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Effective: Late Fall 8-Week, 2017/2018

ANTH 341: *Religion And Society

Course Description

Examines the sources and roles of religion in societies. Offers an introduction to the major sociological theories and concepts about religions and religious movements. Provides a cross-cultural approach to religious systems and practices. Focuses on how religion fosters social integration and community, but also power, oppression, and discrimination. These themes will be discussed using examples of the religious perspectives on and experiences of women, gays/lesbians, and ethnic minorities. Course meets Multicultural graduation requirement. Cross-listed as ANTH 341 and SOCI 341.

Prerequisite: Junior standing

Proctored Exams: Final



Syllabus Contents

Textbooks

Required

  • Kurtz, Lester R. Gods in the Global Village:The World’s Religions in Sociological Perspective. 4th. Sage, 2015.
    • ISBN-978-1-4833-7412-3
  • Cadge, Wendy. Heartwood: The First Generation of Theravada Buddhism in America. University of Chicago Press, 2005.
    • ISBN-978-0-226-08900-3
      • Note: This text (Cadge) is also available as an e-book. There is no charge to access this text through Columbia College’s Stafford Library. A link is provided on the course’s home page.

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.


Course Overview

The goal of this interdisciplinary course is to learn about a wide range of religions and worldviews and how these religions are both organized and experienced (individually and collectively) by people. The global approach will lead students to explore contrasting religious traditions and recognize how each tradition is increasingly redefined by the growing interconnectedness of people and places in the world.


Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.


Course Objectives

  • To understand the role of religion in society from a sociological and anthropological perspective.
  • To summarize the contributions to the sociology of religion provided by the classical social theorists: Marx, Weber, and Durkheim
  • To understand cultural patterns of religiosity across time and place.
  • To compare and contrast different religious systems in terms of beliefs, practices, sacred texts, deities, etc.
  • To understand the religious relationships and experiences of ethnic minorities, women, gays and lesbians.
  • To understand the principles of secular humanism and paganism.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

  • Describe the collective behavioral forms of religious experience and structures adapted from that behavior.
  • Analyze and explain the patterns of both ecstatic and ritual action among comparative religions.
  • Synthesize the perspectives of sociology and anthropology on the role of religion in solidarity and social change.
  • Explain the various religions studied and their similarities and differences.

Grading

Grading Scale
Grade Points Percent
A 900-1000 90-100%
B 800-899 80-89%
C 700-799 70-79%
D 600-699 60-69%
F 0-599 0-59%
Grade Weights
Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions (16) 240 24%
Essays (2) 360 36%
Midterm Exam (1) 200 20%
Final Exam (1) 200 20%
Total 1000 100%


Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 1 15 Wednesday/Thursday
Discussion 2 15 Saturday/Sunday
Plagiarism Tutorial and Quiz 0 Sunday
Week 2
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 15 Wednesday/Thursday
Discussion 4 15 Saturday/Sunday
Proctor Information N/A Sunday
Week 3
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 15 Wednesday/Thursday
Discussion 6 15 Saturday/Sunday
Essay 1 180 Sunday
Week 4
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 15 Wednesday/Thursday
Discussion 8 15 Saturday/Sunday
Midterm Exam 200 Sunday
Week 5
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 9 15 Wednesday/Thursday
Discussion 10 15 Saturday/Sunday
Week 6
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 11 15 Wednesday/Thursday
Discussion 12 15 Saturday/Sunday
Week 7
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 13 15 Wednesday/Thursday
Discussion 14 15 Saturday/Sunday
Essay 2 180 Sunday
Week 8
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 15 15 Wednesday/Thursday
Discussion 16 15 Friday/Saturday
Final Exam 200 Saturday
Total Points 1000

Assignment Overview

Due Dates

All assignments in the course are due at 11:59 pm Central Time on the day indicated in the syllabus.

Discussions

The weekly discussion posts will allow you to engage with the course material. Each initial post should be original, insightful, relevant to the question(s) being asked, well organized, and complete by its deadline. In addition to posting your own contribution to the discussion, you are expected to read the posts of your classmates and respond to at least two other student postings in each discussion for full credit. Brief posts such as ‘good post’ and rephrasing another student’s post are not acceptable and will not count toward participation. All responses are due by the following day. Due dates in the syllabus are listed in the “initial post/response post” format, where the first day listed is the due date for your initial post, and the second day is the due date for your responses.

Each of the sixteen discussions will be graded out of 15 points, for a total of 240 points. More information about the grading criteria will be located in the course Content area.

