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

Power & Persuasion

REL 522-001Fall 2021 | 3 Credit Hours


Dr. Nathan Loewen

Contact Information

UA Campus Directory:


UA Course Catalog Prerequisites:

No prereqs found

Course Description

Course Description and Credit Hours

This graduate seminar introduces students to terms and ideas related to expressions of power and persuasion and their relevance to the academic study of religion. Throughout the course, a specific case study will serve as a site where students will apply theories discussed to analyze examples relevant in Religious Studies. Each student will also select an important work or issue in their chosen field of study in consultation with their advisor and analyze that work in depth in relation to the various issues discussed in the course.

We will examine instances of power and persuasion and their role in scholarship on religion, with examples drawn from the philosophy of religion’s increasing efforts to address issues of cross-cultural relevance. The overall goal for our class sessions is to introduce you to various methods and approaches that are useful to study the formation of a given academic field of inquiry. While the case in point for the course will be “Anglo-American philosophy of religion.” I will want you to gain knowledge of that field in order to learn competencies and skills that may be applied to your own interests/research.

Our course content will be closely related to my involvements in the global-critical philosophy of religion project. Much of our course material will include publications and drafts by participating by scholars’ ongoing research. Several of them will be virtual guests in our class sessions.

Required Texts

Required Texts from UA Supply Store:

All course content will be accessible through our course page on Blackboard You do not need to purchase any books for this course

Course Objectives

Investigate the dynamics of social and institutional power in the academic study of religion.

Review case studies and theoretical perspectives on "philosophy of religion" as an academic field.

Advise on the application course outcomes to an important work or issue in other fields of study.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Comprehend the content of selected literature in philosophy of religion and critical theory.

  2. Identify working concepts and critical questions for the discussion of scholarly literature.

  3. Assemble and present a field of inquiry in the scholarly study of religion.

  4. Propose and explain keywords for the 21st-century philosophy of religion.

  5. Write a cohesive and compelling argument that advances a critical assessment of a scholarly field of inquiry.

Other Course Materials

All other course materials will be listed on our Blackboard home page.

Outline of Topics

A detailed course schedule will be available on the Blackboard home page.

  • Orientation to "philosophy of religion" as a field of inquiry.

  • Key texts in status quo scholarship on the philosophy of religion.

  • Information sciences approaches to comprehending a field of inquiry.

  • Feminist critique of conventional approaches to philosophy of religion.

  • Critical assessments of contemporary Anglo-American philosophy.

  • Postcolonial and decolonial critique and the philosophy of religion.

  • "Epistemic violence" and the practice of philosophy.

  • Critical appraisals of "man" applied to practicing philosophy of religion.

  • Indigenous African and African Islamic practices for the philosophy of religion.

  • Multi-disciplinary practices aimed at revising philosophy of religion.

  • The multi-entry approach for practicing the philosophy of religion.

Exams and Assignments

See Blackboard for detailed instructions for all assignments.

  1. Attendance is mandatory. Other forms of attendance will be considered under extenuating circumstances. Each unexcused absence will nullify the class preparation and debrief grade for that class session.

  2. Class preparation and debrief 45% - Starting on 9-13-2021 - Preparation prompts will be due on Hypothesis and Discussion each Friday and debrief prompts due each Tuesday.

  3. Assembling the field 15% - Due on 9-08-2021 - Using methods from library and information sciences, everyone will assemble "philosophy of religion" as an academic field.

  4. Keywords 20% - Due on 11-22-2021 - Based on the course content, everyone will propose three keywords for practicing philosophy of religion in the 21st-century. Each keyword will be substantiated with a scholarly explanation.

  5. Position paper 20% - Due no later than 12-06-2021 - Based on the course content, everyone will give a scholarly answer to the question: "How might have social and institutional forces in the philosophy of religion shaped and informed work or issues in your field of study?"

Grading Policy

Grades will be given in percentage relative to the degree that assignment descriptions are fulfilled and the respective level of performance. Discussions in class will establish the criteria for performances that are adequate, promising, and superior. Work that does not fulfill the assignment descriptions will be deemed unacceptable or in need of improvement.

<59 =F Unacceptable

60-69 =D Needs Improvement

70-79 =C Adequate Performance

80-89 =B Promising Performance

90-100=A Superior Performance

Policy on Missed Exams and Coursework

All assignments must be submitted on-time in order to be graded. Late assignments will only be accepted under extenuating circumstances per the policies of University.

Attendance Policy

Attendance is mandatory. Other forms of attendance will be considered under extenuating circumstances.

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.

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