Welcome

This is the website for the online course RLG233H1F: Religion and Popular Culture (2016). Everything you need for the course will be available from this site, with the exception of the course textbook and the interactive tools (such as Collaborate). NB. There is information at each tab, as well as a pull-down menu. For the basic information on each heading, click once.

The textbook, Religion and Popular Culture, by Chris Klassen, is available as an ebook from the publisher (Oxford University Press), can be borrowed from the UTLibrary, or may be purchased from various online book providers.

A PDF of the course handbook may be downloaded here.

Goals of the Course:
1) To acquire familiarity with the academic study of religion and popular culture;
2) To acquire critical theories for analyzing popular culture as it represents and interacts with religion;
3) to develop critical thinking tools for the study of religion and popular culture;
4) to engage creatively with the intersection of popular culture and religion
5) to develop disciplined research and writing skills;
6) to develop self-reflection as a scholar and learner.

Learning Outcomes:
By the end of this course, you will be familiar with the rise of popular culture and its intimate relationship with religion in North America. You will have an understanding of the theories used to study religion and popular culture. You will also be able to construct and maintain a blog, engage creatively with the subject matter, and research and write a clear analysis of a popular cultural artifact. At the end of this course, you will have produced at least 15 pages of scholarly prose, which will have been given clear and substantive feedback (from peers and instructors) to inform subsequent written work. You will take away from this course a toolkit for studying the ways in which religion is rooted in popular culture and the way that popular culture shapes religion. Along the way, you will grow in your self-understanding as a scholar and learner.

This course will also prepare you for further study of religion and popular culture (e.g., film) at the intermediate, 300-course level.

Is Online Learning for Me?:
Remember that online learning is flexible but it does not mean it is less work! A popular myth is that an online course is easier than a face-to-face course. It is true you can work from almost anywhere, anytime you want, but an online course will take as much time and is as academically rigorous (or more rigorous) as a face-to-face course. Given the particular demands of online learning, you are advised to read through this website, taking the self-assessment quiz, to determine if this course is right for you.

Trigger warning: Materials viewed and discussed in the class may include images of mature subject matter (e.g., sex, violence, irreverence). All material will be chosen with care and is not intended to harm. Students will be advised in advance of material that may be potentially problematic. Please note that offense (as opposed to harm) cannot (and will not) be avoided.

Contact information

Professor Jennifer A Harris
jennifer.harris[at]utoronto.ca
Department for the Study of Religion
170 St. George Street, room 312