Course Memo

People’s belief systems and faith commitments affect the way they live their lives – individually and communally; through extraordinary actions or internalized habits; during feasts, fasts, or on an everyday basis. This course will introduce doctoral students (and advanced masters students) to a wide variety of academic methods for studying faith/belief in practice and/or lived religion. Students will learn about the questions asked by scholars (in fields such as homiletics, liturgical studies, missiology, practical theology, religious education, and yoga studies) and how they are addressed. Faculty and guest speakers will help students practice applying different ways of observing people’s practices, describing them, and thinking/talking/writing about the layers of meaning they embody and express. Committed to an interdisciplinary approach to scholarship, this course will emphasize integrating theology and other fields (such as art, anthropology, history, ritual studies, and textual studies).
     This course will be a seminar format, combining lecture and discussion. Students will be required to do some small research exercises, make short in-class presentations, write periodic reflections, and participate in off-site events. Each student will write two academic papers, one of which will be a final paper of approximately 20-25 pages.