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Hi, future students of Religious Studies I just want to drop some advice for this class and similar to other classes, if you want to do well in this course, putting in the effort is indeed necessary to do well! The quality of this course was phenomenal and I guarantee you will be learning so much from this class about issues and concepts that are still relevant today. Personally, the best thing that worked for me was following the schedule that has been laid out for you by our professor who put in a lot of effort to provide us…

Growing up, I adore Star Wars and have always been a huge fan of the franchise since I was a child. It was very interesting to discover that many individuals actually consider the Force from the franchise to be a religion which was something I would never think could be possible. In the franchise, the Force was a mystical energy field that is created by life and it has the ability to hold the galaxy together and if one were to exploit that power, it gives the Jedi or the Sith overwhelming spiritual abilities like being able to levitate objects…

In lesson 4.4 which focuses on Islamophobia and the grounds that it was built from, I further realized just how biased our contemporary America is. I found it particularly interesting in Liz Bucar’s article that face masks were deemed as negative and those who wore them were scorned because it was and has a connection to the Islam religion. Face masks are necessary to protect ourselves from the ongoing pandemic and not meant to be something that is seen as an issue because of its link to Islam. It’s disappointing to know that even something as minute as a face…

While engaging in this lesson, my understanding of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was further increased and I realized how discrimination specifically against Jews was still relevant today. I have always known about the KKK and understood that they were a hate group that focused on White American supremacy with racist ideologies and have an extremely violent history of primarily targeting black Americans, but also other minority groups like Jews, immigrants, members of the LGBTQ community and even Catholics. In lesson 4.3, …

Prior to this lesson, I understood that religious freedom was a principle that protected people’s right to live, speak, and act according to their own beliefs peacefully in public and private; however, not all individuals are given this equal opportunity. Specifically, in America “religious freedom” is limited to and oppressed many groups of people, and the majority of those who benefit the most from this “religious freedom” tend to be white Americans practicing Christianity because the nation was built from the basis of a Christian worldview. For example, as a person who celebrates Asian culture, Lunar New Year is a…

Before this lesson, my understanding of the word ‘intolerance’ was its basic definition of unwillingness to accept certain views, beliefs, or behavior that is different from an individual’s own, but in the academic study of religion, not only does it hold true but it also bears a more extensive significance. In Jakobsen and Pellegrini’s argument, they mentioned how the history of tolerance is inseparable from the history of religion because it all ties together. They also highlight how religious tolerance has affected America in our contemporary world and lead to the construct of racism and secular divisions which was extremely…

When thinking of ‘class,’ I have always defined it as the systematic order of a society where the people are divided because of their economic standing, a notion that we have created to categorize people based on how we perceive others solely on their status. In the academic study of religion, I learned that ‘class’ can determine how an individual may practice their religion as well as the solid connection it has from past lessons on power. In this lesson, McCloud places emphasis on how pivotal ‘class’ can be to the study of religion. He demonstrates the role ‘class’ has…

When I hear the term ‘gender,’ I innately assume we are talking about the human biology of being female or male. However, ‘gender’ is much more in-depth than just being female or male. It is the range of characteristics between masculinity and femininity with reference to the social construct and is the product of power. In this lesson, I learned the definition of gender idendity and how it is a very important category of difference and essentially how a person identifies themselves while gender expression reflects an individual’s own internal sense of their gender, but is this could also mean…

Prior to this lesson, I believed race to be only a concept that categorized different people into divisions of humankind that all have a certain physical characteristic. In this lesson, I come to realize that race is not just a biological perspective; however, it closely ties into power in the studies of religion and is a constructed notion by colonial Western Europeans to help form a system of power relations. This lesson highlights how the racial system has power historically and politically in our contemporary world. In Kendi’s chapter provided, I found it interesting how from the previous lesson on…

Prior to this lesson, I did not really think much of the word ‘space’ and I had no idea that it could possibly possess such a profound definition in the academic study of religions. In the reading provided, Tweed introduces five ways to analyze space and how it can work to allow us to understand how it is advanced and is affected through generations. He talks about what space is and what it is not, as well as, informing us how culture and even politics can influence a certain space. Space can be special and mean different things to many…

Anna L.

A female student attending the University of Houston. Interested in learning about new concepts and ideas.

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