Hello All

I am currently working with the Centre for Sociology, Anthropology and Politics (C-SAP) (http://www.c-sap.bham.ac.uk/) providing admin support to the 'Teaching Religion in the Social Sciences' Special Interest Group.

It has been agreed that in order to help move the group forward we will develop a section of the C-SAP website. I want to gain your input and advice to find out what you feel is the best way to use this space and to gather your ideas, materials and suggestions in order to fulfil the potential of this opportunity.

So far, suggestions that have been put forward for the content of the website include:
- syllabus sharing and the development of a good directory of teaching resources that would build up an online 'sourcebook'.
- links to case study material and other websites or papers that could be used for teaching
- a blog on which we could share experiences/problems/successes in teaching about religion.
- links to relevant journals and articles

I am asking for your support in the form of material for the website and/or for any ideas that you would like to put forward for the development and content of the website.

Please contact me at jenny.lawy@student.manchester.ac.uk or post messages on my Open Anthropology Ning page. It would be helpful if you could also beiefly tell me a little about yourself and your background.

I look forward to hearing back from you with all your fresh ideas and materials.

Jenny

Views: 92

Replies to This Discussion

As someone who does not consider themselves 'religious' I take to religious discussion with maximal interest. For me it is inexplicably linked with culture and is fascinating to be exposed to. For someone else though who may have strong religious belief, I wonder what it is like to be exposed to other forms of religion through anthropological study. How does this impact a persons understanding of what is being revealed and how does one retain absolute to their own faith in face of oppositions and questions within the classroom? Are we all to leave our religions at the door as it were, or does this just make for boring and unidimentional discussion?
In teaching World Religions at the college level, I've found that it is easier to have genuine conversation with students and faculty who are secure in their understanding and embrace of their religion.

One of my favorite techniques is to break the class into groups of 4 students, each group representing a different religious community: Jains, Orthodox Jews, Buddhists, African animists, etc. Then I give them an ethical dilemma and ask them to determine how best to resolve the dilemma within the perimeters of their belief system. Then I compare and contrast the results with a hypothetical group like the US Supreme Court or a society of Positivists to clarify how religion is circumscribed in many Western circles.
Leaving one's religious beliefs at the classroom door does make for boring discussion. Good discussion is often stirred by strong convictions about one's religious beliefs. Students should explore what compels individuals to become monks, priests or shamans. What drives commitment to one's religious community? Why fast and pray? Why go door-to-door with religious tracks? Why go on pilgrimages? And yes, the exploration is ultimately anthropological.

Jenny Lawy said:
As someone who does not consider themselves 'religious' I take to religious discussion with maximal interest. For me it is inexplicably linked with culture and is fascinating to be exposed to. For someone else though who may have strong religious belief, I wonder what it is like to be exposed to other forms of religion through anthropological study. How does this impact a persons understanding of what is being revealed and how does one retain absolute to their own faith in face of oppositions and questions within the classroom? Are we all to leave our religions at the door as it were, or does this just make for boring and unidimentional discussion?
I agree to the last post of Alice because my long experience in the research of the SACRED element in various religious and cultual( ritual) forms, convinced me that to BELIEVE is a very important parameter of the human conscience, almost a necessary psychological need and the outcome of this need in the long term that is FAITH ( related also with expetations, hopes and optimism) can construct a scientific approach on the unexplained phenomena and to create a new scientific knowledge not necessarily far from the western logique and aristotelian rationality. As I said in another post for OPEN ANTHROPOLOGY, the most important is to find ways to combine in a fruitful synthesis the scientific rationality with the ideal aspect we can have for a social human fact. When Mauss , disciple of Durckheim spoke about FAIT SOCIAL TOTAL he meant that to look a social fact under a special corner is missing the WHOLE of its potentials.

After all Aristoteles ,disciple of Plato ( something that some researchers forget ) who distanciated somuch his views from his master, left a window open to his theory of the Logic. He set the theory of POTENTIALITY ( en dynamei ) as a possibility to use ideas in order to construct even better Ratio ( Logos).

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