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All students are required to write a traditional research paper on a narrow topic of your own choice. Once you have decided upon a topic I would strongly recommend you begin gathering materials for the assignment at some earlier point in the semester rather than waiting until week 14 to begin. The paper should relate to themes in the course but could literally be about anything you find interesting, regarding the historical practice of faith, theological or philosophical issue of belief (or disbelief), sociologically influenced religious practice, or even a contemporary movement. It could be about an individual, a group, a scripture, a specific devotion, an event, a phenomena, but should not be of a general nature such as “The History of Islam” or “The Story of Buddhism”. Also try to refrain from writing about well-known topics very common to your own faith such as “The Seven Sacraments”, “The Five Pillars”, “The Life of Christ”, “The Prophet Muhammad” or “The Ten Commandments”. You could however write a more narrow well-researched paper about one particular commandment, a pillar, a sacrament, or an event from the life of a religion’s founder. If you are unsure about your choice of a topic feel free to run it by me. The paper should be a minimum of 7 pages (it certainly can be much longer), utilizing at least 5 sources. Inclusion of primary sources such as the scriptures, or the first-hand accounts (theories, history, philosophy) of an historical individual to support your position are always encouraged. You may use any academic writing style that you are comfortable with (MLA, Chicago Manual, APA, SCI, etc.).
Project ------------------------- 10 %
Each student is also required to complete a “project” (of sorts) which will be summarized in a 5-10 page written essay. The project can be on any a topic of your choice. This may include reading a book (scholarly, spiritual, historical or fictional) or viewing a movie with a religious theme and writing a reflection coupled with a modest amount of research or historical/critical reflection. It could be a review of a religious piece of art, a reflection on a visit to a worship space, monastery, shrine, reading room, mosque or temple. This may not be a place you regularly attend, have visited during a previous quarter, or an assignment you have done for some other course. The project might also involve an account of your visit to a worship service (other than your own faith) coupled with some preliminary research, or an interview with a person of another faith. All projects must move beyond a mere summary of the experience or readings to an integration and dialogue of the material with course-related themes, questions or issues. Please include some sort of bibliography with your work.
All students are required to write a traditional research paper on a narrow topic of your own choice. Once you have decided upon a topic I would strongly recommend you begin gathering materials for the assignment at some earlier point in the semester rather than waiting until week 14 to begin.