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RL_ST_140Y_Spring_09_Syllabus

RL_ST_140Y_Spring_09_Syllabus - AM ST/RL ST 140Y.001...

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AM ST/RL ST 140Y.001 Seesholtz/Polk Religion in American Life Spring 09 COURSE POLICIES AND OVERVIEW Instructors: Bryan Polk Dr. Mel Seesholtz Office: 323 Sutherland 301 Sutherland Office Hours: 11:00-12:00 MTRF 10:00-11:00 W 1-2 MW, 1:30-2:30 TR By Appointment 11:00-12:15 M Telephone: 215/881-7548 215/881-7556 Email: [email protected] [email protected] Classroom: 211 Sutherland Class Times: 9:30-10:45 TR Catalogue Description : (GH; US) (3) “The function, contributions, tensions, and perspectives of religion in American culture.” The United States is arguably one of the most religious nations in the contemporary world. In the milieu of a dizzying diversity when it comes to religious expressions, many Americans participate more actively in their religions than virtually any other populace on the planet. Why this is so and what effect this participation has on American life and thought are the primary questions this course seeks to investigate. We aim to pursue this investigation through an exceptionally interactive course model. While this will pose a bit of a challenge with as many students in the course as we have, your two instructors aim to serve as exemplars. We hope to show you how two people can discuss highly sensitive topics with mutual respect and understanding even when— and especially when—they disagree. We fully expect you to learn how to disagree with us and with some of your classmates without turning to hostile diatribes and ad hominem arguments. Furthermore, we will move beyond the type of “sound-byte journalism” that dominates our national debates on these issues, taking the time and exerting the effort to delve into the complexities and nuances of these very important issues.
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AM ST/RL ST 140Y—page 2 Polk/Seesholtz The course is divided into three major sections, or units: 1) Religion and the “Founding Fathers” of the United States; 2) Religion and Contemporary Issues: a) Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism b) Social Issues c) Politics d) Education 3) Diversity and Identity Among: a) Roman Catholics b) Jews c) Muslims. d) Less “mainstream” religions: Scientology, Christian Science, Society of Friends (Quakers), et al. We will investigate these units through lectures, class discussions, films, and guest speakers. If you know of someone who you think might be an appropriate addition to our list of speakers, please let us know. Sounds like a pretty good way to spend a semester, eh? Textbook : There is only one: Hemeyer, Julia Corbett. Religion in America (5 th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2006. This book is available now at a college bookstore near you and should be acquired immediately. There is an assignment in this book for the first week. There are dozens of postings on ANGEL to supplement this book. Some of these will also be required readings throughout the semester.
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AM ST/RL ST 140Y—page 3 Seesholtz/Polk Grades : Your grade for this course will be based on five elements of varying weights: Class Participation 20% Questions for Speakers (see below) 20% Letters (best 10 x 2.0%) 20% Paper #1 15% Paper #2 25% Missed quizzes cannot be made up and may not be announced.
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