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This free course, Studying religion, will give you an opportunity to think about some of the key concepts and methods of the discipline of Religious Studies. You will meet examples of different forms of religious practice and belief, mostly from Britain and India.
When you have completed this course you should:
- be able to discuss some of the ways in which the concept of ‘religion’ has been and is used in the study of religion;
- have gained some practical experience in the study of religion through exploring examples of religious activity in Britain and India on ‘special days’;
- be able to identify and to evaluate critically the motives, concerns and methods that typically distinguish the academic study of religion known as religious studies from other approaches to religious belief and practice.
- Current section: Learning outcomes
- 1 What is religion: video
- 2 That special day
- 3 Religion in the landscape
- 4 Why study religion?
- 5 What is religion?
- 6 Religion in context: Special days in Britain
- 7 How should we study religion?
- 8 Religion in context: Hinduism in Calcutta
- 8.1 Hinduism as a ‘religion’
- 8.2 The diversity of Hinduism
- 8.3 Worship in temples and street shrines
- 8.4 Hinduism in eastern India: religion in Calcutta
- 8.5 Looking for Hinduism in Calcutta
- 8.6 The Dakshineswar temple
- 8.7 The festival of Durga Puja in Calcutta
- 8.8 Hinduism as ‘a world religion’: a more recent understanding
- 9 The term ‘religion’: A concluding comment
- Next steps
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
After studying this course, you should be able to:
discuss some of the ways in which the concept of ‘religion’ has been and is used in the study of religion;
have gained some practical experience in the study of religion through exploring examples of religious activity in Britain and India on ‘special days’;
be able to identify and to evaluate critically the motives, concerns and methods that typically distinguish the academic study of religion known as religious studies from other approaches to religious belief and practice.
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Religious Studies courses or view the range of currently available OU Religious Studies courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Tuesday, 1st January 2013
Last updated on: Thursday, 3rd September 2015
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
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