WORLD RELIGIONS (ANTH 3401) SYLLABUS

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1 Page 1 of 8 Syllabus v Course Title: World Religions (ANTH 3401) Credits: 3 WORLD RELIGIONS (ANTH 3401) SYLLABUS Instructor: Professor Jocelyn Linnekin (or, preferably, use MAIL within our class web site see below) COURSE DESCRIPTION This course is a survey of the world's major religions Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Shinto, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. By the end of the course a student should be able to identify and/or describe the following characteristics of each faith: circumstances of its founding and significant historical developments; social and cultural context; theology (deities and mythology); cosmology (model of the universe); key points of doctrine and dogma; scriptural sources; ritual practices; ethical and moral teachings. Students will learn to compare the major religions on these points, and will be expected to identify some of the factors underlying today's inter-religious conflicts. COURSE OBJECTIVES Department of Anthropology (messages only) By the end of the course students will be able to: Identify and define the concepts and terms used in the comparative study of religions; Identify the components of 'a religion': the sacred/divine/supernatural realm, ritual, logically consistent system of beliefs, cosmology, mythology; Distinguish between "world religions" (major global faiths) and indigenous, "tribal" religions; Compare and contrast the world's major faiths on the basis of their origin and historical development, social and cultural context, theology, cosmology, key points of doctrine, scriptural sources, major ritual practices, ethical and moral teachings; Trace the historical emergence of major denominational divisions within world religions and assess the causes of sectarian divides;

2 Page 2 of 8 Analyze and evaluate the most significant factors motivating modern inter-religious conflicts; Distinguish between "fundamentalist" and "mystical" approaches in religious doctrine and practice. COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING Your grade will be based on the following factors: Discussion Board Assignments (four postings) Quizzes (five Assessments, but lowest score is dropped) Assignments and Quizzes: Assignments and deadlines for each week are listed in the 'Assignments & Deadlines' document on the Home Page (which can always be accessed by clicking on "Course Content" in the left-hand pull-down menu). Instructions for Assignments and Projects are contained in the folder, 'Instructions for Assignments,' on the Home Page. The Discussion assignments ask you to post a response or commentary under a designated topic on the class Discussion board (a course "Tool" listed on the lefthand pull-down menu): be sure to make note of the deadlines. After the deadline passes the Discussion Topic will be "locked" to student postings; you cannot make it up later. After every one or two content Modules, a Self-Quiz (which does not enter into your grade) will be available for you to take on the web site (along with Quizzes, these can be found under the Assessments Tool on the left-hand menu). Self-quizzes will remain available for you to consult later. After one or two Self-quizzes, you will be given a "real" Quiz covering all of the material covered since the last Quiz. In most cases, a quiz will consist of ten questions, most of them in multiple-choice or true/false format. Be sure to consult the 'Assessments' tool for the scheduled times. IMPORTANT: Each quiz is available to you only on the scheduled day and only during the specified time window. These time windows are very generous: be sure to make note of the scheduled quiz times. You will not be allowed to make up a quiz unless you can document a medical condition or other emergency. As of this writing, HuskyCT does not allow you to revisit quizzes; your instructor does not control this feature so please don't ask. Note that quiz questions are 20% Projects (three, submitted directly to 30% instructor) Final Exam part 1 ("Capstone Project," sent 10% to instructor) Final Exam part 2 (cumulative Assessment) 20% 20% (based on four highest scores)

