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Scott Redesigns Advanced Seminar Course


This year, we decided to revamp our capstone course, REST 499: Advanced Seminar in the Study of Religion, which is required for all of our majors. Rachelle Scott, who was recognized with the Senior College Teaching Award last year, redesigned this core course for majors and offered the newly revamped seminar in spring 2021.

In that seminar, students explored the history of religious studies as an academic field and critically reflected on their experiences as religious studies majors and minors. Students surveyed some of the early theoretical and methodological contributions to the field and analyzed critiques of religious studies as a discipline and the idea of world religions. Scott led them through the process of thinking critically about the history of religious studies as a discipline, students then sought to reconstruct the field through an analysis of current scholarship (from lived religion, class, and materiality to religion, race, and globalization). The course ended with discussions about teaching religion in religious studies courses and reflections on students’ courses of study. This new course design, created by one of the College of Arts and Sciences best teachers, created a new and innovative way for religious studies majors to complete their coursework at UT.

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