In the new hybrid version of Sociology of Religion, we will be shifting much of the lecture material to online and much of the discussion to the classroom. This concept has rocked my pedagogical world!
The first week students will begin with a reflection piece submitted online and discussed in class on the social factors that have shaped their current perspective on religion. Whether that is a deeply held commitment to one of a the historic traditions that have dominated western culture, or spiritual but not religious, or nothing at all, this exercise helps students begin the process of thinking sociologically about religion.
The course will push students to read ahead, so they are prepared for classroom discussion each week, followed by interacting with additional learning materials (lecture, discussion, research) online during the week. Students are also going to be actively engaged in research – doing 4 fieldwork observations at religious gatherings/ services during the quarter and working collaboratively to present those to the class.
Given the diversity of experience students bring to this course, my hope is that they leave with a better grounding in an understanding of the history and substance of the religious traditions that have shaped and are shaping the cultural and social experience of the US, as well as the importance of religious institutions and social movements in US politics and communities.