Academic Programs 
      

Research Methodology and Scholarly Development II    (PHD-701)
Winter/Spring 2008

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, material, postmodern, feminist, post-colonial, ethical, and interfaith dialogue approaches to the study of religion

Meeting Day, Time and Dates:
Tuesdays 4:30-6:5 beginning January 29

Heidi Gehman
Adjunct Professor of Theology and Ethics

Course Administrator: Worth Loomis

Contact Information:
phone:

email:

 

Course Syllabus



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

• 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, material, 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. The booknotes are 20% of the grade. These summaries can be revised after class, and should be submitted via email to Heidi Gehman at hgehman@hartsem.edu by midnight on the Friday following class. Note: Please plan ahead and make sure you have access to the readings for each week, whether they are books you purchase or readings to be copied from the reserve shelf in the library!

2. Attendance and participation in class discussion as informed by the weekly readings is 20% of the grade. This is a research seminar not a lecture: it should involve a close reading of the texts. So please read all the texts before class. The entire three hours will be spent raising certain questions that help the students to interpret properly the texts; the students should be encouraged to form a view about the material, articulate that view, and defend that view in conversation with their peers and with the Professor. This will include a weekly “point-person,” who will be responsible to lead the discussion when asked by the faculty person. The Faculty is expected to assess the students’ participation and grasp of the assigned texts.

3. Two exams, 3 hours in length, are each 30% 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 the faculty person whose topics were covered by the exam questions, in consultation with Professor Gehman.

Required Texts:
The following texts are available for purchase at the bookstore:

Michael Barnes, SJ, Theology and the Dialogue of Religions (Cambridge Studies in Christian Doctrine). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

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.

Colleen McDannell, Material Christianity: Religion and Popular Culture in America. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995; paperback edition, 1998.

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.

Edward Said, Orientalism, New York: Vintage Books, 1979.

Schweiker, William, Michael Johnson, and Kevin Jung, eds. Humanity Before God, Contemporary Faces of Jewish, Christian and Islamic Ethics. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Press, 2006.

Mark C. Taylor. Erring: A Postmodern A/theology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984; paperback edition, 1987.

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 one of the librarians if you have any difficulty finding the readings. If they cannot help you, please contact Professor Heidi Gehman.


SCHEDULE OF TOPICS AND READINGS
Note: All readings should be completed by the beginning of class. There may be additional requirements from the faculty person teaching that weekly session. If so, you will be contacted by that faculty person, or by Professor Gehman, in advance. 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: Material Religion
January 31 Session led by James Nieman
Reading: Colleen McDannell, Material Christianity: Religion and Popular Culture in America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995; paperback edition, 1998).

Session 15: Theme: Theological Approaches to Religion I (Christianity)
February 7 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 pp. 1-51, 82-233. Make certain, in particular, that you are able to follow the arguments in chapters 3 and 4.

Session 16: Theme: Theological Approaches to Religion II (Islam)
February 14 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 17: Theological Approaches to Religion III (Judaism)
February 21 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 18: Theme: Comparative Ethics
February 28 Session led by Heidi Hadsell
Reading: Schweiker, William, Michael Johnson, and Kevin Jung, eds. Humanity Before God, Contemporary Faces of Jewish, Christian and Islamic Ethics. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Press, 2006; and first essay, “Moral Minimalism,” in Michael Walzer, Thick and Thin: Moral Argument at Home and Abroad, Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1994 (on reserve).

Session 19: Theme: Interfaith Dialogue
March 6 Session led by Heidi Hadsell
Reading: Michael Barnes, SJ, Theology and the Dialogue of Religions (Cambridge Studies in Christian Doctrine). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Session 20: Exam I
March 13

March 20: NO CLASS: READING WEEK

Session 21: Theme: Study Skills: Creative and Critical Thinking
March 27 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 discussing 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 session’s 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 22: Theme: Feminist Approaches to Religion (Christianity)
April 3 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 10 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 17 Session led by Uriah Kim
Reading:
• Robert J. C. Young, Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
• Uriah Y. Kim, "Who is the Other in the Book of Judges?" (from Gale Yee, Judges and Method, second edition, 2007—you should have this book from last semester).
• Edward W. Said, Orientalism. New York: Vintage Books, 1979.

Session 26: Theme: Postmodern Approaches to Religion I
April 24 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 27: Theme: Postmodern Approaches to Religion II
May 1 Session led by Heidi Gehman
Reading: Mark C. Taylor. Erring: A Postmodern A/theology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984; paperback edition, 1987).

Session 28: Theme: Skills Workshop: Writing a dissertation; applying and interviewing for jobs; teaching skills; tenure
May 8 Session led by Heidi Gehman

Session 29: Final Exam
May 15

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