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Course Syllabus

Course: PHIL 2600

Division: Humanities
Department: English & Philosophy
Title: World Religion

Semester Approved: Spring 2018
Five-Year Review Semester: Spring 2023
End Semester: Spring 2024

Catalog Description: This course is an introductory study of scripture, art, history, belief, and music of religions around the world. This study leads students to discover the values and culture of religious institutions. Students are strongly encouraged to complete ENGL 1010 and ENGL 2010 before taking this course.

General Education Requirements: Humanities (HU)
Semesters Offered: TBA
Credit/Time Requirement: Credit: 3; Lecture: 3; Lab: 0

Prerequisites: Students are strongly encouraged to complete ENGL 1010 and ENGL 2010 before taking this course.

Justification: The course is intended to help students understand the beliefs and practices of other cultures and religions from around the world. Every college in Utah offers a class similar to World Religions, and many include it as part of a diversity requirement. It is most like PHIL 2600 at Dixie State University and PHIL 3640 at the University of Utah.
This course also fulfills the Humanities GE requirement. The Humanities are a group of academic disciplines that study the many ways by which humans have attempted to understand themselves and their world. At Snow College, the Humanities focus on cultural traditions that are expressed largely through text or which have a strong textual component: languages, literature, and philosophy. The methods by which the Humanities study culture are at once analytical and interpretive, objective and subjective, historical and aesthetic.

General Education Outcomes:
1: A student who completes the GE curriculum will have a fundamental knowledge of human cultures and the natural world, with particular emphasis on American institutions, the social and behavioral sciences, the physical and life sciences, the humanities, the fine arts and personal wellness.  Students will read a variety of religious and philosophical texts and share their understanding of religion from a social, historical, and philosophic perspective. For example students may read passages from the Quran and discuss in groups the concept of a jihaid as personal moral reform as well as a religious war. The instructor may critique their discussions in class.

2: A student who completes the GE curriculum can read, retrieve, evaluate, interpret, and deliver information using a variety of traditional and electronic media. Students write essays in answer to questions raised in the class. Likewise, exams are essay based. For example students will write an essay comparing the road to spiritual salvation in Hinduism and Christianity. The instructor will grade the essays and critique the accuracy of content and the clarity of expression.

3: A student who completes the GE curriculum can speak and write effectively and respectfully as a member of the global community, and work effectively as a member of a team. Through essay exams and out-of-class papers, students will work on developing the skills of finding and employing credible resources, formulating clear and specific positions, supporting positions with strong evidence, and using appropriate language, composition strategies, and rhetorical appeal to communicate ideas. Instructors will grade writing assignments according to spelling and grammar, clarity and persuasiveness of the writing, overall organization and coherency, and based on the ability of students to use material and language in such a way that maintains a fair and balanced perspective.

6: A student who completes the GE curriculum can reason analytically, critically, and creatively about nature, culture, facts, values, ethics, and civic policy. Students will demonstrate through exams and written assignments their ability to analyze religious and philosophical questions, and then advance and articulate their own arguments in response.

General Education Knowledge Area Outcomes:
1: Through readings and class discussions, students will be introduced to the basic beliefs and practices of major world religions. Students will demonstrate their ability to ask and explore questions related to world religions through class discussions, written assignments, quizzes and exams. Through readings and class discussions, students will be introduced to the basic beliefs and practices of major world religions. Students will demonstrate their ability to ask and explore questions related to world religions through class discussions, written assignments, quizzes and exams.

2: Understand how knowledge is created through the study of language systems, literature, and/or philosophy. Through a close reading of philosophical and religious texts, students will learn the language and ways of thinking commonly associated with various world religions. Students will then use these expressions and concepts to convey ideas through written assignments and group discussions. For example, the instructor might assign readings that familiarize students with the Buddhist principle of anatman, or non-self. In-class, the instructor may administer a quiz that tests students' grasp of the concept. The instructor may then compare and contrast anatman with the Hindu focus on atman, or inner-self. Finally, students may be given a written assignment to explain how Hindu atman and Buddhist anatman, though opposite ideals, both achieve the common goal of moksha, or liberation, within their respective traditions.

3: Understand cultural traditions within an historical context and make connections with the present. Students will examine and be able to explain the historical development of major world religions and will demonstrate how these traditions have influenced world history and informed present circumstances. For example, students may be assigned an article to read that examines the historical development of the Islamic religion, and to complete a written reflection together with the reading. Afterward, the class may take a field trip to a local mosque. The instructor may then assign a paper that requires students to connect the historical elements of Islam with the rituals, practices, art, and architecture that the class experienced on the field trip.

4: Critically read and respond to primary texts (original, uninterpreted) from a Humanities’ perspective. Students will be able to read, interpret, analyze, and respond to a representative selection of primary texts, including portions of religious scripture. They will be able to perform a critical analysis of philosophical issues emerging from a text, and will be able to demonstrate their grasp of these issues through cogent argumentation.

5: Write effectively within the Humanities discipline to analyze and form critical and aesthetic judgments. Through papers, assignments, and written exams, students will showcase their ability to analyze and write persuasively about religious texts, art, and rituals. Student writing will be thesis driven, thoroughly researched, and supported with balanced sources.

The World Religions class examines scripture, ritual, and art from among the various world traditions. It may include such topics as Taoism, Confucianism, Shintoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Islam, Christianity, or indigenous traditions. While the precise religions covered may vary depending upon the instructor, every class should include a mixture of Western, Easter, and Middle-Eastern traditions. The pedagogy for this course will include instructor led discussion, small group discussion, student-driven presentations, and formal writing assignments.

Key Performance Indicators:
Exams: 20 to 40%

Participation/Quizzes/Group Work/Projects: 10 to 20%

Reading Reflections/Assignments/Religious Service Report:  10 to 20%

Term Paper/Short Essays: 30 to 50%

Representative Text and/or Supplies:
Texts will vary according to instructor preference. The following is representative of the kind of texts that will be included.

Hopfe and Woodward, Religions of the World

Matthews, World Religions (current edition)

Pedagogy Statement:

Instructional Mediums:



Maximum Class Size: 30
Optimum Class Size: 20