Academic Study of Religion
This course is the foundational course of CRCS curriculum. It will discuss the study of religion as an interdisciplinary study. It is an introduction to classical theories of religion as well as to development of religious studies. It will examine the works of some of the most influential scholars of different disciplines, who have engaged in discussions and debates about relationships between religion and other aspects of humans’ life, and whose works have shaped the ways subsequent scholars of different disciplines think about religion and society. This course will also stimulate critical thinking about the study of religion in the academic context and its influences to the wider context: i.e society/politics. What is religion (as constructed in the West) and agama (as constructed in Indonesia)? What does it mean to study religion? How do we locate religion or the religious? Considering the vastness of the field now called “religious study”, this course is to explore some important facets of academic study of religion and various approaches to the study of religion. The main point of this course is not to take for granted the very category of “religion” and “agama,” the subject of the study, as unproblematic. In addition, this course will examine the political construction of religion (how political power defines religion) and the academic construction of religion/agama (how religion is “invented in the act of studying it), including its impacts to public discourses and policy making. Other aspects of understanding religion will be discussed in relation to other concepts such as culture and identity.