Essays

You will write two essays in this class, each counting for 180 points. Information about the specific grading criteria will be located in the course Content area. In line with the development of the course content, the first essay will consist of a historical and social analysis of a particular religious tradition and the second will focus on the globalization of religious traditions and practices:

Essay 1
In this 5-page paper, you should focus on one distinct religious tradition, define it precisely, and explain the social and cultural contexts in which it emerged, developed, and is practiced today. Your essay should discuss both the institutional (organizational) and experiential (how individuals and groups of individuals practice it) dimensions of this religious tradition. Make sure to select a specific tradition; Christianity, Islam, or Buddhism, for example, are too broad. Each of these religious traditions include multiple trends and/or denominations. It is on one of these that your essay should focus.

Essay 2
In this 5-page paper, you should explore the organization and practice of a minority religion. A minority religion is any religion which, in a particular country, is practiced by a minority of the population. Catholicism is a minority religion in Thailand, for example, as Theravada Buddhism is a minority religion in the United States. Like for the previous assignment, I ask you to select a specific religious tradition, although it needs to be one that is significantly different from your first essay. Questions that you might want to ask include: How is the religion organized, practiced, and experienced? To what extent does it become a resource for the individual and collective identities of immigrants? Do nationals convert to it, and why? How do the beliefs and practices articulate with the predominant values and norms of the country?

Exams

There will be a midterm and a final exam, each counting for 200 points. Both exams are composed of essay questions. You will have 120 minutes to take each exam. Information about the grading criteria will be located in the course Content area. Both exams may be found under Quizzes. Only the final exam will be proctored.


Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Week 1: Defining Religion and the Global Village
Readings
Kurtz: Chapter 1
Discussion 1
Introduce yourself. In addition to your name, provide some information about your background, your experience in sociology and/or anthropology, and any other information that will help the instructor and the other students know you. Due Wednesday/Thursday.
Discussion 2
Using specific examples from chapter 1 of Kurtz’ textbook (especially pp. 12-23), cite and explain three contrasting ways in which sociologists have defined religion. Which definition do you find most compelling, and why? Due Saturday/Sunday.
Plagiarism Tutorial and Quiz
Read the Plagiarism Tutorial found in the Content Area; then take the Plagiarism Quiz found in the Quizzes section. Note that you will not have access to the Dropbox to submit your first writing assignment until you have viewed the Tutorial and taken the Plagiarism Quiz.
Week 2: A Sociological Tour of Religions I
Readings
Kurtz: Chapters 2 and 3
Required Media
Listen to the following NPR podcasts from the series, What Comes Next? Conversation on the Afterlife. Links will be located in the Content area:
• “For Rabbi, a Just God Without the Afterlife Is ‘Inconceivable’”
• “Imam: ‘We Can’t Imagine’ The Beauty of Paradise After Death”
• “To Pastor, Afterlife Is Where We 'Learn to Live Together’”
Discussion 3
Using specific examples from chapter 2 of Kurtz’ textbook, explain two similarities and two differences between Hinduism and Buddhism. What is the ultimate goal of Hindus and Buddhists? Due Wednesday/Thursday.
Discussion 4
Using specific examples from the three NPR podcasts on the afterlife, and based on chapter 3 of Kurtz’ textbook, explain three similarities in how the Rabbi, the Imam, and the Pastor perceive the afterlife. How do their views of the afterlife contrast with that of a Buddhist? Due Saturday/Sunday.
Proctor Information
Submit your proctor form to the appropriate Dropbox folder by the end of the week. Remember to “Save” the form before placing it in Dropbox. See the Content area for more information.
Week 3: A Sociological Tour of Religions II
Readings
Kurtz: Chapter 4
Cadge: Chapter 1
Required Media
View Kelley Swazey’s TED Talk, Life Does Not End with Death. (Available in course Content.)
Discussion 5
After viewing Life Does Not End with Death (a link is in this week’s Content area), explain what Kelley Swazey means by “Life does not end with death.” Be specific. Due Wednesday/Thursday.
Discussion 6
Using examples from chapter 4 of Kurtz’ textbook, cite and explain four central characteristics of indigenous religions. Due Saturday/Sunday.
Essay 1
In this 5-page paper, you should focus on one distinct religious tradition, define it precisely, and explain the social and cultural contexts in which it emerged, developed, and is practiced today. Your essay should discuss both the institutional (organizational) and experiential (how individuals and groups of individuals practice it) dimensions of this religious tradition. Make sure to select a specific tradition; Christianity, Islam, or Buddhism, for example, are too broad. Each of these religious traditions include multiple trends and/or denominations. It is on one of these that your essay should focus. Note: You will not have access to the Dropbox to submit this first paper until you have viewed the Plagiarism Tutorial and taken the Plagiarism Quiz. Due Sunday.
Week 4: Religions and Multiculturalism
Readings
Kurtz: Chapter 6
Cadge: Chapter 2
Required Media
View the short movie, Buddhism: The Noble Path (available in course Content).
Discussion 7
Based on chapter 6 of Kurtz’ textbook, explain two major ways in which modernism and multiculturalism challenged religious traditions. How did religious traditions respond to these challenges? Use specific examples from at least two religions. Due Wednesday/Thursday.
Discussion 8
Using specific examples from chapter 2 of Cadge’s book, explain three main characteristics of the institutional development of Theravada Buddhism in the United States. Due Saturday/Sunday.
Midterm Exam
You must take your midterm exam between Tuesday and Saturday of this week. You may use your textbook. The exam will consist of essay questions. Each answer should be about one page long. You will have 120 minutes to complete the exam.
Week 5: Buddhism in the United States
Readings
Cadge: Chapters 3, 4, and 5
Discussion 9
Based on specific examples from chapter 3 and 4 of Cadge’s book, explain three similarities and three differences in the organization and religious practices of Buddhism in Wat Phila and CIMC (Cambridge Insight Meditation Center). In your opinion, what are these similarities and differences attributable to? Due Wednesday/Thursday.
Discussion 10
Based on specific examples from Chapter 5 of Cadge’s book, explain what people mean by the term ‘Sangha’, and how differently this concept is interpreted in Wat Phila and CIMC. What explains this difference of interpretation? Due Saturday/Sunday.
Week 6: Religious Ethos and Religious Minorities
Readings
Kurtz: Chapter 5
Cadge: Chapter 6
Discussion 11
What does Kurtz mean by ‘religious ethos’? Use specific examples from chapter 5 – from at least three different religions – and explain the significance of religious ethos in everyday life. Due Wednesday/Thursday.
Discussion 12
What does it mean to be a Buddhist in the United States? Based on specific examples from chapter 5 of Kurtz’ textbook and chapter 6 of Cadge’s book, explain three main characteristics of religious identity construction. Due Saturday/Sunday.
Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
Week 7: Religious Identities: Gender and Politics
Readings
Cadge: Chapters 7 and 8
Required Media
View the documentary God in America “Part 6: Of God and Caesar” (link available in course Content).
Discussion 13
Based on specific examples from Chapter 7 of Cadge’s book, why and how does gender matter in religious practices and beliefs in Wat Phila and CIMC? Due Wednesday/Thursday.
Discussion 14
Based on specific examples from the movie “Part 6: Of God and Caesar” (available in course Content), explain three central ways in which the relationship between religious and political identities have evolved in the United States since the 1950s. Due Saturday/Sunday.
Essay 2
In this 5-page paper, you should explore the organization and practice of a minority religion. A minority religion is any religion which, in a particular country, is practiced by a minority of the population. Catholicism is a minority religion in Thailand, for example, as Theravada Buddhism is a minority religion in the United States. Like for the previous assignment, I ask you to select a specific religious tradition, although it needs to be one that is significantly different from your first essay. Questions that you might want to ask include: How is the religion organized, practiced, and experienced? To what extent does it become a resource for the individual and collective identities of immigrants? Do nationals convert to it, and why? How do the beliefs and practices articulate with the predominant values and norms of the country? Due Sunday.
Week 8: Religion in a Changing World
Readings
Kurtz: Chapters 7 and 8
Required Media
View sections 1-8 of the documentary, Planet Yoga, provided by Films on Demand, a Stafford Library database (link available in course Content).
Discussion 15
Based on specific examples from chapter 7 of Kurtz’ textbook and the movie “Planet Yoga” (available in course Content), explain why and how, during the last several decades, new forms of religiosities have tended to develop. Due Wednesday/Thursday.
Discussion 16
Based on chapter 8 of Kurtz’ textbook, explain three central characteristics of religious conflicts. Due Friday/Saturday.
Final Exam
You must take your final exam (with an approved proctor) between Tuesday and Saturday of this week. You may not use your textbook or other notes. The exam will consist of short essay questions. Each answer should be about one page long. You will have 120 minutes to complete the exam.

If you are testing at a Columbia College site, be aware that each has its own hours and methods for handling proctoring. Be informed of their procedures so you can complete your exam on time.


Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.

Plagiarism

Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.

Non-Discrimination

There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

Losing internet access on Sunday night is not a good reason for missing a discussion post or a topic, as you have a week to complete it.

Dropbox assignments may be submitted up to one week late, but will receive a 10% point penalty.

All course work and assignments must be completed by 11:59pm CT Saturday of Week 8, the last day of the session.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

Proctor Policy

Students taking courses that require proctored exams must submit their completed proctor request forms to their instructors by the end of the second week of the session. Proctors located at Columbia College campuses are automatically approved. The use of ProctorU services is also automatically approved. The instructor of each course will consider any other choice of proctor for approval or denial. Additional proctor choices the instructor will consider include: public librarians, high school or college instructors, high school or college counseling services, commanding officers, education service officers, and other proctoring services. Personal friends, family members, athletic coaches and direct supervisors are not acceptable.


Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.


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