Vanwege de coronamaatregelen kan de onderwijsvorm of tentaminering afwijken. Zie voor actuele informatie de betreffende cursuspagina’s op Brightspace.

Studiegids

nl en

Thematic Seminar: Religions in the Modern World

Vak
2020-2021

Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies programme.
The number of participants is limited to 24.

Description

Religion permeates our world and remains highly influential across all domains of human society, including politics, culture, and economics. Religion also plays a critical role in everyday life as it provides meaning, motivation, and social support for billions of people. Despite trends of secularisation in some areas, on a global level religious identification is actually growing and a majority of people around the world continue to be affiliated with religious organisations and communities. It is not a stretch to claim that no matter the region, the issue, or the historical period, knowledge of religion is essential for understanding the world. This course will introduce students to today’s major religious traditions and movements and how they encounter modernity and the transnational forces that continue to shape and transform the twenty-first century. In each case, the regional origins of religions will be highlighted, while also paying close attention to how religions have migrated and globalized over the centuries. Students will be given a chance to explore this local-regional-global perspective in-depth within their final research essays.

Beyond being introduced to the histories and modern practices of well-known traditions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, students will also acquire a basic knowledge of lesser-known traditions such as Neopaganism, New Age, Shintoism, Confucianism, and African Indigenous Religions. Within the course readings, students will read primary texts from each tradition and engage in academic articles related to prominent issues in the study of religion, including issues of violence, gender, sexuality, secularization, and politics. Many issues related to religion spill into the public domain and students will be given a chance to test their research and rhetorical skills by writing and presenting public policy briefs on contentious contemporary topics. Outside of the classroom, students will also have opportunities to visit local religious sites and reflect on these encounters using field reports. By the end of the course, students will have a broad knowledge of what religion is, how it is being practiced in the modern world, and how to analyze and understand it as a diverse (human) phenomenon.

Additionally, the students will work through:

  • W.C. Booth et al., The Craft of Research, fourth edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2016, or;

  • W.C. Booth et al., The Craft of Research, third edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Course objectives

The Thematic Seminars for International Studies are designed to teach students how to deal with state-of-the-art literature and research questions. They are chosen to enhance the students’ learning experience by building on the multidisciplinary perspectives they have developed so far, and to introduce them to the art of academic research. They are characterised by an international or comparative approach.

Academic skills that are trained include:

Oral and written presentation skills:

1. To explain clear and substantiated research results.
2. To provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course:

  • in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;

  • in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;

  • using up-to-date presentation techniques;

  • using relevant illustration or multimedia techniques;

  • aimed at a specific audience.
    3. To actively participate in a discussion

Collaboration skills:

1. To provide and receive constructive criticism, and incorporate justified criticism by revising one’s own position.
2. To adhere to agreed schedules and priorities.

Basic research skills, including heuristic skills:

1. To collect and select academic literature using traditional and digital methods and techniques.
2. To analyse and assess this literature with regard to quality and reliability.
3. To formulate on this basis a sound research question.
4. To design under supervision a research plan of limited scope, and implement it using the methods and techniques that are appropriate within the discipline involved.
5. To formulate a substantiated conclusion.

Timetable

The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

Seminars

Seminars are held every week, with the exception of the Midterm Exam week. This includes supervised research.

Assessment method

Assessment and Weighing

Partial grade Weighing
Religious Sites Field Reports 30%
Public Policy Proposal and Oral Presentation 20%
Final Research Essay - 5,000 words (between 4,500 and 5,500) 50%

End Grade

To successfully complete the course, please take note that the End Grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of all assessment components.

Resit

Students who score an overall insufficient grade for the course, are allowed resubmit a reworked version of the Final Essay. The deadline for resubmission is 10 working days after receiving the grade for the Final Research Essay and subsequent feedback.
In case of resubmission of the Final Research Essay the final grade for the Essay will be lowered as a consequence of the longer process of completion.

Students who fail to hand in their final essay on or before the original deadline, but still within 5 working days of that deadline, will receive a grade and feedback on their essay. This will be considered a first submission of the final essay, however, the grade will be lowered as a consequence of the longer process of completion.
Students who fail to hand in their final essay on or before the original deadline, and also fail to hand in their essay within 5 working days of that deadline, get 10 working days, counting from the original deadline, to hand in the first version of their final essay. However, this first version counts as a resubmitted essay with consequential lowering of the grade, and there will be no option of handing in a reworked version based on feedback from the lecturer.

Retaking a passing grade

Retaking a passing grade is not possible for this course.
Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2020 – 2021.

Exam review and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organised.

Reading list

No single textbook will be used for the course. Primary texts and academic articles will be made available to students via Brightspace or the university library.

Additionally, the students will work through:

  • W.C. Booth et al., The Craft of Research, fourth edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2016, or;

  • W.C. Booth et al., The Craft of Research, third edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Registration

Registration occurs via survey only. Registration opens 14 December 2020:

  1. On 14 December 2020 you will receive a message with a link to the survey.
  2. Indicate there which are your 5 preferred Thematic Seminars, in order of preference.
  3. Based on preferences indicated by 30 December 2020 the course Coordinator will assign you to one specific Thematic Seminar by 20 January 2021.
  4. Students will then be enrolled for the specific groups by the Administration Office.
  5. All students are required to enrol for their group in Brightspace to access all course information.

Students cannot register in uSis for the Thematic Seminar courses, or be allowed into a Thematic Seminar course in any other way.

Contact

Dr. C.L. Williams

When contacting lecturers or tutors, please include your full name, student number, and tutorial group number.
Please use your University email-address (uMail) when communicating with any person or department within Leiden University.

Student Affairs Office for BA International Studies

Remarks

The deadline for submission of the Final Essay is Friday 11 June 2021.