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Exploring Religion: Past and Present

Level 4, 10 Credits.

Available Dates:

Not Presently Available.
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Through a series of case-studies, this course introduces the academic study of religion, considering the subject from a variety of perspectives, including historical, anthropological, textual, and psychological approaches. Key themes for analysis include: religious identity, secularism, sacred texts, religious law, religious authority, and sacred places. There will be opportunities to read ancient religious writings, ethnography, and critical theory, with the aim of equipping you with the skills needed to get the most out of studying religions both ancient and modern.

Who is this course for?

This course is for anyone with an interest in religious studies and the enthusiasm to take that interest further. It operates as part of the Exploring the Past pathway, and will equip you with the knowledge, understanding and skills that you need to go on to study other courses in the pathway. It also operates as a standalone course offering some compelling case-studies. If you are interested in how religion has shaped both past and present societies then this course is for you.

Learning and Teaching

This course consists of nine units. Each unit comprises a 2-hour face-to-face session between 7pm and 9pm. These sessions will include lectures, class discussions and debates, pair-work and group-work, source analysis activities and exercises to develop your academic skills. There will also be a strong emphasis on learning outside of the classroom, facilitated by the university’s Virtual Learning Environment, Learning Central.

Coursework and Assessment

This course has three short pieces of assessed work which together should add up to 1500 words. These pieces of work have been designed to help you in developing the skills and approaches that you need to study successfully. The first piece of work will allow you to practice putting your ideas in words in an academic form. The second will help you to develop your skills of analysis, whilst the third will give you the opportunity to write a short essay. There will be lots of help and support available for all three assignments.

Reading suggestions

Michael Argyle, Psychology and Religion: An Introduction (Abingdon, 2000)

Fiona Bowie, The Anthropology of Religion: An Introduction (Oxford, 2000; second edition (recommended), 2006)

Dominic Corrywright and Peggy Morgan, Get Set for Religious Studies (Edinburgh, 2006)

John Hinnells (ed.), The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion (Abingdon, 2010)

Hilary Rodrigues and John S. Harding, Introduction to the Study of Religion (Oxford, 2009)

Ninian Smart (ed.), Approaches to the Study of Religion (London, 1999)

Library and Computing Facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University library and computing facilities. You can find out more about these facilities on our website under Student Information, or by ringing the Centre on (029) 2087 0000.

Accessibility of Courses

Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and Dyslexia screening. Please contact the Centre on (029) 2087 0000 for an information leaflet.

Further Information

A range of further information can be found on our web site or in Choices.  This includes the times and dates of courses and an explanation of accreditation and credit levels.