Jaffee
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.
The course offers on overview of ways in which "religion" has been defined as an object of historical, anthropological, and phenomenological research in the intellectual tradition stemming from the European Enlightenment.Students will read selected writings from the "founders" of specific theoretical traditions (e.g., Tylor, Durkheim, Weber, Freud), examine some crucial contemporary efforts to develop comprehensive theories of religion (e.g. Paden, Cannon), and confront the global challenges to the cogency of the academic study of religion posed by feminist theory in particular (Gross). Students will learn a great deal about how the secularist, naturalistic, and (yes!)androcentric assumptions of modern academic students of religion have both illumined and obscured our understandings of this complex and ubiquitous quest to make all of reality humanly comprehensible even while preserving the world's mystery. >
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Lecture and discussion. >
Extremely careful and timely reading of all assignments.
Class assignments and grading
Daily reading geared to lectures; there are 2 essays (5 pages each) and a take home final exam in essay form. >
Basis on which Grades are Assigned: Evaluations of written work and contribution to classroom discussion.