1. Contact Information
  2. Prerequisites
  3. Course Description and Credit Hours
  4. Required Texts
  5. Course Objectives
  6. Student Learning Outcomes
  7. Other Course Materials
  8. Outline Of Topics
  9. Exams and Assignments
  10. Grading Policy
  11. Policy on Missed Exams and Coursework
  12. Attendance Policy
  13. Notification of Changes
  14. Custom Sections
  15. Statements on Academic Misconduct
  16. Statement On Disability Accommodations
  17. Severe Weather Protocol
  18. Pregnant Student Accommodations
  19. Religious Observances
  20. UAct Statement

Religions of World

REL 102-001Spring 2019 | 3 Credit Hours


Dr. Steven Ramey

Contact Information

UA Campus Directory:


UA Course Catalog Prerequisites:

No prereqs found

Course Description

Course Description and Credit Hours

This comparative study of religions highlights complexity in world religions. Topics, such as texts, practices, and deities, organize the study of different pairs of religions.

This Core course is an interdisciplinary introduction to the comparative study of practices and concepts identified as the world’s religions, highlighting different ways individuals and groups across cultures organize lives and values; students will compare two different religions in relation to four selected elements. HU IBA ASST

Required Texts

Required Texts from UA Supply Store:
  • PROTHERO / GOD IS NOT ONE (Required)

Course Objectives

  • Introduce students to information about various practices and beliefs associated with religions.

  • Discuss the construction of the category "world religions" and the implications of those constructions.

  • Develop strategies to analyze critically representations of religions.

  • Apply these critical analysis strategies to contemporary media representations.

Student Learning Outcomes

Scholars in Rel 102 will be able to

  1. Analyze critically the history of the category “world religions” and the values implicit within it.

  2. Define basic terms associated with the histories and practices of a broad range of ideas and practices commonly labeled religions.

  3. Develop a sophisticated method for comparative studies.

  4. Critique the specific categories commonly associated with religions and the agendas and assumptions that those categories reveal.

  5. Work effectively in small groups to present critical analyses of representations

Other Course Materials

Additional readings (beyond Stephen Prothero's God Is Not One) are available on the course page on Blackboard. These readings are marked with ** asterisks on the Outline of Topics.

Outline of Topics

The following schedule of topics, readings, and assignments is tentative and subject to change. Any changes will be announced in class and/or via email as early as possible, allowing sufficient time for students to adjust.






Jan 10

Academic Study of Religions

Jan 15

Comparison and Power of Representations

Prothero Introduction

**Selected online readings


Jan 17


Prothero chp 7

Groups created in class

Jan 22


**Selections from the Torah

Online quiz

Jan 24


Prothero chp 4

Jan 29


**Selections from the Vedas

Online quiz

Jan 31

Comparison of Texts and Identifications

**Selected online readings

Online quiz

Feb 5

Test 1

In class test


Feb 7


Prothero chp 8

Feb 12

Group Presentation 1 (Feb 12 or 14 in room as assigned)

Group Presentation 1

Feb 14

Daoism (online class session)

Online quiz

Feb 19


Prothero chp 1

Feb 21


Online quiz

Feb 26

Group Presentation 2 (Feb 26 or 28 in room as assigned)

Group Presentation 2

Feb 28

Media representations of practices (online class session)

Mar 5

Comparison of practices

**Selected online readings

Online quiz

Mar 7 

Test 2

Inclass test


Mar 19


Prothero chp 5 

Mar 21


Online quiz

Mar 26


Prothero chp 2

Mar 28


Online quiz

Apr 2

Comparing interpretations of violence

**Selected online readings

Online quiz

Apr 4

Test 3

Inclass test


Apr 9


Prothero chp 3

Apr 11


Online quiz

Apr 16

Yoruba religion

Prothero chp 6

Apr 18

Yoruba religion

Online quiz

Apr 23

Comparison of developments

**Selected online readings

Online quiz

Submit questions by 5:00 pm

Apr 25

Conclusions and Review

May 1

Final Exam (8:00-10:30)

Final exam

Exams and Assignments


For designated class days (listed on Outline of Topics above), you must complete an online quiz BEFORE class begins. Because quizzes are intermittent in the schedule, you must pay attention to the printed schedule for due dates. The quiz will be available through the course’s Blackboard page at 5:00 pm on the day of the prior class session and will be disabled at the start of the class session for which it is due (the date under which the quiz is listed on the schedule). Each online quiz will cover the reading assigned for that segment of the course and significant points of the previous class session(s). Each question in these quizzes is worth two points towards the online quiz portion of your grade, and each quiz will have between 4 and 6 questions. Over the course of the semester, these twelve quizzes will include more than 50 questions, totaling over 100 points. Therefore, a student who misses one quiz can still receive full credit for this portion of the course. If a student receives more than 100 points on the online quizzes, those extra points will count as extra credit. Make-up quizzes will not be arranged, as they are available online from anywhere with internet capabilities.


During many class sessions, scholars will compose a short written response to a specific issue or question, which must be submitted at that time. These written responses will be graded as Acceptable or Unacceptable. Acceptable papers will be awarded 15 points towards the In-class Assignment grade. You cannot make-up a missed In-class Assignment.

