Teaching Religion in the Premodern World

CETLI Teaching Workshop
Reyhan Durmaz (University of Pennsylvania)
Mar 14, 2024 at - | Cohen 204

Stereotypical Teaching Image

Recent scholarship has demonstrated that “religion” as we know it today is a post-Enlightenment concept. But this fact has not changed common discourse that assumes the universality of religion, nor has it stopped the academy from offering courses on religion in pre-modern contexts. So how do we approach teaching within a framework which we have been trained to deconstruct? In this workshop, we will discuss strategies that can allow undergraduate students to understand how pre-religion in ancient and medieval settings is different from modern religion without overloading them with graduate-level theoretical concepts. These strategies will range from the micro-level (e.g. ways to present specific difficult concepts) to the macro (e.g. designing syllabi that integrate these theoretical questions without taking time away from the subject of the course). The target audience of this workshop extends beyond the Religious Studies department to include any student working on elements of the pre-modern world who might be expected to teach about religion.

This teaching workshop is part of a year-long series organized by CETLI Fellow Jeremy Steinberg