Theories of Religion and Society (1st Semester)
This doctoral seminar discusses the study of religion as an interdisciplinary study. It serves as an introduction to classical theories of religion and how it relates to society. It examines the works of influential scholars about the relation between religion and the many aspects of societal life. The doctoral seminar is expected to stimulate critical thinking about the study of religion in the academic context and its influence on the wider context i.e. society, culture, politics and economics.
Considering the vastness of the field now called "religious study", this doctoral seminar explores important facets of the academic study of religion and inter-religious studies or religion and society. The course problematizes the category of "religion” and “agama”. In addition, this doctoral seminar 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 impact on public discourse and policymaking. Other aspects of understanding religion will be discussed in relation to other concepts such as identity, populism, democracy, etc.
Aims of the Seminar
This doctoral seminar introduces students to classical theories of religion and society and their significance for today’s religious phenomena from a number of disciplines (anthropology, sociology, psychology, history, philosophy, theology, phenomenology, and others). The course shows students how these theories are used by Indonesian and other scholars to interpret the historical realities of religions in Indonesia (and Asia), as well as to understand the influence of these theories on Indonesian self-understanding. It aims to provide students, from different academic backgrounds, with a common field of discourse that facilitates communication across disciplines. It is designed to promote independent learning, creativity, and critical thinking in the study of religion.
Research Design and Methods (2nd Semester)
The course is designed to train graduate students in the planning and conduct of research projects in the human sciences, and more especially in religious and cultural studies. The course will enable students to gain a deeper understanding of the nature of scholarly argument, and how to evidence truth claims, in the human sciences. The course will train students in research design, and in generating and developing research questions and problems amenable to investigation in graduate research projects. The course will help students to learn how to plan and write scholarly literature reviews, and how to identify, gather and interpret data in such a way as to generate new theoretical insights from the study of empirical and internet-originate data, and/or primary texts such as sacred scriptures or organisational reports. The course will develop an understanding of research methods particularly appropriate to the study of religion and culture, including discourse analysis and ethnography. Finally the course will enable students to prepare and write a research proposal.
Aims of the Seminar
By the end of the course: