- UCAS course code
- UCAS institution code
BA Comparative Religion and Social Anthropology
Year of entry: 2024
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Course unit details:
Contemporary Religion in the British Isles
|Religions & Theology
|Available as a free choice unit?
What it means to be religious varies across the British Isles. In this course, we survey a number of contemporary expressions of religion and non-religion. We explore current developments and controversies within religious communities and in their interaction with wider society and culture. While the focus is on the British Isles, the study of current and historical global links enables a holistic understanding. Additionally, we critically evaluate the representation of religion in the news and on social media, and how they function as sources of knowledge. Material draws on recent scholarship and primary sources such as statistical data, community publications, material objects, news items and Twitter feeds. You will analyse how they reveal and complicate contested debates over religious belonging, authentic religious practice and thought, and the place of religion within contemporary societies and cultures. You will pursue your own specialist interest through independent research of a self-selected ethnographic case study.
1. To explore the presence, role and representation of diverse expressions of religion in contemporary societies and cultures of the British Isles
2. To examine theories of religious and non-religious social identities in context
3. To reflect critically on specific expressions of contemporary religion and their value to generalized understandings of social and cultural developments
4. To enable students to develop communication skills aimed at a range of non-academic and academic audience
Knowledge and understanding
· Explain how religious expressions manifest in the British Isles
· Demonstrate how the presence and role of specific religious communities has changed over time
· Evaluate representations of contemporary religion in the media
· Explain the relationship between religion and key social, cultural and political sites such as sacred space, public and private ritual, community, education, and social activism.
· Understand and evaluate a diversity of scholarly and popular positions on the role of religion in contemporary life
· Compile a critical media digest
· Carry out systematic and structured analysis of an ethnographic case study
· Develop a reflective critical position on religion in contemporary life
· Manage your own academic development, including reflecting on progress and taking appropriate action
· Negotiate common working practices as part of a team.
· Design and deliver clear and informative research material for a specified non-academic audience
· Conduct bibliographic and Internet searches to locate relevant primary and secondary sources
· Synthesize information from a variety of sources
· Provide and learn from peer feedback
Transferable skills and personal qualities
· Develop awareness of the role of religion in contemporary British life and its global links
· Engage in critical discussion
· Communicate effectively with a range of audiences
· Use reflexivity to undertake self-evaluation
|Case Study Proposal
|Reflective Review: written tutor feedback
Media Digest: written tutor and peer feedback; written self-assessment
|Formative (peers) and summative (self and tutor)
|Case study: written tutor feedback
Additional one-to-one feedback available in
office hours and by appointment.
Davie, G. (2015). Religion in Britain : a persistent paradox. Second edition. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell.
Day, A., Vincett, G. and Cotter, C.R. (2013). Social identities between the sacred and the secular. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate.
Gregg, S.E. and Scholefield, L. (2015). Engaging with Living Religion: A Guide to Fieldwork in the Study of Religion. London: Routledge.
Knott, K. (2014). The location of religion : a spatial analysis. London: Routledge.
Knott, K., Poole, E. and Taira, T. (2013). Media portrayals of religion and the secular sacred: representation and change. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate.
Knott, K. and McLoughlin, S. (2010). Diasporas : concepts, intersections, identities. London: Zed Books.
Woodhead, L. and Catto, R. (2012). Religion and change in modern Britain. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.