In our global society, we interact daily with people from many different cultural backgrounds whose worldviews are shaped by a multiplicity of religious traditions. In order to communicate effectively with other people and to understand why people of different religious orientations act in certain ways, it is important that we are aware of their religious worldview. This course will explore the phenomenology of the world’s major religious traditions through examination of their beliefs, sacred spaces, practices, life-cycle rituals, and festivals. Although we will discuss Christianity and Judaism, there will be an emphasis on the dominant religious traditions of the countries we will visit during the term. This is a course about questions and the variety of ways that humans have answered them.
Field ClassCountry: Japan
Day: 2 - Yokohama - Tuesday, 27 January
This field lab will take us to the shrine district of Kamakura to observe a variety of Buddhist and Shinto shrines. Students will be able to see the inclusive nature of religious diversity in Japan. They will also be able to experience a form of multi-site pilgrimage in which Japanese pilgrims walk from shrine to shine, often visiting holy sites of multiple religious traditions. Academic Objectives: 1. Observe Buddhist pilgrimage behavior at the Kotoku-in Buddhist Temple and Daibutsu statue. 2. Observe Shinto pilgrimage behavior at the Zeniarai Benzaiten Shrine. 3. Experience Buddhist and Shinto rituals at the temples and shrines.