Religious Studies | Introduction to Religion
R133 | 12568 | W. Smith III


The above course carries AH distribution credit in the College of
Arts and Sciences.

What is religion? And how should we study it? Is religion a communal
system of beliefs and practices? Is it a product of society? Or the
economy?  Is it essentially about people making meaning in their
lives?
Can we discern were religion comes from? How religions develop? If
something does not belong to a particular religious tradition can we
still study it as “religion” or at least the “religious”? In order
to wrestle with these ideas, we will explore at an introductory
level a number of key theorists to the academic study of religion
and how they answer these kinds of questions. Along with these
thinkers we will read an array of religious text and watch both
movies and documentaries in order to test for ourselves how
compelling these people’s ideas are. In the process we will
encounter Rastafarians and practitioners of Voodoo, meet a medieval
Catholic saints, read a short story about Islam in Indonesia, and
watch Fight Club, plus others.