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Art and Design Building 2003

MW 10:30-11:45am
Spring 2018

Professor: Catherine Prueitt
Office: Robinson Hall B 446
Office Hours: Tuesdays 1pm-4pm

RELI 100: Human Religious Experience

In this course, we’ll ask the big questions about religion—What is it? Where did it come from?
What does it do in people's lives?—and the even bigger question of how we could possibly go
about trying to study “religion” as an object of academic inquiry in the first place. We’ll
approach these topics through case studies of religions from a wide range of times and places,
thereby cultivating both an awareness of major world religions and the tools to understand these
religions in the contemporary world.

We’ll proceed using a hybrid approach blending theories, case studies, and long-form journalism
about religions in the contemporary world. We’ll have two basic kinds of classes. In the first
kind, we’ll do readings on various theoretical aspects of religion and I’ll guide the lecture and
discussion. In the second kind, we’ll focus in on a specific tradition. I’ll give a short lecture on
the background for the tradition, and then you, along with 1-2 other group members, will each
present a contemporary news item relating to that tradition. Finally, as a group you’ll guide the
class in an activity designed to help us discuss, debate, and better understand religion as present
in your articles.

Each of you will find your news article and have it approved by me at least two weeks prior to
your group’s presentation. You’ll then coordinate with each other to plan your group’s class
activity. I’ll post all articles on Blackboard one week before your presentation date so that the
other students can read them.

Traditions for case studies: 1. Indigenous Religions of North America; 2. Indigenous Religions
of Africa; 3. Hinduism; 4. Buddhism; 5. Jainism; 6. Sikhism; 7. Chinese Religions; 8.
Shinto; 9. Judaism; 10. Christianity; 11. Islam; 12. New Religious Movements

Each of these traditions has a chapter in our Invitation to World Religions textbook. All students
will read this chapter as background material for the appropriate presentation day.

Groups presenting in the first half of the semester will send me their articles two weeks before
they present. Everyone will have to send me their articles by Monday, March 5 th if they are
presenting in the second half of the semester. This is so that you can begin work on your final
paper. Speaking of which…

In your final paper (approximately 8 pages/2000 words), you will provide context for and
analysis of your article. You’ll do this by applying 1) five peer-reviewed scholarly sources from

if you submit questions for all of the articles and the background reading on a presentation day but don’t come to class.5 points out of the possible 1 point for that day. The Honor Code is in effect at all times in this class. up to a total of 11 points. please check https://oai. and use your questions as a springboard for participating in discussions. and 2) at least one theorist who we’ve studied in class. I take plagiarism very seriously and there will be consequences.gmu. Your question for each theory day will be worth 1 point of your final grade. Questions for each group presentation day will be worth 2 points of your final grade. 2) Article Search and Presentation (25 points) Submitting on time an appropriate article and getting it approved by me: 5 points (due two weeks before your presentation date OR by Monday. Your other responsibility will be to submit questions about our readings for each class period. This is also a lot. March 28th) Mind map OR outline OR draft: 10 points (due Wednesday. If you’re not sure about the Honor Code or what plagiarism is. Alternatively. April 18th) . there will be NO credit given for questions submitted after 11:59pm the night before class. you’ll get extra honor-code/ 1) Questions and Attendance: 30% (+ up to 5% extra credit on your final grade) By 11:59pm the night before each class. up to a total of 24 points. This means that on theory days you’ll submit one question. you can miss a few days of class or questions and still get full credit for this requirement.outside of the class that are related to your article. March 5th. ranging from failing the assignment to being reported to GMU’s Honor Committee. For this same reason. So. Grading structure: All assignments are submitted via Blackboard. you’ll get 0. You’ll have to come to class to get at least half credit for your questions.. You’ll notice that 24 points + 11 points = 35 points. whichever is earlier) Individual Presentation: 10 points (dates vary) Class Activity (awarded as a group): 10 points (dates vary) 3) Final Paper Series (45 points) Annotated bibliography: 10 points (due Wednesday. for example. We will have a series of assignments leading up to the final paper. you’ll submit one question for each reading. and on presentation days you’ll submit 2-3 questions (one for the background reading and one for each article). This is a lot. if you do not properly cite any and all sources you use in your assignments. This is on purpose. You won’t get any credit for just coming to class but not submitting questions. if you submit one question on a theory day but don’t come to class. you’ll get 1 out of 2 possible points. Likewise. if you submit for everything. You do not have to turn in physical copies of any assignment. so you’ll have extensive support and instruction in how to do this. The reason for this is that I integrate your questions into my lectures and use them to guide discussion each day.

