Theology research

Vicarious Experience Research Project
(Paper and In-Class Presentation)
Paper Length
It should be 5 pages, typed and double spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font.
Purpose
It is very helpful to experience learning about World Religions through a film, novel, memoir, autobiography, play, or an ethnographic study (interview). That initial contact can give a sense of what a particular worldview feels like, provide a deeper understanding of the religion and suggest questions that you will want to follow up on with additional research to learn more.
Process: Choose a film novel, memoir, autobiography, play, or do an interview with someone about their religion that you think will express what it feels like to live as a part of that religion. This should be a true account (i.e. not fictional) of someone’s life. The goal of the assignment is to try and find out what it is like to live out a particular religious tradition. If you have a question, check your selection with me before you invest time in it. You should choose a religion other than your own (if you practice one) to learn a bit more about in this assignment.
You might wish to interview someone who holds a religious worldview different from yours. Ask them thoughtful and respectful questions which will help you to understand the religion. If it is one we have studied in class, you may incorporate some of your in-class learning. Note that an interview is not automatically providing you with a vicarious experience. In fact, it is usually difficult to get someone you are interviewing to give you the narratives or personal experiences that we are looking for in this step. They tend instead to tell us about their worldview. So if you are writing about your own experience or interviewing someone else, be sure to seek out experiences rather than ideas or judgments. For this part of the paper, we are looking for stories, not academic information or analysis. Similarly, seek a book or film that tells a story, not an academic analysis.
What to include in the paper : Write a report on what you found out, mentioning especially what you learned about the experiential dimension of the religion you are examining. Be sure to provide specific examples to illustrate your points. Note also how the narrative you read/watched or had a discussion about relates to our particular question of what it is like to be a part of a particular religion. You may also connect your project to your notes/learning from class, citing sources when appropriate. You may also find that the project raises questions about the religion being studied. You are encouraged to relay what additional questions arose from your project and reflect upon any differences which you uncovered in your research, and what you had previously learned about the religion being studied (in class discussions, the textbook, Dr. Wyant’s lecture or other independent study and etc.). Keep in mind that you are trying to uncover something about the “little tradition”, that is, how the religion is lived out, not just presented in academic study.
Be sure to relay specifically what you read or did for the assignment, including title(s) of your media or information for your contact. (This should be listed in proper APA or MLA format)
Presentation: You will give a brief in-class presentation of your findings. You do NOT need a power point or any technology, just your notes. You will want to summarize your findings for the class on the date specified on the syllabus. Your presentation in class should be about 5 -10 minutes in length.

Description

Choose a film novel, memoir, autobiography, play, or do an interview with someone about their religion that you think will express what it feels like to live as a part of that religion. This should be a true account (i.e. not fictional) of someone’s life. The goal of the assignment is to try and find out what it is like to live out a particular religious tradition. If you have a question, check your selection with me before you invest time in it. You should choose a religion other than your own (if you practice one) to learn a bit more about in this assignment.
You might wish to interview someone who holds a religious worldview different from yours. Ask them thoughtful and respectful questions which will help you to understand the religion. If it is one we have studied in class, you may incorporate some of your in-class learning. Note that an interview is not automatically providing you with a vicarious experience. In fact, it is usually difficult to get someone you are interviewing to give you the narratives or personal experiences that we are looking for in this step. They tend instead to tell us about their worldview. So if you are writing about your own experience or interviewing someone else, be sure to seek out experiences rather than ideas or judgments. For this part of the paper, we are looking for stories, not academic information or analysis. Similarly, seek a book or film that tells a story, not an academic analysis.