3 Page 3 of 8 chosen at random from a large question bank so that each student sees a different quiz covering the material. Therefore, if you want to ask the instructor about a particular question, be prepared to summarize the question because, for example, your "question 8" is not the same as anyone else's "question 8." The Final Exam: Instructions for completing the Capstone Project (Part 1 of the Exam) will be posted in the Instructions folder. The "test" portion (Part 2) of the final examination is cumulative, i.e., it covers the entire course: Modules, assigned films, and all assigned readings (including linked material on external web sites). It will be released made available for you to take online during a time 'window' of approximately 24 hours, beginning on the last day of the class session. The format will be similar to that of the Quizzes. As with the quizzes, the questions are taken at random from a large question bank so that each student takes a different exam. REQUIRED TEXTS AND MATERIALS (available at the UConn Co-op) Michael Molloy. Experiencing the World's Religions: Tradition, Challenge, and Change. FIFTH edition. McGraw-Hill. [ ] Philip Novak. The World's Wisdom: Sacred Texts of the World's Religions. Harper San Francisco. [ ] Note: The UConn Co-op will mail the texts to you if you order over the phone. **Additional readings and films: Some additional required readings (such as short articles or media reports) may be made available through the Library Resources link on the Home Page; this link is also the place to look for film viewing assignments. **Web Links: Anything posted under 'Web Links' (on the left-hand menu) is required reading for this course. More on Using the Online Course Tools Discussion Board: The class Discussion Board is designed to organize messages into Topics or "threads," which are identified by the subject line. The "Instructor's News" topic contains important general announcements. You should read these messages promptly! Note that the Discussion Board is public: the messages can be read by anyone in the class. It is intended to be a place where open cyber-discussions can take place. You are expected to be courteous and respectful to others in these conversations. Feel free to disagree, but no 'flaming'

4 Page 4 of 8 allowed! A good rule to follow is: always pause and re-read your message before hitting 'Enter'! Appropriate postings on the Discussion Board fall into the following categories: news items and announcements from the instructor; student postings required for a Discussion Assignment; postings to a "threaded discussion": an assigned threaded discussion calls for students to post messages on a topic; optional comments and "threads" initiated by students: you may use the Discussion Board to throw out a question or a comment that invites responses from others. Calendar: The instructor may post deadlines and other important dates on the course Calendar. The Calendar is open for your entries too. You may post events of interest to the entire class, and also use it as your personal calendar. If you do this, however, click "private" when you post an item or it will be accessible to the whole class! Mail: Use Class Mail to send private messages to other students in the class or to the instructor, and to submit individual assignments to the instructor. IMPORTANT: Class Mail is not sent beyond the course web site. Only students and the instructor can access it. They will only see their messages if they log on and check. This goes for you too, so be sure to check your class mail regularly. If you are told to send a message to the instructor or to another student as part of an Assignment, click on "compose message" and then on "browse." The list of names will appear. Click on the person to whom you wish to write, and their Net ID will appear in the address line. When you are finished, click "send." If you want to send a message to several people, hold the Ctrl key down while you click on the names. To ATTACH a file to a message: Compose your message as usual. Click "attach." A window will show you the files on your computer. Select the one you want to send, then attach. Consulting with Your Instructor: You may also post general questions about the course or class material on the Discussion Board under the "Questions for the Instructor" topic. If you want to ask the instructor a question privately, use Class Mail. IMPORTANT: You are responsible for acting in accordance with the Student Code at all times ( look under 'Judicial Affairs'). COURSE EVALUATION: Students will be given an opportunity to evaluate instruction in this course using the University's standard procedures, which are

5 Page 5 of 8 administered by the Office of Institutional Research. COURSE OUTLINE **REMINDER**: Consult the Announcements and Discussion Board frequently for messages and announcements from your instructor. SEE 'Assignments and Deadlines' for each Module's readings and assignments and their deadlines. Modules / Topics & Learning Objectives / Assignments: Module 1. Introduction to the comparative study of religions. What is 'a religion'? What are the components that make up 'a religion'? What are the basic concepts and vocabulary necessary for analyzing and comparing different religions? What is the realm of the 'sacred' (or the divine/supernatural/holy)? What does it mean to say that religion is a "logically consistent system of beliefs"? What is 'ritual'? What is the difference between a "world religion" and an indigenous, "tribal" religion? What are the major "world religions"? READING: Molly & Novak. ASSIGNMENTS: Discussion Board posting (self-introduction, not graded) and Project 1, "Sacred Space" SELF-QUIZ Module 2. Hinduism. When and where did Hinduism emerge? What was ancient Hindu society like? What are Hinduism's most important scriptural sources? What are the major Hindu deities, and how are they portrayed? In Hindu doctrine, what is the relationship between humans and the divine? What are the major Hindu rituals? Why have there been frequent conflicts between Hindus and Muslims in South Asia since British rule ended? READING: Molloy, Novak, and web-based material ASSIGNMENT: Discussion Board posting on assigned film. QUIZ #1, on Modules 1 and 2

