Constructing Data in Religious Studies - Examining the Architecture of the Academy - Leslie Dorrough Smith

Constructing Data in Religious Studies - Examining the Architecture of the Academy - Leslie Dorrough Smith

18. Departments: Competencies and Curricula: The Role of Academic Departments in Shaping the Study of Religion

Constructing Data in Religious Studies - Examining the Architecture of the Academy - Leslie Dorrough Smith

Rebekka King [+-]
Middle Tennessee State University
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Rebekka King, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Middle Tennessee State University. Her research focuses on the negotiation of boundaries within North American Christianity. Her first book (under contract with NYU Press) charts the development of progressive Christianity in North America as a movement that spurned Christian orthodoxy in pursuit of a resolutely skeptical faith. She teaches courses on method and theory, anthropology of religion, and contemporary Christianity.

Description

This chapter proposes that the foundation of a university department is its curriculum. Using the recent development of the Religious Studies major at Middle Tennessee State University as a case study, it explores how a shift to competency-focused program design avoids noteworthy pitfalls related to content-based and theory/method-based models. Beginning with a brief outline of the development of religious studies departments, this chapter shows how our pedagogy and representations of the discipline should take seriously the context of our institutions and students. At Middle Tennessee State University, we have eschewed coverage models such as the world religions model or an explicitly method and theory driven model in favor of a curriculum that promotes skills sets or competencies. This curriculum centered on areas of description, analysis, and critique allows the department to organically expand in dialogue with broader social shifts within the academic study of religion, student learning needs, and the research expertise and pedagogical interests of its faculty.

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Citation

King, Rebekka. 18. Departments: Competencies and Curricula: The Role of Academic Departments in Shaping the Study of Religion. Constructing Data in Religious Studies - Examining the Architecture of the Academy. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 246-255 Oct 2019. ISBN 9781781796764. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=34182. Date accessed: 16 Dec 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.34182. Oct 2019

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