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

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Unit name Issues in the Study of Religion
Unit code THRS20099
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Gethin
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.

Students will evaluate some of the theoretical ideas about religion in small groups, and will work together on a group presentation.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

(1) demonstrate critical understanding of and sensitivity to the major topics involved in the study of religion today;

(2) evaluate the theoretical ideas that inform scholarly research into ancient and modern religious behaviours and structures;

(3) analyse and evaluate a variety of perceptions of modern religions;

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

Teaching details

1 x one-hour lecture and 1 x two-hour seminar per week; 1 x 1.5 hours fortnightly additional lecture

Assessment Details

1 x two-hour exam (100%) [ILO 1-4]

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)