Academic Programs 
      

Research Methodology and Scholarly Development    (PHD-701)
January Interession and Winter/Spring 2007

Continuation of a year long course that provides students with the tools for doctoral level research and opportunities for collegial interaction. The following topics will be included: a) Introduction to Research Skills; b) Using a Library Effectively; c) Logical Thinking; d) Quantitative and Qualitative Data; e) Writing Articles, Book Proposals, and Reviews; f) Developing a Career in Scholarship; and g) Theories of Religious Studies.

 

Meeting Day, Time and Dates: 
Tuesdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., beginning January 30

Heidi Gehman
Adjunct Professor of Theology and Ethics

Contact Information:
phone: 
(860) 509-9500
email:

 

Course Syllabus



Course Objectives:

1. To enable the student to have an understanding of the appropriate research skills and techniques for doctoral level academic study of religion.
2. To introduce theological, sociological, postmodern, feminist, post-colonial, ethical, and interfaith dialogue approaches to the study of religion.

Course Outcomes:

1. Students will have reflected on the appropriate research skills necessary for their doctoral work, including:

• field research and participant observation
• leading a course discussion
• techniques in lecturing
• testing and grading
• applying and interviewing for academic positions
• the requirements of tenure

2. Students will have an understanding of theological, sociological, postmodern, feminist, post-colonial, ethical, and interfaith dialogue approaches to the study of religion

Course Format:

The course is delivered in three-hour sessions, held weekly. It is team taught, bringing a range of faculty to the subject matter. This course is a continuation from the fall semester.

Course Assessment:

Students will be graded for the course according to the following:

1. For each class meeting, students should read and have written summaries of all of the required readings. This is 20% of the grade. These summaries should be given to Worth Loomis at the end of class.
2. Attendance and participation in class discussion as informed by the weekly readings is 20% of the grade.
3. Two exams, 3 hours in length, are 60% of the grade. These exams will be three questions, drawn from the different approaches to the study of religion covered in the course. The student will come to class on the assigned day, and may write it on computer or by hand. Books may be brought to exam for reference.
The exams will be graded by Professor Gehman in consultation with the faculty person whose topics were covered by the exam questions.

Required Texts:

The following texts are available for purchase at the bookstore, listed in the order of the course readings:

Nancy Tatum Ammerman, Jackson W. Carroll, Carl S. Dudley, and William McKinney. Studying Congregations: A New Handbook. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1998.

B. Ashcroft, G. Griffiths, and H. Tiffin. Post-Colonial Studies: The Key Concepts. London: Routledge, 2000.

Peter Berger. The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion. Anchor Books Edition, 1990. Originally published in 1967.

Jacques Derrida. The Gift of Death. Translated by David Wills. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.

Neil Gillman. Sacred Fragments: Recovering Theology for the Modern Jew. Jewish Publication Society, 1990.

Sherman A. Jackson. On the Boundaries of Theological Tolerance in Islam. Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Serene Jones. Feminist Theory and Christian Theology: Cartographies of Grace. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000.

Judith Plaskow. Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism From a Feminist Perspective. New York: HarperCollins, 1991.

Fazlur Rahman, Islam. University of Chicago, 1979.

Paul Ricoeur, The Symbolism of Evil, trans. by Emerson Buchanan. Boston: Beacon Press, 1967.

Leonard J. Swidler, editor, and John B. Cobb, contributor. Death or Dialogue: From the Age of Monologue to the Age of Dialogue. Trinity Press International, 1990.

Ernst Troeltsch, Writings on Theology and Religion, edited by Robert Morgan and Michael Pye Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1977.

Robert J. C. Young. Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

These and all other readings are available on reserve at the Seminary Library. Please contact Professor Heidi Gehman if you have any difficulty finding the readings.

SCHEDULE OF TOPICS AND READINGS

Note: All readings should be completed, and reading summaries written, by the beginning of class. There may be additional requirements from the faculty person teaching that weekly session. Books are available for purchase at the bookstore, or on reserve in the library with an overnight sign-out allowed. Essays are on reserve.

Session 14: Theme: Theological Approaches to Religion I (Christianity)
January 30 Session led by Kelton Cobb

Reading: Ernst Troeltsch, Writings on Theology and Religion, edited by Robert Morgan and Michael Pye (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1977).

Note: Read whole book, including essays by the editors. At class, you will be asked to lead 35 minute discussions on the chapter that has been assigned to you.

