Folklore | Popular Religion & Cyberspace
F253 | 10397 | 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. Topics include virtual religious
communities, Buddhists, terrorists, Wicca, new religions in Japan,
and Native American religions.

Grading Policies. Grades are determined as follows:
(a)  Three examinations (20% 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)  Attendance and participation in class discussions contributes
the remainder of each person's grade (10%).

Fulfills COAS Social & Historical