Reading assigments (First part)
I) Two chapters from M. H. Luther & D, Wiebe (eds), Religion Explained? The Cognitive Science of Religion After Twenty-five Years (Routledge 2017): 1) Chapter 7 (“The Long Way from the Cognitive Science to History: To Shorten the Distance and Fill in the Blanks,” by P. Pachis and O. Panagiotidou); 2) Select the second chapter from the volume according to your interest. You can read the chapters online at Helsinki University Library (HELKA)
II) I. Czachesz, “Evolutionary theory on the move: New perspectives on evolution in the cognitive science of religion.” Filosofia Unisinos: Unisinos Journal of Philosophy 19 (3): 63–71. (Pdf attached)
III) E. Kundtová & A. Geertz, “Ritual and Embodied Cognition”. R. Uro et al. (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Ritual (OUP 2018), 74–94. Online version at Helsinki University Library (HELKA)
- to recognize the key issues, topics and approaches in the field of the Cognitive Science of Religion and their relevance for the historical and ethnographic study of religion
- to analyze how empirical and scientific methods are complementing more traditional humanities approaches and how methodological pluralism sheds light on religion in contemporary society
- to describe and compare the nature of the theories and approaches discussed in the course
- to develop observations abilities and to apply and test theoretical knowledge in the field
- to apply methods discussed in the course to analyze historical or ethnographic materials, depending on students’ respective study interests
The course work consists of reading assignments, fieldwork practices, and a final paper assignment.
Reading assignments: Students will read a selection of assigned articles and book chapters. A short reading diary entry has to be submitted on each assignment before the respective meeting. Detailed instructions on writing a reading diary will be provided. One page on each assignment is sufficient. Familiarity with the assignments and their main points will be expected in the lectures and discussions. The course meetings will be interactive, including both introductory presentations on the key subjects of the day and ample room for discussing questions, critical points, and ideas.
Fieldwork practices: Students will develop observation skills, first with using examples in the classroom, and then in the field through participatory observation in some religious community. Detailed instructions will be given during the course.
Final essay/reflection paper: A short final paper (5–7 pages) in which a selected cognitive theory or perspective is applied to historical or ethnographic materials. Help with choosing a topic and theory/perspective for the paper will be provided during the course meetings. The essay can be written in English or Finnish.
A list of articles and book chapters for reading assignments will be made available on the course website.