For many religion is a captivating topic; for others, a controversial one. In this class we’ll examine the modern history of this subject matter and the social dynamics behind its cultural impact. As an academic course, we will calibrate our investigation around the aims and methods of the human sciences. And finally, we will consider what religion’s legacy helps us observe in the world around us—even and especially instances that seemingly have no relation to “religion.”

Guiding Texts

Craig Martin, A Critical Introduction to the Study of Religion, Second Edition (New York: Routledge, 2017).

This book is a guide to the academic study of religion. It frames the aims of the discipline while introducing you to the methodological concerns, nuances, and subtleties to which students and scholars alike should be privy. I will also assign readings and media from other sources as well. Links to these will be published on Blackboard.

Lecture Video Playlist

Interactive Notebook Assignments

Below you’ll find the guided notes to help you with select course readings. These should be seen as resources to help you (1) hone in on priorities for further discussion and (2) launchpads for your own curiosity.