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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.
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
- understand some examples of religious activity in Britain and India on 'special days' and have some practical experience in the study of these examples
- identify and 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 Conclusion
- 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!
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 OpenLearn course provides a sample of Level 1 study in.
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, 23rd February 2016
Last updated on: Tuesday, 23rd February 2016
- 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.
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