Folklore | Popular Religion & Cyberspace
F253 | 16342 | Janelli


The Internet has recently emerged as a major site for the expression
of vernacular religious experiences, beliefs, and practices that are
not officially sanctioned by well-established religions. This course
explores popular religion and its expression on this burgeoning
electronic medium through readings, class discussions, and original
research.  As part of a liberal arts curriculum, the course has a
second objective of helping students to enhance their skills in
interpreting different religious ideas,
actions, and means of expression and thereby develop more informed
understandings of the world's diverse religiosity.

Evaluation Policies. Grades are determined as follows:
(a)  Three examinations (15% each).
(b)  A research paper of approximately 10 pages on a vernacular
religious topic your choice.  It should be based primarily on
Internet sources.  It may also make use of fieldwork, academic
sources, media, or some combination thereof.  A summary of each paper
is presented in class for discussion, after which the paper may be
revised.  Final versions of the papers are due at the last class on
April 30 (15%).
(c) A number of two-paged, double-spaced (i.e., about 500-600 words),
synopses of weekly reading assignments, to be submitted on various
dates throughout the semester.  One question suitable for
class discussion should be added to the synopsis. These synopses
and questions are to be typed or computer-printed and submitted at
the beginning of class (15%).
(d)  A 10-minute presentation of your research to the class (15%).
Evaluations will be based on the richness and organization of the
material presented.
(e)  Attendance and participation in class discussions contributes
the remainder of
each person's grade. (10%)

Course Texts:

Karen McCarthy Brown, Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn.
Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001.  Paperback
Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and
Dissertations.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.  Paperback

About a dozen accounts of various popular religious expressions on
the Internet will be available through the IU Library's Electronic
Reserves.  Topics include virtual religious communities of
technopagans, Buddhists, terrorists, new religions in Japan, and
Native American religions.

WWW-based Reference Works:
Citing Electronic Resources Using MLA Style.