Christianity RELS 2120, Spring 2016
Tues./Thur. 11:00 – 12:15 p.m., Denny 202
Prof. Eric Hoenes del Pinal
Office: Macy 202D
Student Hours: Wednesday 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. and by appointment
Contact: email@example.com, 704-687-5188 (message service please allow 24 hours for a reply)
What is Christianity? Who is a Christian? How has the idea of being Christian changed over time and across cultures? This course will survey the global development of the Christian tradition from antiquity to the present. Our goal will be to appreciate the diversity of Christian communities’ beliefs and practices, and critically examine the intersection of religion, politics, and culture.
- Understand how Christianity grew from a small regional movement to a diverse, global religion.
- Appreciate how Christianity can variably manifest itself under different social, political, and cultural conditions.
- Recognize the diversity of people’s lived experiences of the religion.
- Investigate the interrelationship between society, culture, politics, and religion.
- Learn to critically read social scientific and humanistic literature on religion.
- Bielo, James S. Emerging Evangelicals: Faith, Modernity, and the Desire for Authenticity. New York: New York University Press, 2011.
- Marty, Martin E. The Christian World: A Global History. New York: Modern Library, 2007.
- Wolseth, Jon. Jesus and the Gang: Youth Violence and Christianity in Urban Honduras. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 2011.
- Woodhead, Linda. Christianity: A Very Short Introduction. 2nd Edition. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.
- Articles and chapters on Moodle. Marked as (M) below.
- Copies of books have been placed on Reserve at Atkins Library.
- Films shown in class. Note: If you miss a film showing it is your responsibility to find and watch the film on your own time.
- Lecture slides will be uploaded to Moodle as a courtesy after class. I reserve the right to restrict or terminate access to slides if I feel that these are being used as a substitute (rather than as a supplement) to reading and class attendance.
Assignments and Grading:
1. Course grades will be determined as follows:
|Exam 1||20% (100 points)|
|Exam 2||20% (100 points)|
|Field observation paper||20% (100 points)|
|Final exam||20% (100 points)|
|In-class reading quizzes and attendance||20% (100 points)|
2. Points earned through exams, quizzes, and other assignments carry the same weight towards determining your final grade. There will be NO CURVE applied to any assignment, nor to final course grades. You should keep track of how many points you have earned throughout the semester and be mindful of where you stand with regards to your grade.
Course Grade Scale:
|500-450 pts||449-400 pts.||399-350 pts.||349-300 pts.||Below 299 pts.|
3. In-class exams: In-class exams worth 100 points each are scheduled for Feb. 23 and April 12. The exams will consist of short answer and essay questions. Each exam will cover class material including readings, films, and lectures. Students will provide their own “blue books” and will be allowed to use class texts and their own notes for these exams.
4. Final exam: Worth 100 points scheduled by the University for Tuesday May 10, 11:00 – 1:30 p.m. The final exam will be comprehensive, covering ALL of the material from the semester. The exam will be divided in two parts: 1) a take-home portion distributed on the last day of class; and 2) an in-class part similar to Exams 1 and 2.
5. Reading quizzes: Short quizzes covering the day’s assigned readings will be given at (almost) every class meeting. Most quizzes will be given at the very start of class, so students should plan to be prepared and on time. Quizzes will also be used to track attendance. Quizzes cannot be made up, but grading will be calculated to accommodate two absences without penalty.
6. Site Visit Paper: Each student will visit a church or comparable religious institution for a service or religious celebration and write a short essay (1,200 – 1,500 words) about it. This assignment should be treated as experience in data collection as a scholar of religion, and the aim is to write a paper that is descriptive and analytical. Students should NOT plan on writing this paper based on a religious institution that they currently participate in or have participated in in the past. Papers are due in class on May 3.
7. Extra Credit Policy: There will be one or two opportunities to earn some bonus points during the semester by attending special events and completing short assignments.
A Note on Reading:
Students taking this class need to be prepared to read 70-100 pages of material per week. The main requirement of the class is that you read the assigned texts before each class, so that you can follow the lectures and participate in the discussion. I expect students to keep up with this workload. If you are unwilling or unable to keep up this level of reading, please do not take the class. However, if you are making an effort to do the work, but still having trouble understanding the material, please do not hesitate to seek me out for help.
Week 1 Introduction: What is Christianity?
