Theories of Religion in the Social Sciences-E2

Numbering Code U-LAS00 10025 LE34 Year/Term 2021 ・ First semester
Number of Credits 2 Course Type Lecture
Target Year Mainly 1st & 2nd year students Target Student For liberal arts students
Language English Day/Period Tue.4
Instructor name Julius Bautista (Center for Southeast Asian Studies Associate Professor)
Outline and Purpose of the Course The course offers a basic foundation for the study of religion by introducing a number of different perspectives from the Sciences and Humanities. Religions are conceived of as part of the history of ideas that shaped the major intellectual traditions such as science, politics, cultural and social studies. The course will cultivate two learning areas: (1) a basic understanding of the approaches and methodologies that have been used in the study of religious phenomena, and (2) a critical discussion of the various religious, moral and ethical issues that influence contemporary ideas and discoveries.
Course Goals At the end of this course, students will be able to (1) describe how some of the world’s major thinkers and intellectuals have engaged with the topic of religion over the past two centuries. From this intellectual platform, students will be equipped to (2) describe how the concept of religion itself has evolved in ways that is relevant to the various social, cultural and environmental conditions in which it can be observed.
Schedule and Contents Week 1: Introduction: Religion as an Academic Field of Study
Week 2: The Islamic Golden Age and the European Age of Enlightenment
Week 3: What is the relationship between Religion and Science?
Week 4: Class Discussion Session
Week 5: Is religion an evolutionary advantage? Anthropological Approaches
Week 6: What is the function of religion? The Sociological Imagination
Week 7: Class Discussion Session
Week 8: Mid Semester Break (NO CLASS)
Week 9: Is religion a Mental Problem? Religion and the Human Mind
Week 10: Religion as exploitation: Materialist Approaches
Week 11: Class Discussion Session
Week 12: Religion as a sacred experience 1
Week 13: Religion as a sacred experience 2
Week 14: Conclusion and Recap
Week 15: Reading Week
Week 16: Feedback Week

Please note that these topics may change. The schedule above should be used as a guide only.
Evaluation Methods and Policy Students will be evaluated according to three main criteria:

(1) In-class participation and online discussion (35%)
(2) A written essay of up to 3000 words (35%)
(3) At least two structured group discussions (30%)
Course Requirements None
Study outside of Class (preparation and review) No prior knowledge of religion is required. Students should be able to participate in discussions with their classmates in English. This may be face-to-face small group discussion or online. Students may also be asked to make short presentations in English based on the class topics.
References, etc. God: A Human History, Reza Aslan, (Penguin Random House), ISBN:9780553394740, **Discussion reading**
Fifty Key Thinkers on Religion, Gary KESSLER, (Routledge), ISBN:415492610, **Background reading**







There are three kinds of readings in this course.

(1) The Discussion reading/s provide the content from which you will express your interpretations, analysis and opinions. It may also be the basis for the research essay. It may be read in any language, as long as they are official translations endorsed by the publisher.

(2) Background reading provides additional information and data on the weekly class topics. The background reading is available from the Kyoto University Library in paperback and eBook edition.

(3) Supplied readings are texts, documents and other forms of media that are uploaded onto online platforms. Students are expected to comment on these readings as part of their class assessment.
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