REL 502 Public Humanities & Religious Studies: Foundations

M 1:00-3:20 pm, Manly 210

Prof. Michael J. Altman
Office: Manly 205
Office hours by appointment

Course Description

This graduate seminar introduces students to public humanities and digital humanities approaches to the study of religion. Students learn methods and tools for conducting digital research and explore ways to communicate theoretical and religious studies research to public audiences through digital media. Students are introduced to a number of digital tools for research, scholarly communication, and public engagement and will work to apply those tools to their individual research interests and goals.

The course hashtag is #REL502. You are not required to use a Twitter account in the class, but the hashtag is there for you to use if choose. I will keep an eye out for it. We will mostly communicate through the REL 502 channel of the Religion in Culture Slack.

Course Objectives

  • The course will provide an introduction to the public and digital humanities in religious studies.
  • The course will introduce digital tools and platforms for research, scholarly communication, and public engagement.
  • The course will discuss the current state of digital humanities and public humanities in the field of religious studies.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students conduct qualitative and/or quantitative data analysis using digital research platforms.
  • Students design and build an effective website for their research.
  • Students use content management systems to build a digital collection.
  • Students produce audio that presents religious studies research to a broad public.

Course Materials

Required Software and Web Tools

  • Register for a year of hosting with Reclaim Hosting.
    • WordPress
    • Omeka
  • Audacity or GarageBand
  • Video editing software (we’ll discuss options)
  • Slack (I recommend you download the mobile app to your phone)

Required Texts

Available from the SUPEstore and through various online sellers.

Optional Texts

Available as e-books for free, but can be purchased if you prefer a hardcopy. E-book linked on course schedule as well.

Class Requirements (for due dates see the Course Schedule)

Show/Listen and Tells

Twice during the semester you will be asked to bring in good examples of digital work that you must find. See the schedule for the dates.

Workshop Assignments

Four times during the semester you must present a small prototype digital project we will have spent two to three weeks working on. These are early ideas, incomplete, alpha, .0 versions but they are meant to introduce you to a few basic tools for presenting scholarship to public audiences.

Discussion Leadership

Once during the semester each student will lead the discussion of the reading assignments. See the course schedule for the dates with “Discussion of the reading” listed.

Course Policies

As this is a graduate seminar, you are expected to attend the class, be prepared for the class, and participate in the class. Assignments and projects are expected to be completed on time. If you miss class for any reason please let me know promptly so we can ensure you don’t fall behind. Unexcused absences, frequent tardiness, or a lack of participation will lower your grade for the course. If you have any questions or concerns about the course I am happy to talk to you.

The grade scale for the course is based on satisfactory completing the above requirements. Students will be consulted individually by the instructor if their work is unsatisfactory.:

  • A         Satisfactory completion of all requirements
  • B         Satisfactory completion of at least 90% of the requirements
  • C         Satisfactory completion of at least 80% of the requirements
  • D         Satisfactory completion of at least 70% of the requirements
  • F          Satisfactory completion of less than 70% of the requirements

Statement on Academic Misconduct

Students are expected to be familiar with and adhere to the official Code of Academic Conduct provided in the Online Catalog.

Statement On Disability Accommodations

Contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS) as detailed in the Online Catalog.

Severe Weather Protocol

Please see the latest Severe Weather Guidelines in the Online Catalog.

UAct Statement

The UAct website provides an overview of The University’s expectations regarding respect and civility.