Skip to main content

Unit information: Issues in the Study of Religion in 2018/19

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Issues in the Study of Religion
Unit code THRS10031
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. David Leech
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Religion and Theology
Faculty Faculty of Arts


In this unit students will engage with a number of issues central to the study of religion and theology, such as the environment, gender, orientalism, pluralism, secularism and fundamentalism. Taking relevant chapters from John R. Hinnels, The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion (2009; also available as an ebook) as the starting point, unit tutors will address a range of key issues relating to religion that feature prominently in news stories, current affairs and political debates.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will have:

(1) developed a general knowledge and understanding of and sensitivity to the major issues involved in the study of religion today; (2) developed a broad understanding of the theoretical ideas that inform scholarly research into ancient and modern religious behaviours and structures;

3) demonstrated an ability to analyse and evaluate a variety of perceptions of modern religions;

(4) demonstrated the ability to identify and evaluate pertinent evidence/data in order to illustrate/demonstrate a cogent argument

Teaching details

2 x 1-hour lecture per week.

Assessment Details

One unseen examination of two hours comprising three questions out of 8.

The exam will assess (1) students’ general knowledge and understanding of the major topics currently being discussed within the study of religion; (2) the student’s basic grasp of the theoretical ideas that undergird such scholarly work, (3) of the different kinds of perceptions or religions held by researchers and religious adherents and (4) the ability to identify pertinent data in order to illustrate a cogent argument.

Reading and References

Willi Braun, Guide to the Study of Religion (London: Continuum, 2011). George Chryssides, The Study of Religion: An Introduction to Key Ideas and Methods (London: Continuum, 2007). John R. Hinnels, The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion (Second Edition; London: Routledge, 2009)