Session 15: Theme: Theological Approaches to Religion II (Islam)
February 6 Session led by Ingrid Mattson
Reading:

1. Fazlur Rahman, “Dialectical Theology and the Development of Dogma” and “Sectarian Developments,” from Islam (University of Chicago, 1979), 85-99; 167-180.

After reading this, you should mostly be able to give definitions of the following terms and people – however, you will need some additional information; get this from The Encyclopedia of Islam, New Edition, (or from another reliable source:
“`Aqida (‘Akida)”
Ash`arites (Ash`ariyya)
Mu`tazilites (Mu`tazila)
Maturidites (Maturidiyya)
Ibn Taymiyya
Al-Ghazali

2. Ahmed ibn `Abd al-Halim Ibn Taymiyya, Kitab al-Iman, translated by Salman Hassan al-Ani and Shadia Ahmad Tel. (Bloomington, IN: Iman Publishing House, 1999), 132-164; 244-285. (on reserve)

3. Sherman A. Jackson, On the Boundaries of Theological Tolerance in Islam (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2002). (whole book)

Session 16: Theological Approaches to Religion III (Judaism)
February 13 Session led by Yehezkel Landau
Reading:

1) Neil Gillman, Sacred Fragments: Recovering Theology for the Modern Jew. Jewish Publication Society, 1990.
This book, written in 1990, presents a range of contemporary Jewish thinkers on fundamental theological issues and questions. Please read the introduction and the first four chapters, pp. xv-108.
2) Judith Plaskow Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism from a Feminist Perspective. HarperCollins, 1990.
A classic in the field of religious feminism, also written in 1990. Plaskow offers a radical critique of patriarchy in general, and within Jewish tradition specifically. Please read the introduction and chapters 1, 2, and 4, pp. ix-xxi, 1-74, 121-169.
3) "The Unity Theme and Its Implications for Moderns" by Norman Lamm (on the Unity of God and its implications for the unification of all existence, with Kabbalistic teachings cited--21 pages); "Autonomy, Heteronomy, and Theonomy" by Alexander Carlebach (on the dialectic or tension between Divine authority and human freedom--26 pages); and "Confrontation" by Joseph B. Soloveitchik (addressing questions related to interfaith dialogue, especially with Christians--25 pages)
Note: These essays are available for photocopy in the library.

Session 17: Theme: Sociological Approaches to the Study of Religion
February 20 Session led by Scott Thumma

Reading: Durkheim, Emile. excerpt from Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. In Durkheim on Religion, edited by W. S. F. Pickering, p.102-166. (on reserve)
Weber, Max. “The Sociology of Charismatic Authority,” p. 245- 264 in From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills. (on reserve)
Marx, Karl, “Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right,” p.43-44 from Karl Marx, Early Writings. (on reserve)
Berger, Peter The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion, p.3-101.

Session 18: Theme: Sociological Approaches to the Study of Religion II
February 27 Session led by Scott Thumma

Reading: Roger Finke and Rodney Stark. “The Dynamics of Religious Economies,” chapter 8 in Handbook of the Sociology of Religion, ed. by Michele Dillon. (on reserve)

Warner, Stephen, “Work in progress toward a new paradigm for the sociological study of religion in the United States,” American Journal of Sociology 98:1044-93. (on reserve)

Nancy Tatum Ammerman, Jackson W. Carroll, Carl S. Dudley, and William McKinney. Studying Congregations: A New Handbook. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1998.

Session 19: First Exam
March 6

Session 20: Theme: Study Skills: Creative and Critical Thinking
March 13 Session led by Louise Loomis
Reading: Spiral Bound notebook of information is on reserve in the library.
Our second session on Critical and Creative Thinking continues with an exploration of topics related to thinking. The focus in this session will be on the use of current knowledge and theory in teaching and learning.

Assignments:

1. After reading the first section, please

a) Write your reactions to the various components, indicating how any of the material relates to your studies and your work.
b) Make a mind-map of your dissertation topic. Using colors and mini pictures or diagrams as you wish. Browse Mind Maps on the internet to get more information.

2. There’s quite a lot of information about KOLB on the internet. Please write a reflection about the cycle as it relates to presenting information, and to your own work and studies.
3. I imagine you’ll enjoy taking the personality tests in the section “Ways of Learning”. We’ll be a sharing the results in our session and discuss how they relate to our lives.
4. You might enjoy visiting Dana.org as part of becoming acquainted with current brain research. We will go over this topic in our session. In preparation please write a reflection about the value you perceive in learning about the brain as it pertains to your own life, work and studies.
5. Enjoy the section on fallacies. When you notice any between now and our meeting. Make notes, and/or collect clippings and articles to show in class.
6. Review the material from the first session, and consider it in relation to this sessions material. Be prepared to discuss in class. Prepare notes to submit.