On January 17, scholars will form working groups of 5 scholars each. Anyone absent on that day will be assigned to a group. From that date forward, you should sit near your group for each class sessions, as we will often break into these groups to discuss readings and In-Class Assignment questions, preparing a single, group written response that will be collected and graded like the individual In-Class Assignments. Each person participating in a group that day must be listed on the response and will receive the same credit. Following group discussion, some groups will be called on to present their ideas to the larger group.

With more than 12 In-Class Assignments, the total points possible on these assignments will exceed the 180 points listed in the grading breakdown. Therefore, if a student misses 1 or 2 Assignments, they can still receive an A on this portion of the course. Points beyond 180 will constitute extra credit.


Each working group is also responsible twice for presenting to their assigned GTA a comparison of two applications of the category “religion” or representations of a specific religion from contemporary events or news commentary. All group members must participate in the presentations; anyone absent that day will receive a 0. For those two weeks (Feb 12-14 and Feb 26-28), the class will not meet in the regular classroom, but each group will meet at a preassigned time and place with their grader. An online class session will be posted to Blackboard for the Thursday of each group presentation week. Everyone should review the online materials that week, whether they present on Tuesday or Thursday.


We will have three in-class tests and a final exam. The tests are scheduled at the end of the first three main sections of the course (Feb 5, Mar 7, Apr 4). The final will be comprehensive and will be given at the time set by the University (May 1, 8:00-10:30 am). You must arrange your schedule, including your departure at the end of the semester, accordingly. If you miss a scheduled test, you can only make-up the test with an excused absence. All tests and the final will have both multiple choice questions and a paragraph response section.

Grading Policy


Total points possible: 1000

Online quizzes (2 points / question, 50+ questions)


In-class assignments (15 points each, 12+ assignments)


2 group presentations (50 points each


3 tests (140 points each)


Final exam


Final grades will be based on the following ranges: 970-1000+ = A+; 920-969 = A; 900-919 = A-; 870-899 = B+; 820-869 = B; 800-819 = B-; 770-799 = C+; 720-769 = C; 700-719= C-; 600-699 = D; 0-599 = F


Scholars can receive extra credit by attending special events announced in class, including Religious Studies and Asian Studies events. Each scholar must submit a one-page summary and reflection of the event. Each event adds five points to the lowest test grade, and each person can receive credit for up to 3 events this semester.

Policy on Missed Exams and Coursework

If you miss a scheduled test, you will receive a 0 for that portion of the course unless you have an excused absence. If the absence is documented or otherwise reasonable, all efforts will be made for an equitable means of making up a test. A make-up may be in a different format, including potentially an oral exam.

Neither quizzes nor In-Class Assignments can be made up, with the exception of required participation in University-sponsored events. The quizzes are accessible anywhere with internet capabilities over a period of at least 2 days, and both items have extra opportunities that can effectively replace a missed quiz or In-Class Assignment.

Attendance Policy

The success of this course requires the contribution of all scholars. When you are absent, you miss an opportunity to learn from the other scholars, and they miss an opportunity to learn from you. Attendance is important, as reading the assignments or listening to lectures on Tegrity alone is not as effective. In past semesters, attendance generally correlates with success in the course. If you are late, please join the class as soon as possible without disrupting the learning experience. Habitual tardiness, however, is unacceptable.

In this room, we become a community of scholars, constantly refining our academic skills as well as developing our understanding of various subjects. Approaching religions in an academic setting requires that we think critically to analyze the persuasiveness and biases that sources of information present. We need to approach a range of viewpoints with both a willingness to question them and an equal willingness to appreciate their strengths. To make the class successful, each scholar must listen respectfully to the opinions of others and contribute their insights honestly. Disruptive behavior is not acceptable. No one has to accept a particular viewpoint, but everyone needs to understand the variety of opinions and the reasoning behind those opinions.

Your participation in the class is vital. Participation goes beyond the number of words someone speaks to include both the relevance of comments and their attentiveness. Be prepared to ask questions about the readings and/or contribute your own ideas.You remain responsible for anything that you miss, including announcements.

Notification of Changes

The instructor will make every effort to follow the guidelines of this syllabus as listed; however, the instructor reserves the right to amend this document as the need arises. In such instances, the instructor will notify students in class and/or via email and will endeavor to provide reasonable time for students to adjust to any changes.

Statement on Academic Misconduct

Students are expected to be familiar with and adhere to the official Academic Misconduct Policy provided in the Online Catalog.

Statement On Disability Accommodations

Contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS) as detailed in the Online Catalog.

Severe Weather Protocol

Please see the latest Severe Weather Guidelines in the Online Catalog.

Pregnant Student Accommodations

Title IX protects against discrimination related to pregnancy or parental status. If you are pregnant and will need accommodations for this class, please review the University’s FAQs on the UAct website.

Religious Observances

Under the Guidelines for Religious Holiday Observances, students should notify the instructor in writing or via email during the first two weeks of the semester of their intention to be absent from class for religious observance. The instructor will work to provide reasonable opportunity to complete academic responsibilities as long as that does not interfere with the academic integrity of the course. See full guidelines at Religious Holiday Observances Guidelines.

UAct Statement

The University of Alabama is committed to an ethical, inclusive community defined by respect and civility.  The UAct website (www.ua.edu/uact)  provides extensive information on how to report or obtain assistance with a variety of issues, including issues related to dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, sexual violence or other Title IX violations, illegal discrimination, harassment, hate or bias incidents, child abuse or neglect, hazing, threat assessment, retaliation, and ethical violations or fraud.