-2-make you, among other things, a much more informed consumer of thenews media);
Understand and analyze the arguments of a variety of scholars of religion, drawing on a variety of sources and contexts, about religious violence
Sharpen your ability to make critical judgments and formulate yourown arguments about religious violence and related topics
Assignments and grading
Four written and two oral assignments will be required in this course, in additionto focus papers and responding in writing to your peers' work:Three papers (900-1200 words each) 2/7, 2/28, 3/23 10% eachOne paper (1200-1500 words) 5/2 15%First in-class presentation
dates to be determined
10%Second in-class presentation 15%Focus papers due weekly 10%Classroom participation 20%
This course requires regular informal writing in the form of "focus papers" (10%of final grade), keeping up regular blog entries, and peer responses to formalpapers (counted as part of your participation grade).1. B
: The more blog entries, the better. This is a kind of writing thatincreases in effectiveness the more frequently you practice it. At a minimum youmust write twenty blog entries over the course of the semester to receive fullcredit. They can take almost any form you want, as long as they deal with theclass in some kind of substantive way, and they can be quite short. Aim forfrequency. I reserve the right to let you know if your blog entries are
unrelated to the class, but I am pretty open-minded about this. Treat your blog like an open-ended journal about the class, and feel free to refer not just tothe assigned readings but to current events, the news, class discussions, and soforth.2. F
. The purpose of these assignments is to help you focus yourreading (that's why I call them focus papers). They are due via email each Wednesday at eleven a.m. and
will not be accepted late
. Period. You must writeten over the course of the semester. A focus paper has two components. First,identify and give a precise summary of some element of the week's readingassignment (it must be current -- in other words, not last week's reading). Youcan choose a particular passage that struck you as interesting or problematic; youcan describe an overarching theme; you can give a capsule summary of theauthor's argument; etc. Second, give your
perspective on what you have justidentified and summarized: a critical analysis of what you find interesting orcompelling. In writing your analysis, ask yourself questions that probe into theunderlying meanings and problems in the texts. Examples might include:
What is the author's unstated agenda? Is he/she trustworthy?
What is at stake in this text? Is there some underlying conflict?