1. Contact Information
  2. Prerequisites
  3. Course Description and Credit Hours
  4. Required Texts
  5. Course Objectives
  6. Student Learning Outcomes
  7. Other Course Materials
  8. Outline Of Topics
  9. Exams and Assignments
  10. Grading Policy
  11. Policy on Missed Exams and Coursework
  12. Attendance Policy
  13. Custom Sections
  14. Statements on Academic Misconduct
  15. Statement On Disability Accommodations
  16. Severe Weather Protocol
  17. Pregnant Student Accommodations
  18. Religious Observances
  19. UAct Statement

Religion and Science

REL 120-001Spring 2017 | 3 Credit Hours

Recitation or Discussion

Dr. Eleanor Finnegan

Contact Information

UA Campus Directory:

Prerequisites

UA Course Catalog Prerequisites:

No prereqs found

Course Description

Course Description and Credit Hours

This course is a broad, interdisciplinary introduction to the ways in which “science” and “religion” have been defined.

This course is a broad, interdisciplinary introduction to the ways in which “science” and “religion” have been defined.   In particular, we will focus on the ways that these concepts have been co-constructed, focusing on their varied relationships throughout history.  We will look at uses of the terms in the history of science, the impact of the scientific revolution on understandings of nature and gender, the shifting significance of science and religion from scientists and philosophers who advocate for science as religion, and the use of the natural sciences (in particular cognitive science) in religious studies. We will analyze the varied ways (including in contemporary debates) in which these terms are used and the values implicit within these uses.

Required Texts

Required Texts from UA Supply Store:
  • NONE / NO TEXT REQUIRED (Required)

Required Texts

•             There are no required texts to buy. 

•             All readings will be available on Blackboard.

Course Objectives

Course Goals:

1.       Students will gain a basic understanding of the varied ways in which the terms “science” and “religion” have been constructed throughout history.

2.       Students will learn to apply the methods, conceptual tools and sources of data in the field of religious studies.

3.       Students will critically analyze the varied ways in which these two terms are used and the values implicit within these uses.

4.       Student will gain an introduction to the ways in which natural sciences and humanities have been used to study religion and sciences. 

Student Learning Outcomes

Student Learning Outcomes

1.       Analyze critically the varied definitions of the science and religion throughout history, in particular focusing on the ways in which they are co-constructed. 

2.       Compare and contrast the ways in which scholarship or theories from the natural sciences or religious studies have been used to study religion and science respectively. 

3.       Analyze discourses about science and religion, and the assumptions and agendas they reveal, using social theory.  

4.       Analyze the ways in which science and religion are constructed around the issue of evolution at particular points in history.  

5.       Relate the issues of categorization and co-construction to larger questions in the academic study of religion.

Other Course Materials

Required Texts

•             There are no required texts to buy. 

•             All readings will be available on Blackboard.

Outline of Topics

Tentative Course Schedule

Readings should be completed by the beginning of class on the day that they are listed.  Please bring the reading or your reading notes to class on the due date. This schedule is subject to change.  Changes will be announced in class and posted on Blackboard.  

Thursday, 1/12                  Introduction to the course and each other 

Tuesday, 1/17                    What's in a Name?

Reading:                              McCutcheon, "What's in a Name?"

                                                Hackett, "Is Gator Football a Religion?" 

Thursday, 1/19                  History of Science

Reading:                              Russell, "The Conflict of Science and Religion"

                                                Wilson, "Historiography of Science and Religion"  

Tuesday, 1/24                    History of Religion

Reading:                              Ernst, "Approaching Islam in Terms of Religion"

Assignment:                      Group project #1 

Thursday, 1/26                  Essentialism

Reading:                              McCutcheon, "Essentials of Religion"

                                                RM, "Edward Burnett Tylor"

                                                RM, "James G. Frazer" 

Tuesday, 1/31                    Premodern science

Reading:                              Grant, "Aristotle and Aristotelianism"

                                                Lindberg, "Medieval Science and Religion"

Assignment:                      Notebook check                                            

 Thursday, 2/2                    Functionalism

Reading:                              McCutcheon, "The Functions of Religion"

                                                RM, "Emile Durkheim" 

Tuesday, 2/7                      Is there Medieval Muslim science?

Reading:                              Dhanani, "Islam"

                                                Francis, "Magic and Divination in the Medieval Islamic Middle East" 

Thursday, 2/9                    Resemblance definition

Reading:                              McCutcheon, "The Resemblance among Religions"

Assignment:                      Make sure you have your definitions with you 

Tuesday, 2/14                    Scientific Revolution

Reading:                              Merchant, Death of Nature pt 1 

Thursday, 2/16                  Gender and Environment

Reading:                              Merchant, Death of Nature pt 2 

Tuesday, 2/21                    Scientific Revolution and Religion

Reading:                              Brooke, "Natural Theology"

                                                White, "The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis"

Thursday, 2/23

Reading:                              None

Assignment:                      Group Project #2          

Tuesday, 2/28                    Darwin

Reading:                              Darwin, On the Origins of Species sections

                                                Moore, "Charles Darwin"               

Thursday, 3/2                    Darwin shapes the field of Religious Studies

Reading:                              Pals, "Animism and Magic: E.B. Tylor and J. G. Frazer" 

Week 8

Tuesday, 3/7                      Religion, Science, and Colonization

Reading:                              Gottschalk, Religion, Science, and Empire pt 1 

