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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: Introduction
- 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
Study this free course
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This course 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, and will compare the ways in which boundaries are drawn (or not drawn) between what is held to be ‘religious’ and ‘non-religious’ in two different societies.
The aim of this course is to explore three key questions:
Why study religion?
What is religion?
How should religion be studied?
The course begins with a series of video clips on religion in Liverpool.
This free course is an adapted extract from the Open University course A103 An introduction to the Humanities, which is no longer taught by the University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in this.
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This is an extract 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
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