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Robert Crosnoe, Chair CLA 3.306, Mailcode A1700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-6300

Spring 2009

SOC 313K • Introduction to the Study of Religion

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
45580 TTh
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
GAR 3.116

Course Description

This course offers a thematic introduction to the study of religion by focusing on narrative, ritual, and artifact at Christian, Buddhist, and Muslim pilgrimage sites. Using one Latino Catholic pilgrimage site in New Mexico to orient our opening discussion, the course begins by thinking about the meaning of key terms, including religion, shrine, and pilgrimage. To get our bearings and map the field, we consider some leading theories of pilgrimage and influential ways of studying it. Then we turn to Japan and analyze one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites there. We next shift our focus to Islam and Mecca, including Malcolm X's account of his journey to the holiest Muslim site. Finally, we focus on a Christian site, a Cuban American shrine in Miami dedicated to Our Lady of Charity.

Grading Policy

Intellectual journal (a journal that includes analysis of the assigned readings) 20%
Midterm exam I and midterm exam II 25% each
Cumulative final exam 25%
Class participation 5%


Michael Wolfe, ed., One Thousand Roads to Mecca, Grove Press, 1997
Thomas A. Tweed, Our Lady of the Exile: Diasporic Religion at a Cuban Catholic Shrine in Miami, New York: Oxford University Press, 1997
Ian Reader, Making Pilgrimages: Meaning and Practice in Shikoku, University of Hawaii Press, 2006


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