This course will offer a general introduction to religion and to the world’s major religious traditions. Particular emphasis will be given to the religions most prominently represented in the destinations of the fall 2015 Semester at Sea Voyage, including Christianity, Islam, and African Religious traditions. We will explore the nature of religious thought and practice, meaning we will examine the worldviews of the particular traditions and the experiences those traditions support and cultivate. We shall also consider the role of religion in shaping culture at the individual, and public/social levels, and will seek better to understand how and why people engage religious ideas and practices, today and in history.
Field WorkCountry: Senegal
Day: 2 - Sunday, 1 November
In this lab we will visit significant Muslim and Christian sites in and around Dakar. We will also visit the famous (some would say infamous) statue at the edge of the city, the Monument de la Renaissance Africaine. The purpose of this lab is to gain a familiarity of the religious institutions and sites of urban Senegal with an interest in examining the ways in which religion is practiced in its particular contexts. We shall also consider the ways in which religions are integrated into pre-existing (or concurrently formed) ideas of the nation and of national and geographic identity. The question of the role of colonialism in defining religious identity and shaping religious practices will also be considered. Students will be provided with one or more questions to address in their field lab reports, which should be 3-5 pages (750-1250 words) in length.