Religious Studies | Introduction to the Study of Religion
R264 | 3732 | Alexander


R264 Introduction to the Study of Religion (3 Cr.) TR 11:15-12:30 M340
(section 3732) * COAS Intensive Writing Course (Alexander)

What is "religion" anyway?  Is it something we can critically study or
does it defy analysis?  What are some of the classical approaches to the
study of religion?
Which of these continue to influence the shape of religious
studies today? What are some of the newer approaches that have been
suggested?  These are just a few of the questions we will address in this
seminar which is designed to raise our self-consciousness about what our
perspectives and agendas are when we "do" religious studies.  In an effort
to  trace the history and carefully investigate the substance of the
modern discipline of religious studies, students will read from the works
of a variety of seminal thinkers who articulate different viewpoints on
the subject of "religion."  These thinkers include: a famous Christian
theologian, Rudolf Otto, two of the great founder-figures of modern
sociology, Emile Durkheim and Max Weber, the "father" of modern
psychology, Sigmund Freud, Freud's student and intellectual adversary,
Carl Jung, two revolutionary contributors to the "history of religions",
Mircea Eliade and Wilfred Cantwell Smith, a philosophical anthropologist,
who has much to say about the study of religion, Clifford Gertz, a major
exponent of the "intellectualist" school of religious studies, Robert
Horton, and a recently published theorist who argues that the nature of
religion is fundamentally shaped by the peculiar way in which human beings
perceive and make sense of their environment, Stewart Guthrie.