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UA Course Catalog Prerequisites:
No prereqs found
Course Description and Credit Hours
This graduate seminar introduces students to terms and ideas related to the construction of the past and its relation to the present and their relevance to the academic study of religion. Throughout the course, students will apply theories to analyze examples relevant in Religious Studies, both ancient and modern. Each student will also select an important work 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.
Required Texts from UA Supply Store:
- PANDEY / ROUTINE VIOLENCE (Required)
- Laskar, Devi S. / The Atlas of Reds and Blues : A Novel (Required)
- Hall, Louisa / Trinity : A Novel (Required)
- Hall, Louisa / (eBook) Trinity (E - Book)
Student Learning Outcomes
Students in REL 524 will be able to
Discuss different theories and academic approaches to the study of the past and its relation to the present.
Apply theories and approaches to a topic of their choice.
Experiment with different ways of presenting information that reflect those theories and academic approaches.
Evaluate constructively various styles of conveying information.
Communicate their own findings and reflections on a specific topic.
Other Course Materials
Additional readings will be available on Blackboard.
Outline of Topics
The following schedule of assignment and topics is tentative. Readings with an asterisk are available on Blackboard.
Defining Terms 1
Edward Schiappa Defining Reality chps 1, 3 *
Defining Terms 2
Karen Fields "Individuality and the Intellectuals" *
Exercise posted on blog by 9:00 am
Describing History 1
Describing History 2
Dipesh Chakrabarty "History 1 and 2"*
Describing History 3
Louisa Hall Trinity
Exercise posted on blog by 9:00 am
Describing Experience 1
Describing Experience 2
Scott "Evidence of Experience"*
Describing Experience 3
Devi Laskar Atlas of Reds and Blues
Exercise posted on blog by 9:00 am
Applying nonlinear strategies
Ramey TBA *
Elevator pitch video posted by 9:00 am
Peer editing exercise
Draft submitted to professor and peer reviewer by 5:00 pm Monday 28 Nov
Final Project Due
12:30 pm deadline
Exams and Assignments
Active participation in the seminar includes contributing to seminar discussions and commenting on the course blog. Comments in class and on the blog posts / comments of other students must be presented in a respectful and constructive fashion. Disagreement is welcome; disparaging another student is not permitted. A participation grade cannot be simplified to the frequency of comments, as some students are more talkative than others; the quality of the comments and questions is the primary consideration. A quieter student who makes occasional valuable comments will receive a better grade than a more talkative student whose comments do less to advance the conversation.
Writing exercise days will be primarily writing workshops, where students will read each other's exercise and discuss them in more detail than the initial comments on the blog posting of the exercises.
For most readings (marked Blog comments in the Assignment column of the schedule), students will post a comment on the blog entry for that week's reading, commenting on the content or approach of the reading, writing strategy it generates, and/or questions that the reading raises. These comments can be general to the reading or specific to a section of the reading. For each writing exercise, each student will make one or more substantive comments (beyond "Good job" or "I like your point") on a submission from another student. Substantive replies to comments and exercises by other students also contribute to the participation grade.
If someone is unable to participate in the discussion due to an absence, additional comments on blog comments/submissions can serve to make up for participation in missed class sessions. These blog comments can become a significant component of participation by demonstrating continuing engagement with the course. Of course, if someone is seriously ill and unable to post comments, that will be respected.
Twice during the semester, each student will be responsible for discussion of the reading for that week. I anticipate this portion of the class session to cover at least thirty minutes and should include a brief overview of the reading (to initiate the conversation), multiple questions for discussion to refine understanding of the reading and its implications, and discussion of an example outside the reading that extends that application. Before leading discussion, I recommend the student meet with me (ideally the day before class) as well as review comments posted on the blog.
For 3 weeks, students must submit a writing exercise, posted on the course blog as a separate entry. These assignments (details provided in class before each submission) are intended as exercises and experiments, not necessarily final / polished versions. On the course blog, anyone in the course will be able to view and comment on the exercises, enabling everyone to learn from the experiments of others that may be more or less successful (as they are experiments). Success with these submissions is more about stretching to try new approaches to communication than perfect writing.
To enable others in the course to view your submission before class, submissions should be posted by 9:00 am on the class day.
Record a two-minute elevator pitch, explaining to someone unfamiliar with Religious Studies, even university in general, what your project is and how you can apply the observations more broadly. Your objective is to help them appreciate the value of your studies and the skills that you have developed. These videos will be posted on the blog (like the writing exercises) by 9:00 am on Tuesday 15 November.
Students will peer review the draft of another student within the class. Drafts need to be sent to the peer reviewer and the professor by 5:00 pm on Monday 28 November. Peer reviewers will read the draft and provide constructive comments (based on a Peer Review Worksheet) in class on 29 November. The grade for peer review will be split between the draft (particularly how complete the draft is) and the extensiveness of the review.
The final project consists of a 10 page paper, or equivalent alterate format, on a topic of the student's choice. The objective of the final project is to communicate information, taking into account the theory and writing approaches from the seminar. A draft of the project is due for the peer review (see above), and the final version is due at the time set for the Final Exam (5 December 12:30 pm). Full details will be provided during the semester.
POINTS (100 points possible)
Participation (including blog comments)
Discussion leadership (2 x 5 points each)
Exercise submissions (3 exercises x 10 points each)
Peer review (5 points for draft, 5 points for review)
Final grades will be based on the following 10 point scale: 90-100 = A; 80-89 = B; 70-79 = C; 60-69 = D; 0-59 = F
Policy on Missed Exams and Coursework
Due to the cooperative and experimental nature of this seminar, late submissions of written work limit the ability for everyone to learn from each experiment. However, the uncertainty and stresses of the times mean leniency is in order. Late submissions will be accepted as much as possible. Please let the professor know as soon as possible if you are unable to submit a timely assignment. Plans for submitting late work will be expected. Your privacy is also important; please only share what you are comfortable letting the professor know. Rather than details about the situation, what you can do and when you anticipate being able to do it is what is most needed.
For the peer review, a late draft prohibits full interaction so please submit that on time if at all possible. Final papers not submitted by the end of the course may result in an Incomplete (I) grade, which counts as an F until it is resolved. I will ask anyone receiving an Incomplete for a plan to submit the missing material. Please alert me as soon as possible about complications with submitting material on time so that I can work with you in a manner that is fair to both you and other students in the course..
Participation in the interactive portions of the seminar are important for everyone's learning. However, with the uncertainty and stresses of these times, I will not penalize students for non-attendance, and no excuse will be required. Sessions will be recorded using Panopto and posted on Blackboard after the end of each class if someone is unable to attend, for whatever reason. However, this leniency is not intended to be used for every class session. If you must miss repeated class sessions, please consult with the professor as soon as possible.
If you are concerned about the Participation grade because of attendance issues, please consult with the professor. Additional comments on blog posts / submissions or discussions with the professor outside of class (email, virtual or in person office hours) can contribute to the participation grade, so participation is possible even if someone is unable to attend a particular class session.
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.
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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