Thursday, 3/9                    Religion, Science, and Colonization

Reading:                              Gottschalk, Religion, Science, and Empire pt 2 

Monday, 3/13 - Friday, 3/17

Spring Break 

Tuesday, 3/21                    The Issue of Magic

Reading:                              Smith, "Trading Places" 

Thursday, 3/23

Assignment:                      Group Project #3 

Tuesday, 3/28                    Religion in the Public Sphere

Reading:                              To Be Announced                                               

Thursday, 3/30                  NO CLASS

Assignment:                      Work on group project #4 

Tuesday, 4/4                      Religious Studies and Science and the Production of Knowledge

Reading:                              McCutcheon, Religion and Classification

                                                Weldon, "The Social Construction of Science" 

Thursday, 4/6                    Religion and Science in the media

Reading:                              None

Assignment:                      Group Project #4 

Tuesday, 4/11                    Naturalism/Cognitive Science

Reading:                              RM , "Pascal Boyer"

                                                Guthrie, "The Need for Anthropomorphism" 

Thursday, 4/13                  Cognitive Science and Durkheim

Reading:                              Pals, "Society as Sacred: Emile Durkheim" 

Tuesday, 4/18                    Cognitive Science and Durkheim

Reading:                              Paulson, "To Understand Religion, Think Football"

Assignment:                      Notebook final submission 

Thursday, 4/20

Reading:                              None

Assignment:                      Media Analysis Draft 

Tuesday, 4/25                    Peer Editing

Reading:                              None 

Thursday, 4/27                  Summary and Conclusion

Reading:                              None 

Wednesday, 5/3              Media Analysis due by 10:30 am on Blackboard

Exams and Assignments

Assignments

Unless otherwise specified, all assignments must be submitted through Blackboard before the beginning of class on the date that they are due.  Late assignments will be marked off one letter grade for each class that they are late.   

Extensions will be granted under extraordinary circumstances and with the prior approval of the instructor.  The late penalty will be waived if the student misses class due to documented illness, serious family emergencies, or severe weather.   

1.       Notebook  –Jan. 31 and Apr. 18. Each student will keep a notebook to use in the course.  Each entry in your notebook must contain two parts: (1) summaries of the weekly readings and (2) a post class analysis on the relationships between class, the readings, and/or the discussions.  The analysis is not to be a summary of the events of class.  Instead, they are an opportunity to analyze more deeply issues from the course, so these reflections can reflect on readings and discussions from other class periods.  I will collect your notebooks at the beginning of class for a and at the end of the semester for the final submission.  (8% for the check and 12% for final submission) (20% total) 

2.       In-class assignments/participation - Students will be required to participate in and submit work that is done as a part of class.  This involves being present in class, as well as timely, thorough and thoughtful reading of each day’s assignments.  Readings should be completed by the beginning of class on the day that they are listed.  If a student fails to come to class prepared or to participate during class, this grade will suffer.  If a number of students are not prepared for class there will be pop quizzes throughout the semester. (12%) 

3.       Four group projects – Jan. 24, Feb. 23, Mar. 23, and Apr. 6.  There will be four group projects.  Instructions for each of these projects will be posted on Blackboard and discussed in class.  (12% each) (48% total) 

4.       Media Analysis - various dates.  In the place of a final exam, you will write a final analysis paper of 800-1000 words in which you will analyze a piece of media on religion and science using theoretical ideas from class.  Instructions will be posted on Blackboard and discussed in class.  You will also engage in peer editing your work and your classmate's.  (20%)

·         Draft - Apr. 20

·         Final - May 3 by 10:30 am

Grading Policy

Grading

Final grades are calculated as follows:

A+: 100; A: 99-93; A-: 92-90; B+: 89-87; B: 86-82; B-: 82-80; C+: 79-77; C: 76-72; C-: 71-70; D+: 69-65; D: 64-60; F: 59-0

Policy on Missed Exams and Coursework

Assignments

Unless otherwise specified, all assignments must be submitted through Blackboard before the beginning of class on the date that they are due.  Late assignments will be marked off one letter grade for each class that they are late.   

Extensions will be granted under extraordinary circumstances and with the prior approval of the instructor.  The late penalty will be waived if the student misses class due to documented illness, serious family emergencies, or severe weather. 

Attendance Policy

Attendance:

All students are required to participate fully in class.  This involves being present in class, as well as timely, thorough, and thoughtful reading of each day’s assignments.  Come to class with the correct reading and ready to ask and answer questions.  Failure to come prepared, coming late, leaving early or being disruptive will count as an absence.  Absences will negatively impact your participation grade.

Statement on Academic Misconduct

Students are expected to be familiar with and adhere to the official Code of Academic Conduct provided in the Online Catalog.

Statement On Disability Accommodations

Contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS) as detailed in the Online Catalog.

Severe Weather Protocol

Please see the latest Severe Weather Guidelines in the Online Catalog.

Pregnant Student Accommodations

Title IX protects against discrimination related to pregnancy or parental status. If you are pregnant and will need accommodations for this class, please review the University’s FAQs on the UAct website.

Religious Observances

Under the Guidelines for Religious Holiday Observances, students should notify the instructor in writing or via email during the first two weeks of the semester of their intention to be absent from class for religious observance. The instructor will work to provide reasonable opportunity to complete academic responsibilities as long as that does not interfere with the academic integrity of the course. See full guidelines at Religious Holiday Observances Guidelines.

UAct Statement

The UAct website provides an overview of The University's expectations regarding respect and civility.