After 24 hours. You will have one point deducted from your article credit for each day it is late. Invitation to World Religions. This means that you lose all 25 points and will most likely fail the class. YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PRESENTATION. May 9th) You will find detailed guidelines for the article. if you are sick or otherwise absent for a day.Paper (~8 pages/2000 words): 25 points (due Wednesday. If I tell you that the article you submitted is not appropriate. ISBN 9780674027640. We will begin using the books quickly. 2016. talk to me as soon as possible. You will not be given any credit for questions submitted after the class that the material they’re based on is being discussed. 2006. 1. Thomas. take a breath. Brood. 2. or anything else you fancy. Jeffrey. You can say that an alien in a blue box whisked you away to the corners of the galaxy. You will have one point deducted from each item in the “Final Paper Series” category for each day that it’s late and you haven’t talked to me. or even a week. Remember that there is some flexibility built into the grading for these questions. MA: Harvard University Press. but if you’re unable to purchase the book it’ll do. The GMU library also has electronic access to Tweed’s Crossing and Dwelling. and the final paper series in the “Assignments” tab on Blackboard. . then the questions you don’t submit will be absorbed by the extra 5 points inherent to the category. Articles and other readings will be posted on Blackboard. If you do not submit your article a week before your presentation. Oxford: Oxford University Press. you will have 24 hours to submit a new one. Required Texts These books will be available in the college bookstore. the article will be treated as late. I highly suggest that you order it on Amazon or through another seller. Crossing and Dwelling. This is a hard and fast policy. Cambridge. that Beyoncé desperately needed you as a back-up dancer. If there’s a bigger problem and you’ll be missing more class. it will be highly problematic if you don’t submit your news articles and questions on time. ISBN 9780199378364. If you need an extension on one of these deadlines. Just tell me how much more time you need. Late Policy Since this class is so thoroughly based on student coordination and participation. The interface is clunky and awkward. send me a ridiculous excuse by the time the assignment is due. the presentation. and try not to worry. If a book is on backorder. Tweed.

“Chapter One: Itineraries. “Conclusion. January 24th: Crash course on identifying reliable news sources and academic articles Monday. February 12th: Tweed.” 1-28 Wednesday.” 123-163 Wednesday. “Chapter Three: Confluences. February 5th: Tweed. submit a question on any part of Tweed Everyone’s articles due to me Wednesday.” 80-122 Wednesday. February 7th: Group #1 Indigenous Religions of North America presents Monday. January 22nd: First day of class. January 31st: Tweed. February 28th: Group #4 Buddhism presents Monday.” 164-183 Wednesday. February 19th: Tweed. Sign up for groups Wednesday. February 26th: Tweed.Schedule Monday. March 7th: . January 29th: Tweed. “Chapter Four: Dwelling. February 14th: Group #2 Indigenous Religions of Africa presents Monday. “Chapter Five: Crossing. March 5th: Class discussion/review of Tweed. February 21st: Group #3 Hinduism presents Monday. “Chapter Two: Boundaries.” 29-53 Monday.” 54-79 Wednesday.

April 18th: Religion and Popular Culture Mind map. April 11th: Group #8 Shinto presents Monday. April 9th: Religious Expression Wednesday. March 28th: Group #6 Sikhism presents Monday. March 21st: Philosophy and Religion Monday. MARCH 12TH & WEDNESDAY. April 4th: Group #7 Chinese Religions presents Monday. April 23rd: Group #10 Christianity presents Wednesday. March 19th: Group #5 Jainism presents Wednesday. April 16th: Group #9 Judaism presents Wednesday. outline. April 30th: Group #11 Islam presents . April 2nd: Crash course on writing Annotated bibliography with at least five scholarly sources from outside our class due NO QUESTION DUE TODAY Wednesday.Myth MONDAY. or first draft of final paper due NO QUESTION DUE TODAY Monday. March 26th: NO CLASS I’ll be at a conference Wednesday. April 25th: Vocation Monday. MARCH 16TH SPRING BREAK NO CLASS Monday.

May 2nd: Last Day Of Class Group #12 New Religious Movements presents WEDNESDAY.Wednesday. MAY 9TH (OUR EXAM DATE): FINAL PAPER DUE BY 11:59PM .