6 Page 6 of 8 Module 3. Buddhism. When and where did Buddhism originate? What is Buddhism's geographical distribution today? Who was the Buddha, historically, and who were his first followers? What is Buddhist doctrine regarding theology, salvation, the supernatural realm, and human life in the world? What are the major schools of Buddhism, and how do they differ from one another? How do the Buddhist schools differ in: a) the importance of the monastic life, and b) the status of women? READING: Molloy & Novak. ASSIGNMENT: Discussion Board posting. SELF-QUIZ Module 4. "Minor" Asian Religions: Sikhism, Jainism, Shinto. When and where did Sikhism originate? For whom did its teachings have the most appeal? How does Jainism compare to Hinduism in doctrine? How does Shinto relate to Japanese cultural identity and the symbolic status of the Emperor? What are the causes of conflicts between Sikhs and Hindus in India? READING: Molloy. QUIZ #2, on Modules 3 and 4 Module 5. Religious Traditions of China: Taoism. What is the cultural context of Taoism? How does "religious" Taoism relate to Chinese "folk" beliefs? What do Taoists believe about the supernatural realm and the principles of yin and yang? READING: Molloy & Novak. Module 6. Religious Traditions of China: Confucianism. Is Confucianism a philosophy or a religion? What are the major doctrinal texts of Confucianism? What was Confucian teaching about yin and yang?

7 Page 7 of 8 What was the historical relationship between Confucianism and Chinese imperial power? How do Taoism and Confucianism compare on the status and roles of women? READING: Molloy & Novak. ASSIGNMENT: Project 2 "Representing the Sacred" SELF-QUIZ, on Modules 5 and 6 Module 7. Judaism. What are the primary scriptures of Judaism? What are the important events in the history of Judaism? How does the Hebrew Bible represent the divine? What are Jewish teachings regarding ritual purity, ethical behavior, the afterlife, and the roles of women? What are Torah, Tanakh, and Talmud, and how do they relate to one another? How did Judaism change during the great diaspora after 70 C.E.? What are the major denominations and schools of Judaism today? READING: Molloy, Novak, readings from the Bible, web-based material. ASSIGNMENT: Discussion Board posting. QUIZ #3 on Module 7 only. Module 8. Christianity. What was the historical and cultural context of Christianity's founder? What are the most important Christian scriptures? What were the primary teachings of Jesus, and how did they differ from Jewish teachings and customs? What does Christianity teach about salvation, the nature of the divine, moral behavior, social inequality, and the nature of woman? How did Christian teachings change after the death of Jesus? When and under what circumstances did the Christian Church divide? What are the major Christian denominations today, and how do their doctrines and liturgical practices compare? READING: Molloy, Novak, readings from the Bible, web-based material. ASSIGNMENT: Discussion Board posting. SELF-QUIZ on Module 8 only. QUIZ #4 on Modules 8 only.

8 Page 8 of 8 Module 9. Islam. What was the social and cultural context of Arabia before Islam was founded? Who was the founder of Islam, and what were the major events of his life? What are the most important Muslim scriptures? What is the doctrinal focus of the Prophet's teachings? What are the major denominations or schools of Islam? How did they emerge, and how do they differ? How does the religious participation of men and women differ in Islam? What is the authority structure of Islam today? What is "Islamic law" and what is its scope of authority? READING: Molloy, Novak, web-based material. ASSIGNMENT: Project 3, "Sacred Music" SELF-QUIZ on Module 9 only. QUIZ #5 on Module 9 only. Module 10. Differing Approaches to Belief and Practice: Mysticism& Fundamentalism; "New" Religions. What is meant by the term "new religions"? How do these differ from the "older" world religions? How do mysticism and fundamentalism differ as approaches to theology, scripture, and ritual practice? What is the difference between a 'transcendent' and a 'personal' God? What "mystical" schools and practices can be identified in the world's religions today? What groups and doctrines illustrate "fundamentalism" in world religions today? READING: Molloy; web-based material. FINAL EXAMINATION: Part 1 Capstone Project (details in 'Instructions' folder). Part 2 Assessment (cumulative).

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