Carolyn Jones Medine
Associate Professor of Religion and African American Studies
Office: 19 Peabody Hall Telephone: 542-5356 (messages)
Office Hours: 11-12 Tuesday and Thursday and by appointment
This course is designed to introduce entering MA students to the approaches to the study of religion that scholars have developed since the discipline was conceived. It is a time for assembling of your “toolkit” for the study of religion. We will do a (much too fast) survey of major theorists, from the traditional voices like Otto, Eliade and Wach, to the postmodern voices, like Said, Lyotard, and Derrida. All these have brought a method (an application for analysis) or a theory (an analytical idea) to the study of religion.
Carl Olson, Theory and Method in the Study of Religion: Theoretical and Critical
Additional readings: I will send attachments or leave copies in the mailroom.
1. 6 Question Cards or Concept Maps 40%
Due dates are indicated on the syllabus. You should analyze the designated reading for the day. Use the format attached. We want to know what the readings SAY so that we can understand and discuss them. The question card is a way to get at what the major points of a work are.
2. Two Short (5-7 page) papers 40%=15% and 25%
The paper should be an analysis of one or more readings or one aspect of the body of readings. It may include one or two of the following:
a. An identification of one or two themes that have emerged as significant to you
b. An “echo” (something that ties readings to each other)
c. An exploration of a significant quotation or idea or the interpretation of a confusing passage in a single reading or two.
d. An application of the theories/methods to a myth, ritual, or creed.
Finally, the paper should explore the consequences and implications of an important point suggested by the reading.
3. Attendance and Engagement/Final Exam 20%
All academic work must meet the standards contained in the University of Georgia student handbook, “A Culture of Honesty.” Each student is responsible to inform himself or herself about those standards before performing any academic work.
Brief Outline of the Course: Details and changes will be announced in class. The course syllabus is a general plan for the course; deviations announced to the class by the instructor may be necessary.
August 17: Introduction to the Course: Reading as a Professional
August 19: The Enlightenment and the Invention of the Study of Religion
August 21: Olson 15-48
**Question card/Concept map for the article of your choice**
August 24: Library
Please go to: Lab A in the Main Library (1st floor just before the Reference Desk on the right).
August 26: Library
August 28: Olson 54-99
August 31-September 11: Phenomenology of Religion: Olson 100-156, 161-171. Eliade and Otto
**Question Card/Concept Map: Eliade**
September 7: Labor Day Holiday
September 14: Eliade
September 16: Jonathan Z. Smith, continued (Olson 177-191)
The Wobbling Pivot
Jonathan Z. Smith
The Journal of Religion, Vol. 52, No. 2 (Apr., 1972), pp. 134-149
Published by: The University of Chicago Press
September 18: Smith, continued
September 21: Where are we now?
September 23: Sociology of Religion: Olson 212-224, 229-235.
Wach (pdf will be sent)
The Journal of Religion, Vol. 42, No. 1 (Jan., 1962), pp. 1-21
Published by: The University of Chicago Press
**Question Card/Concept Map on Wach**
September 25: Sociology of Religion, continued
September 28: Anthropology of Religion
Skim: Douglas (307-316)
September 30: Turner, Rite of Passage
October 5: Campbell, Hero Journey
October 7: Campbell, Hero Journey
October 9: Rite of Passage, final comments
October 12: Psychology of Religion: Freud, Jung, James
October 14: Psychology of Religion, continued
October 16: NO Class
October 19: Levi-Strauss, Structuralism, Olson 325-332.
**** Question Card/Concept Map on Levi-Strauss****
October 21: Structuralism, Post-structuralism and the Postmodern
October 23: Postmodern: Postmodernism, A Short Introduction; Derrida
October 22: Midpoint Withdrawal Deadline
October 26: Derrida and Foucault (Olson 573-595)
*** Question Card or Concept Map****
October 28: Foucault
November 2: Derrida and Foucault
November 4: What the heck have we been talking about?!!
November 6: No Class--AAR
November 9: No Class--AAR
November 11: No Class--AAR
November 13: Postcolonial: Edward Said, Orientalism
Edward Said, Bonnie Marranca
Performing Arts Journal, Vol. 13, No. 1 (Jan., 1991), pp. 21-42
Published by: The MIT Press on behalf of the Performing Arts Journal, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3245501
November 16: Said, continued
November 18: Gayatri Spivak, Can the Subaltern Speak? (handout)
**** Question Card or Concept Map***
November 20: Spivak, continued
November 30: Issues from the two Short Introductions
December 2: Issues from the two Short Introductions
December 4: Defining Religion
December 7: Defining Religion
December 8: Last things!
FINAL PAPER DUE