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UA Course Catalog Prerequisites:
No prereqs found
Course Description and Credit Hours
This comparative study of religions highlights complexity in world religions. Topics, such as texts, practices, and deities, organize the study of different pairs of religions.
This Core course is an interdisciplinary introduction to the comparative study of practices and concepts identified as the world’s religions, highlighting different ways individuals and groups across cultures organize lives and values; students will compare two different religions in relation to four selected elements. HU IBA ASST
Required Texts from UA Supply Store:
- PROTHERO (RENTAL) / (RENTAL) GOD IS NOT ONE (RENTAL)
- PROTHERO / GOD IS NOT ONE (Required)
Introduce students to information about various practices and beliefs associated with religions.
Discuss the construction of the category "world religions" and the implications of those constructions.
Develop strategies to analyze critically representations of religions.
Apply these critical analysis strategies to contemporary media representations.
Student Learning Outcomes
Scholars in Rel 102 will be able to
Analyze critically the history of the category “world religions” and the values implicit within it.
Define basic terms associated with the histories and practices of a broad range of ideas and practices commonly labeled religions.
Develop a sophisticated method for comparative studies.
Critique the specific categories commonly associated with religions and the agendas and assumptions that those categories reveal.
Work effectively in small groups to present critical analyses of representations
Other Course Materials
Additional readings (beyond Stephen Prothero's God Is Not One) are available on the course page on Blackboard. These readings are marked with ** asterisks on the Outline of Topics.
Outline of Topics
The following schedule of topics, readings, and assignments is tentative and subject to change. Any changes will be announced in class and/or via email as early as possible, allowing sufficient time for students to adjust.
Academic Study of Religions
Comparison and Power of Representations
**Selected online readings
TEXTS IN JUDAISM AND HINDUISM
Prothero chp 7
**Selections from the Torah
Prothero chp 4
**Selections from the Vedas
Comparison of Texts and Identifications
**Selected online readings
In class test
PRACTICES IN ISLAM AND DAOISM
Prothero chp 8
Group Presentation 1 (Sept 25 or 27 as assigned) Meet in Manly Hall
Group Presentation 1
Daoism (online class session)
Prothero chp 1
Group Presentation 2 (Oct 9 or 11 as assigned) Meet in Manly
Group Presentation 2
Media representations of practices (online class session)
Comparison of practices
**Selected online readings
ATTITUDES TOWARDS VIOLENCE IN BUDDHISM AND CHRISTIANITY
Prothero chp 5
Prothero chp 2
Comparing interpretations of violence
**Selected online readings
CHANGE IN CONFUCIANISM AND YORUBA RELIGION
Prothero chp 3
Prothero chp 6
Comparison of developments
**Selected online readings
Conclusions and Review
Final Exam (8:00-10:30)
Exams and Assignments
For designated class days (listed on Outline of Topics above), you must complete an online quiz BEFORE class begins. Because quizzes are intermittent in the schedule, you must pay attention to the printed schedule for due dates. The quiz will be available through the course’s Blackboard page at 5:00 pm on the day of the prior class session and will be disabled at the start of the class session for which it is due (the date under which the quiz is listed on the schedule). Each online quiz will cover the reading assigned for that segment of the course and significant points of the previous class session(s). Each question in these quizzes is worth two points towards the online quiz portion of your grade, and each quiz will have between 4 and 6 questions. Over the course of the semester, these twelve quizzes will include more than 50 questions, totaling over 100 points. Therefore, a student who misses one quiz can still receive full credit for this portion of the course. If a student receives more than 100 points on the online quizzes, those extra points will count as extra credit. Make-up quizzes will not be arranged, as they are available online from anywhere with internet capabilities.
During many class sessions, scholars will compose a short written response to a specific issue or question, which must be submitted at that time. These written responses will be graded as Acceptable or Unacceptable. Acceptable papers will be awarded 15 points towards the In-class Assignment grade. You cannot make-up a missed In-class Assignment.
Early in the semester, scholars will form working groups of 5 scholars each. Anyone absent on that day will be assigned to a group. During some class sessions, scholars will divide into these groups to discuss an In-Class Assignment question and prepare a single, group written response that will be collected and graded like the individual In-Class Assignments. Each person participating in a group that day must be listed on the response and will receive the same credit. Following group discussion, some groups will be called on to present their ideas to the larger group.
