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Unit information: Issues in the Study of Religion in 2020/21

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Unit name Issues in the Study of Religion
Unit code THRS10031
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Balserak
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Religion and Theology
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

In this unit students will engage with a number of issues central to the study of religion and theology, such as the environment, gender, orientalism, pluralism, secularism and fundamentalism. Taking relevant chapters from John R. Hinnels, The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion (2009; also available as an ebook) as the starting point, unit tutors will address a range of key issues relating to religion that feature prominently in news stories, current affairs and political debates.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate a general knowledge and understanding of and sensitivity to the major issues involved in the study of religion today;
  2. demonstrate a broad understanding of the theoretical ideas that inform scholarly research into ancient and modern religious behaviours and structures;
  3. analyse and evaluate a variety of perceptions of modern religions;
  4. identify and evaluate pertinent evidence/data in order to illustrate/demonstrate a cogent argument appropriate to level C/4.
  5. demonstrate an independent approach to designing, researching and completing a level-I project.

Teaching Information

Classes will involve a combination of long- and short-form lectures, class discussion, investigative activities, and practical activities. Students will be expected to engage with readings and participate on a weekly basis. This will be further supported with drop-in sessions and self-directed exercises with tutor and peer feedback.

Assessment Information

1 x 1000 word portfolio (formative) [ILOs 1-5] 1 x 2000 word essay (100%) [ILOs 1-5]

Reading and References

Willi Braun, Guide to the Study of Religion (London: Continuum, 2011)

George Chryssides, The Study of Religion: An Introduction to Key Ideas and Methods (London: Continuum, 2007)

John R. Hinnels, The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion (Second Edition; London: Routledge, 2009)