SOAS University of London

Department of Religions and Philosophies

Religion in Britain: Faith Communities and Civil Society

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2016/2017
Unit value:
Year of study:
Taught in:
Full Year

This course provides students with the necessary anthropological and related skills to conduct fieldwork in the sphere of religions. It combines both a theoretical and practical approach thus allowing students to gather relevant data and to interpret these with appropriate analytical tools. Students will be exposed to a variety of religious experiences of relevant groups/communities especially in London, but also other areas in the UK. They will be asked to carry out a field research amongst one specific group of their choice, to write a report and present their findings to the class. With the intent of fostering critical thinking, great importance will be given to the integration of theoretical/analytical approaches with the practice of fieldwork. This course will complement other theoretical courses offered in the MA Study of Religions specialist pathway.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of the course, a student will:

  • Have acquired a basic knowledge of anthropology of religion and other related approaches, methods and theories in the Study of Religions.
  • Be able to evaluate critically these approaches/theories and contemporary writing on religion.
  • Be able to apply anthropological and related fieldwork methodology to the Study of Religions.
  • Have acquired a deeper knowledge of one selected religious group/community in the UK.
  • Be able to combine theoretical reflection with lived experience of a religious group/community.
  • Be able to produce a substantial fieldwork report, with critical analysis of data and a discussion of issues facing religions today.
  • Be able to assess the interaction between a given faith community and civil society (or one particular aspect: e.g.: education, health care, law & order, race relations, media, civil authority).

Method of assessment

Coursework: two essays (4,000 words and 5,000 words), one classroom presentation. Assessment: essays 75% (30% + 45%), classroom presentations 25%.


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