With more than 12 In-Class Assignments, the total points possible on these assignments will exceed the 180 points listed in the grading breakdown. Therefore, if a student misses 1 or 2 Assignments, they can still receive an A on this portion of the course. Points beyond 180 will constitute extra credit.
Each working group is also responsible twice for presenting to their assigned grader (GTA or Professor) a comparison of two applications of the category “religion” or representations of a specific religion from contemporary events or news commentary. All group members must participate in the presentations; anyone absent that day will receive a 0. For those two weeks (Sept 25-27 and Oct 9-11), the class will not meet in the regular classroom, but each group will meet at a preassigned time with their grader in Manly Hall. An online class session will be posted to Blackboard for the Thursday of each group presentation week. Everyone should review the online materials that week, whether they present on Tuesday or Thursday.
TESTS AND FINAL EXAM
We will have three in-class tests and a final exam. The tests are scheduled at the end of the first three main sections of the course (Sept 18, Oct 18, Nov 13). The final will be comprehensive and will be given at the time set by the University (Dec 13 8:00-10:30 am). You must arrange your schedule, including your departure at the end of the semester, accordingly. If you miss a scheduled test, you can only make-up the test with a documented, excused absence. All tests and the final will have both multiple choice questions and a paragraph response section.
Total points possible: 1000
Online quizzes (2 points / question, 50+ questions)
In-class assignments (15 points each, 12+ assignments)
2 group presentations (50 points each
3 tests (140 points each)
Final grades will be based on the following ranges: 970-1000+ = A+; 920-969 = A; 900-919 = A-; 870-899 = B+; 820-869 = B; 800-819 = B-; 770-799 = C+; 720-769 = C; 700-719= C-; 600-699 = D; 0-599 = F
Scholars can receive extra credit by attending special events announced in class, including Religious Studies and Asian Studies events. Each scholar must submit a one-page summary and reflection of the event. Each event adds five points to the lowest test grade, and each person can receive credit for up to 3 events this semester.
Policy on Missed Exams and Coursework
You remain responsible for anything that you miss, including announcements. If you miss a scheduled test, you will receive a 0 for that portion of the course unless you can document the excused absence. If the absence is documented, all efforts will be made for an equitable means of making up a test. A make-up may be in a different format, including potentially an oral exam.
Neither quizzes nor In-Class Assignments can be made up, with the exception of required participation in University-sponsored events. The quizzes are accessible anywhere with internet capabilities over a period of at least 2 days, and both items have extra opportunities that can effectively replace a missed quiz or In-Class Assignment
The success of this course requires the contribution of all scholars. When you are absent, you miss an opportunity to learn from the other scholars, and they miss an opportunity to learn from you. Attendance is important, as reading the assignments or listening to lectures on Tegrity is not as effective. In past semesters, attendance generally correlates with success in the course. If you are late, please join the class as soon as possible without disrupting the learning experience. Habitual tardiness, however, is unacceptable.
In this room, we become a community of scholars, constantly refining our academic skills as well as developing our understanding of various subjects. Approaching religions in an academic setting requires that we think critically to analyze the persuasiveness and biases that sources of information present. We need to approach a range of viewpoints with both a willingness to question them and an equal willingness to appreciate their strengths. To make the class successful, each scholar must listen respectfully to the opinions of others and contribute their insights honestly. Disruptive behavior is not acceptable. No one has to accept a particular viewpoint, but everyone needs to understand the variety of opinions and the reasoning behind those opinions.
Your participation in the class is vital. Participation goes beyond the number of words someone speaks to include both the relevance of comments and their attentiveness. Be prepared to ask questions about the readings and/or contribute your own ideas.
Notification of Changes
The instructor will make every effort to follow the guidelines of this syllabus as listed; however, the instructor reserves the right to amend this document as the need arises. In such instances, the instructor will notify students in class and/or via email and will endeavor to provide reasonable time for students to adjust to any changes.
This class employs Tegrity’s course capturing technology. My verbal statements and most of what is shown through the classroom computer will be captured for each class session, and you will be able to access these recordings through the class’s Blackboard site to review whatever portion of class you need. However, the recording does not capture everything, including some multi-media items and in-class discussions, and technical difficulties can prevent any recording. Therefore, viewing them does not replace class attendance.
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.
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.
The UAct website provides an overview of The University's expectations regarding respect and civility.