Social Science

Essay 1/2 Term

For this 5 page essay (without including title page and list of cited references), you should approach a practitioner of another religion (a fellow student, a faculty, a friend, a person you know, a religious specialist, …) and interview him/her about a very specific aspect of his/her religion: either 1) a religious myth, 2) a religious symbolic system, 3) a religious ritual, 4) an altered state of consciousness in an identified religious context, OR 5) the particularities of a religious specialist in such religion.

You MUST identify the focus of your paper before you begin interviewing your “informant” or interviewee.  What is looked for with this assignment is for you to apply the knowledge you have acquired through reading the chapters 1-6 of the textbook as you interact and interview the person you have selected.

To select your interviewee and his/her religion, you must go at some distance from your own religious beliefs. The greater the distance, the better. For example, if you are Christian (this includes all Christian denominations AND Catholicism), you may NOT select someone who belongs to another Christian denomination/religion.  If you are Muslim, you may not select someone from another Islamic denomination.  You MUST instead select someone (and a related issue) associated with another religious system altogether.

What is looked for with this assignment is for each one of you to take the time to “briefly” interact—as long as necessary to write an excellent 4-5 pages essay—with another human being who belongs to a religion that is completely different from your own.  Your objective should be to reach an excellent emic perspective of the issue you choose (religious myth, symbolic system, ritual, or altered state of consciousness).

You must consult one or maximum two additional scholarly texts (above and beyond the textbook) about your subject matter as necessary.  The textbook should already give you ample useful information.  You must use the Chicago Manual of Style (Author-Date) to cite your written sources (including the textbook) and list your references cited at the end of your essay.

Your essay must have a brief introduction (a couple of paragraphs), a section explaining the issue at hand (religious myth, symbolic system, ritual, or altered state of consciousness) using your written source(s) [Wikipedia is NOT a scholarly source], a section with the information you gathered from your interview(s), and a conclusion.  YOU MAY NOT QUOTE.  IF YOU DO, POINTS WILL BE TAKEN AWAY.  YOU MAY, HOWEVER, PARAPHRASE (use your own words).  The professor wants to read your own voice.

You must submit your essay as a Word file.

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