Similarly-tagged 100/200-level courses or permission from the instructor.
In this course we will endeavor to capture the big picture of “Christianity” today by exploring why certain Christian communities are thriving, some are dying and still others are betting on reimagining themselves. We will use the premise of mainstream and subcultural movements not only to trace the manifold directions in which people have taken Christianity, but also to map out the distinctions among the descriptors “global,” “globalized,” and “transnational.” We will familiarize ourselves with theoretical and methodological approaches to understanding the expansion and diversification of Christianity. We will establish a basis for determining why some beliefs appear forever the same while certain practices seem to continue changing, drastically even, over time (and space). We will consider ethnographic and historical accounts of the most impactful transformations and their bearings on everyday life wherever Christian conflict as well as more peaceful transitions have been found. We will cover such topics as syncretism in Catholicism, Protestants’ uses of Muscular Christianity, media and marketplace mentalities in Pentecostal/Charismatic movements, and outliers in Christian hegemony and regimes of secularism.
By the end of this course, students can expect to have acquired
- a strong familiarity with key theories and methodologies used in religious studies;
- a better understanding of the diversity of Christian movements and their internal power dynamics;
- an awareness of the political and cultural underpinnings of religious practices;
- a sensitivity to the people whose religious and otherwise lived experiences make our learning possible
By the end of this course, students will have developed skills
- in collaborative analysis and oral presentation;
- in conducting original research and situating findings within their appropriate fields;
- in critical reflection of popular and scholarly sources on socio-spiritual conventions and convictions;
- in forming and articulating an informed, nuanced opinion;
- in academic writing, by arguing theses that reflect the students’ own perspectives on complex topics
All articles and other materials will be listed in blackboard and provided via Leiden University Libraries.