Religious Studies | Interpretations of Religion
R665 | 3664 | John McRae

A "gateway" course for graduate students interested in the study of
religion. Each week we will consider different recent contributions
to the study of religion, beginning with issues of definition (of
both religion and religious studies as a discipline) and moving
through a sequence of topics including, but not limited to: the
prehistory of human religion and interpretations of its cognitive
foundations; orientalism and the structures of knowledge in
determining how religion is categorized and understood; ethnographic,
textual, and other methodologies and the "insider/outsider" problem;
ethical dilemma and its scholarly analysis; feminism,
poststructuralism, and the study of religion, etc. In addition to
energetic participation in class discussions, brief weekly responses
to the readings, constructive feedback on each others' work, an
oral "conference" presentation, and a final term paper are required.