May 13 2016
Professor Joel Stoker, Fellow in Religious Studies, presented a paper entitled “Reconstructing a Discipline: Problematizing the Conversation of World Religions and Religious Studies” in a panel on Teaching Religion and the Humanities at the annual Eastern International Region of the American Academy of Religion conference at the University of Pittsburgh on May 6.
As a part of a panel focused on improving pedagogical techniques, Prof. Stoker’s paper illustrated the historical problems with the religious studies field and the debate surrounding the contemporary category of “world religions” itself. While courses on world religions can be found at most American colleges and universities, the content of courses varies radically at each institution. Professor Stoker argued that the categorical limitations and dynamic nature of world religions themselves requires faculty to reassess course content and historical contexts to keep course content and readings relevant, inclusive, and meaningful.