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Grant number: EH-250784-16

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Macalester College (St. Paul, MN 55105-1899)
James William Laine (Project Director: February 2016 to present)

Teaching the Religions of the World

A four-week college and university institute for thirty participants, exploring the difficulties of teaching about the religions of the world, to be held at Macalester College.

I am proposing a Summer Institute that concentrates on a tension in the comparative study of the religions. Students and teachers assume that such study should provide a certain basic literacy about the major traditions, from Buddhism and Hinduism to Islam and Christianity. Critical scholarship shows, however, that these traditions are not comparable species within the broader genus “religion.” Scholars have raised fundamental questions about how we use the word religion, and what we should emphasize in studying a variety of traditions. Reflection on this tension between “teaching the basics” and raising important theoretical critiques will be the heart of the Institute, and we will build a website to archive useful strategies for teachers across the nation to use in the future.

Project fields:
History of Religion

Institutes for College and University Teachers

Education Programs

Total amounts:
$163,427 (approved)
$152,747 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2016 – 12/31/2017