Write a 1500- to 2000-word essay (roughly 6 to 8 pages, double-spaced, 12- point standard font) in which you both describe and make an argument about a particular religion or religions. You have two options:
(1) Choose a social issue that interests you – for example, racism, sexism, homelessness, incarceration, climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic response, etc. – and write essay comparing and contrasting two different religious perspectives on the issue. Your research should include both academic sources (journal articles or academic books) and non-academic sources (faith group websites, local activist groups, or interviews with individuals).The essay should include a few elements: (a) a brief summary of the primary relevant beliefs and practices and of the historical development of each religion, (b) a description of the relationship between these beliefs and practices and the social issue that you have chosen, and (c) a comparison and contrast of the two religions’ approaches to the socio-political issue in question.
(2) Select a contemporary artifact (for example, a news story from a respected news source, a historical event, a documentary, a movie or TV show, a music video, etc.) that highlights some aspect of a religion’s engagement in social and political affairs. The paper should (1) summarize this engagement and interpret it through one of the theorists of religion that we have discussed and (2) explore the theological and ritual connection between the religion and the socio-political issue.
*Every paper should use at least one of the theorists of religion that we read through the semester: Mary Douglas, Phyllis Tribble, Charles Long, Catherine Bell, or Saba Mahoud. Use their theories to help you analyze the religion(s) that you’ve chosen.
*Every paper should have a thesis statement, and make an argument based on evidence. Each paper should draw on reading from the textbook concerning the tenets and beliefs of each religion, broadly conceived. Each paper should cite sources accurately and coherently throughout the paper. Each paper should feel free to draw on the course texts, but also draw on outside sources — each paper should draw on three (3) outside reputable academic sources.
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