1/12 Course overview
1/14 Woodhead, Linda. 2014. Christianity: A Very Short Introduction (whole book)
Week 2 Global Christianity
1/19 Marty, Martin. E. 2007. The Christian World. “The Jewish Beginnings” and “The First Asian Episode” (Pp. 1-47)
1/21 Marty “The First African Episode” and “The First European Episode” (Pp. 49-101)
1/26 Marty “The Second European Episode” and “The Latin American Episode” (Pp. 106-156)
1/28 Marty “The North American Episode” (Pp. 159-186)
2/2 Marty “The Second African Episode” and “The Second Asian Episode” (Pp.189-229)
2/4 Film: African Christianity Rising: Stories from Ghana (Dir. James Ault, 2013)
Week 5 The Book and the Word
2/9 Hoenes del Pinal, Eric. 2009. “How Q’eqchi’-Maya Catholics Become Legitimate Interpreters of the Bible: Two Models of Religious Authority in the Giving of Sermons.” In JS Bielo, ed. The Social Life of Scripture: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Biblicism. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, pg. 80-99. M
2/11 Film: The Tailenders (Dir. Adele Horne, 2005)
2/16 Engelke, Matthew. 2004. “Text and Performance in an African Church: The Book, “Live and Direct.” American Ethnologist, 31(1): 76–91. M
2/18 Film: The Gospel According to the Papuans (Dir. Thomas Balmès, 1999)
2/23 Exam 1
Continuity and Change
2/25 Film: Senhora Aparecida (Dir. Catarina Alves Costa, 1994)
3/1 Orsi, Robert. “The Days and Nights of the Festa” and “The Theology of the Streets” The Madonna 115th Street: Faith and Community in Italian Harlem, 1880-1950. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. Pp. 1-13, 219-231. M
3/3 McAlister, Elizabeth. 1998. “The Madonna of 115th Street Revisited: Voudou and Haitian Catholicism in the Age of Transnationalism.” In R.S. Warner and J.G. Wittner, eds. Gatherings in Diaspora: Religious Communities and the New Immigration. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. Pp. 123-160. M
3/8-10 Spring Break – No Classes
Week 10 Political Engagements
3/15 Film: Missionaries: Latin America (Dir. Julian Pettifer, 1990) 3/17 Burdick, John. 1993. “Struggling Against the Devil: Pentecostalism and Social Movements in Urban Brazil.” In V Garrard-Burnett and D Stoll, eds. Rethinking Protestantism in Latin America. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. Pp. 20-44. M
3/22 Elisha, Omri. 2008. “Moral Ambitions of Grace: The Paradox of Compassion and Accountability in Evangelical Faith-Based Activism.” Cultural Anthropology, 23(1): 154–189. M
3/24 Film: Frisbee: Life and Death of a Hippie Preacher (Dir. David Di Sabatino, 2007)
Week 12 Authenticity and Spirituality
3/29 Bielo, James S. 2011. Emerging Evangelicals “Introduction”, “Stories of Deconversion”, and “Ironies of Faith” (Pp. 1-69)
3/31 Bielo “Ancient-Future I: Experiencing God” and “Ancient-Future II: Everyday Monastics” (Pp. 70- 117)
4/5 Bielo “Missional I: Everyday Missionaries” and “Missional II: Kingdom Theologies” (Pp. 118-156)
4/7 Bielo “Church Plating I: A New Work”, “Church Plating II: Sense of Place”, and “Conclusion” (Pp. 157-203)
4/12 Exam 2
Confronting the World
4/14 Film: Reverse Missionaries: Jamaica to the UK (Dir. Rob McCabe, 2011)
4/19 Wolseth, Jon. 2011. Jesus and the Gang. “Youth and the Politics of Violence in Honduras: The Murder of El Títere” and “Contesting Neighborhood Space in Colonia Belén” (Pp. 1-49)
4/21 Wolseth “Thick as Blood: Street Ties, Gang Tattoos, and Graffiti” (Pp. 50 – 71)
4/26 Wolseth “The Making of Community and the Work of Faith” (Pp. 72-101) 4/28 Wolseth “Findings Sanctuary: Youth Violence and Pentecostalism” and “Conclusion” (Pp. 102-138)
5/3 Marty. The Christian World “Unfinished Episodes” (Pp. 233-236) Jenkins, Phillip. 2011. “Seeing Christianity Again for the First Time” The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity (3rd Ed.) Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Pp. 266- 276 M
Site visit papers due in class
Final Exam. Tuesday May 10, 11:00 – 1:30 p.m.