PAR 103: Introduction to Religions

PAR 103 801 Su1

Summer I (May 16 – June 18, 2018): Online

This is an accelerated 4.5-week online summer course. Students will gain an introduction to global religions and how scholars study them. This course partially satisfies University Studies II: Approaches and Perspectives/Historical and Philosophical Approaches.

The course is divided in five units:

Unit 1: Understanding Religion
Unit 2: Indigenous Religions
Unit 3: Hinduism/Buddhism
Unit 4: Christianity
Unit 5: Islam

In addition, students will study Religions in Antiquity, Judaism, Jainism, Sikhism, and the religions of China, Korea, and Japan through team-teaching activities. Weekly VoiceThread discussions will situate Dr. Laursen’s own travelogues and the images he captured from Bali, Nepal, Scandinavia, and Spain in the religions being studied.

The mode of the course is interactive, efficient, and engaging learning. There is on average about 12-15/hours of work per week. About 50 pages of reading per week from the textbook. Short, interactive activities throughout the course fortify learning. A multiple choice final exam concludes the course.

Partridge 2eTextbook:
Christopher Partridge, General Editor. Introduction to World Religions, Second Edition. Fortress Books, 2013.
* Available as e-textbook or print book.
* Available through online sellers or UNCW Bookstore.
* A third edition is being released by the time this course starts, but students should stick with the second edition.

From this introductory course, students should be able to:

  • apply the core concepts and critical theories from multi-disciplinary studies when encountering global religions historically and in the present day
  • collaborate to compare similarities and differences between world religions in ways that illuminate religious diversity, including how religions influence cultures and history
  • recognize the sacred writings, basic beliefs, worship, festivals, family and social structures, and contemporary practices associated with world religions
  • interpret major narratives, symbols, and artifacts associated with various religions
  • synthesize and analyze core concepts on world religions through a variety of learning experiences, both individually and through group collaboration, in order to apply an informed perspective about religions in historical debates and current events

Last updated: 2 April 2018