Essay on ulteriour religion

Essay on ulteriour religion

Final Essay
Your final essay is due by 9:00am, Monday, April 28, 2014. Please submit your essay by email
to: [email protected] Please be sure that your essay is in Word format. Documents should be titled
after the following manner: LastName.FinalEssay.doc.
Essays should be three to 8-10 pages in length, double-spaced, with reasonable font and margins
(e.g., Times, 12 pt., 1-inch margins). Do not plagiarize; be sure to provide proper citations in
your footnotes (this means including the author, title, and page number of the reference). In this
essay, you must engage course readings explicitly and in depth, supporting your main points with
quotes from the relevant text/s. In addition, you will want to draw upon at least two sources
beyond those we have covered in class.

Instructions
David Chidester claims that “religion is an area of human activity marked by the concerns of the
transcendent, the sacred, the ultimate—concerns that enable people to experiment with what it
means to be human” (Authentic Fakes, p. 1). For your final essay, you will write an essay in
which you investigate how a form of ulterior religion functions as an experiment with what it
means to be human.
Please be sure to respond to ALL of the following:
1. Early in your essay, you will want to articulate a clear definition of religion. You are welcome
to draw upon definitions of thinkers we have studied in class—e.g., Durkheim, Otto, Eliade,
Chidester, Ward, Bataille, Geertz—in formulating your own definition. Please keep in mind that
your definition should be sufficiently capacious to include a variety of phenomena that you would
want to treat as religious, but narrow enough to do interesting theoretical work.
2. Employing your definition of religion, develop an essay in which you focus upon an ostensibly
secular phenomenon, revealing the religious dimensions of that phenomenon. In doing so, you
will want to be clear and specific about the precise ways in which you see the case you focus
upon to constitute an experiment with what it means to be human. You may wish to review
Chidester’s work for inspiration in crafting your own essay. Be sure to analyze your case with
care, offering ample detail, evidence, and logical argumentation to support your points.
3. You should conclude your essay with a set of theoretical reflections on the question of what
“counts” as religion, and what you take to be the importance of raising and responding to this
question as a student of religion. What is at stake in delineating religion? What is the importance
of querying into religion, and of discerning ulterior forms of religion?