You may find the sentence stubs on the feedback page at the end of this packet useful in writing your responses, and preparing for discussion. Please get in touch with Louise Loomis, at necc@cognitivecenter.org if you need more information.

Session 21: Theme: Postmodern Approaches to Religion I
March 20 Session led by Kelton Cobb
Reading: Paul Ricoeur, The Symbolism of Evil, trans. By Emerson Buchanan (Boston: Beacon Press, 1967). Read pp. 3-174, 306-355, skim pp. 175-305.

Session 22: Theme: Postmodern Approaches to Religion II
March 27 Session led by Ian Markham
Reading: Jacques Derrida, The Gift of Death. Trans. by David Wills. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.

April 3—Reading Week, No Class

Session 23: Theme: Feminist Approaches to Religion (Christianity)
April 10 Session led by Heidi Gehman
Reading: Serene Jones. Feminist Theory and Christian Theology: Cartographies of Grace. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000.

Session 24: Theme: Feminist Approaches to Religion (Islam)
April 17 Session led by Ingrid Mattson
Reading:

Abou El Fadl, Khaled. “Faith-based assumptions and determinations demeaning to women,” chapter 7 of Speaking in God’s name: Islamic law, authority and women (Oxford: Oneworld, 2001): 209-263.

Ali, Kecia. “Acting on a frontier of religious ceremony: with questions and quiet resolve, a woman officiates at a Muslim wedding,” Harvard Divinity Bulletin Fall/Winter 2004, Volume 32, Number 4.

Badran, Margot. “Islamic Feminism: What’s in a Name?” Al-Ahram Weekly Online. Issue no. 569. January 17-23, 2002.

Barlas, Asma. “The Qur’an, sex/gender, and sexuality: sameness, difference, equality,” Chapter 5 of Believing women in Islam: unreading patriarchal interpretations of the Qur’an (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002), 129-166.

Mattson, Ingrid. “Can a Woman be an Imam? Debating Form and Function in Muslim Women’s Leadership,” http://macdonald.hartsem.edu/muslimwomensleadership.pdf.

Spellberg, Denys A. “Writing the unwritten life of the Islamic Eve: menstruation and the demonization of motherhood,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 28, no. 3 (1996): 305-325.

Seminar Topics

1. “Feminism” and Islam
2. Normative Islamic Sources and Interpretation: Qur’an, Tafsir, Hadith, Law
3. Women in Public Life and Cultural Diversity
4. Women as Religious Leaders and Authorities
5. Male versus Female forms of religion?

Session 25: Theme: Post-Colonial Studies of Religion
April 24 Session led by Uriah Kim
Reading:

Part 1: Introduction to Postcolonialism

• B. Ashcroft, G. Griffiths, and H. Tiffin, Post-Colonial Studies: The Key Concepts (London: Routledge, 2000).
Each student will choose a section from this book (Post-Colonial Studies) and select 5 terms from that section to present to the class: section 1 (pp. 4-84), section 2 (pp. 85-164), or section 3 (pp. 165-242).

• Robert J. C. Young, Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003).

Part II: Postcolonialism and Biblical Studies

• Uriah Y. Kim, Decolonizing Josiah (Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2005). Chapter 2. (on reserve)

• Uriah Y. Kim, “Postcolonial Criticism: Who Is the Enemy in the Book of Judges” (Second Edition, Judges and Method; forthcoming)
This article will be emailed to the students in advance.

• Uriah Y. Kim, “Time to Walk the Postcolonial Talk,” a review article on R. S. Sugirtharajah, ed., The Postcolonial Biblical Reader (Reviews in Religion and Theology Volume 13, Issue 3 (July 2006), pp. 271-278)
This article will be emailed to the students in advance.

Session 26: Theme: Comparative Ethics
May 1 Session led by Heidi Hadsell
Reading:

Session 27: Theme: Interfaith Dialogue
May 8 Session led by Ian Markham
Reading: Leonard J. Swidler, editor, and John B. Cobb, contributor. Death or Dialogue: From the Age of Monologue to the Age of Dialogue.

Session 28: Theme: Skills Workshop: Writing a dissertation; applying and interviewing for jobs; teaching skills; tenure
May 15 Session led by Heidi Gehman and Ian Markham

Session 29: Final Exam
May 22

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