Response: Can’t Live with it, Can’t Drop it from the Undergraduate Curriculum

On the Subject of Religion - Charting the Fault Lines of a Field of Study - James Dennis LoRusso

Rita Lester [+-]
Nebraska Wesleyan University
Rita Lester is a Professor of Religion at Nebraska Wesleyan University. Her current research explores strategies, controversies and pedagogy in the study of religion. In 2012, she received the CASE/Carnegie Professor of the Year for Nebraska.
Jacob Barrett [+-]
University of Alabama (Masters student)
Jacob Barrett was the 2019 recipient of the Nebraska Wesleyan University Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Grant to investigate and implement a redesign of the gateway course in religion. He will continue his education at the University of Alabama's Masters of Religion in Culture.

Description

World Religions at Nebraska Wesleyan University is a well-connected course serving philosophy and religion, international studies, and global diversity graduation requirements. In spring 2019 we piloted a redesigned World Religions in order to critique the World Religions Paradigm . Using Peter Felton’s (Elon University) model for students as co-designers and strategizing selective responses to AAC&U funding (Interfaith Youth Core curriculum initiative ), this course rejects the standard textbook, show-and-tell exoticism, and multiple-choice exams replacing them with examinations of clichés about religion and intentionally provocatively juxtaposed case studies based on JZ Smith’s advice for teaching, assessed through written arguments about interpretations and power. The pedagogical goal: critical and self-interrogation of cultural bias, the influence of colonialism, and a Christian (Protestant) liberal model. Curricular goals: introduce theorizing in the religious studies gateway, critically engage what students expect a World Religions course to do, and ensure that the IDEA prompts indicated as essential are maintained or improved.

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Citation

Lester, Rita; Barrett, Jacob. Response: Can’t Live with it, Can’t Drop it from the Undergraduate Curriculum. On the Subject of Religion - Charting the Fault Lines of a Field of Study. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Oct 2022. ISBN 9780000000000. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=41069. Date accessed: 15 Apr 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.41069. Oct 2022

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