Theories of Religion & Society (Required, 4 Credits)
Dr. Dicky Sofjan & Dr. Paul Martens
This Graduate Seminar on “Theories of Religion and Society” discusses the study of religion as an interdisciplinary field. It serves as an introduction to classical and contemporary theories of religion and how it relates to society. It examines the works of influential past and present scholars about the nexus between religion and the many aspects of societal life. The Graduate 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, economics and international relations. Considering the vastness of the field now called “religious study”, this Graduate Seminar explores important facets of the academic study of religion and inter-religious studies. The course problematizes the categories of “religion” and “agama”. In addition, this doctoral seminar will examine the political construction of religion in terms of how political power defines religion and the academic construction of religion/agama in terms of how religion is “invented in the act of studying it. This will ultimately include its impact on public discourse and policy making. Other aspects of understanding religion will be discussed in relation to other concepts such as identity, gender, democracy, freedom, human rights, dignity, etc.
Approaches to Inter-Religious Studies (Elective, 3 Credits)
Dr. Zainal Abidin Bagir & Dr. Robert Setio
The main objective of this course is to understand a variety of possibilities in studying religion, how it relates with other facets of life, and stimulate critical thinking about it. It starts with a discussion of how religious studies partly grew from theology in Western and Indonesian histories, how the two are distinguished, and ends with inter-religious studies. While (inter-)religious studies have grown fast in the past decade, with textbooks and journals carrying the name started to appear, yet as an academic field of study, it still leaves open a wide space of diverse views in terms of their objects, scopes and methodologies. This course will help students understand the main debates around religious and inter-religious studies, identify the different approaches and use a particular approach suitable to his/her research interest.
Inter-Religious Hermeneutics (Elective, 3 Credits)
Dr. Daniel K. Listijabudi & Prof. amina wadud
In this course, students will learn to apply theories and methods of Hermeneutics to Islamic canonical sources including—but not limited to—the Qur’an, the Sacred Text, or Holy Scripture. In particular, we will learn to unpack the rhetoric of hegemony through reading gender as a category of thought. Gender is a construct. It impacts our lives in ways we are often not aware of. In the case of canonical texts in Islam and Christianity, it is clear that they have been understood, interpreted, and put into application in accordance with patriarchal readings that have existed for millennia or two— without challenge. In modernity, believing communities began to make deeper reflections on how meaning is derived from texts. This has always been in a relationship with context. The cultures of patriarchy operated within a hidden hegemony which is now more evident than at any other time in human history. One of the tools for maintaining this hegemony was linguistic rhetoric. I call this the rhetoric of hegemony. We will examine how this is put into application through the Islamic sacred text, philosophy, and mysticism.
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