REL / SGS 107 Religion & Gloablization
(20-points PER WEEK & 160 points / 35% of total grade for the course) due weekly
The discussion forum provides you the opportunity to synthesize and develop your understanding of key points in the readings and lectures. These assignments assess both your understanding of the material and will also help me identify points to clarify and ways to adjust my teaching strategies as we work through the course materials. These are also your primary means of demonstrating your engagement (reading and viewing) of the course materials. Submit via the corresponding unit module.
STEP 1: POST (10-points) a response to your choice of prompts by Friday evening 11:59pm. You may post your response in one of two formats:
- INDIVIDUAL As a traditional written response of 100-150 words.
- GROUP As a video / radio talk-show style discussion either as a solo commentary OR with 2-3 of your classmates. You can record an audio or video file in a 3-5 minute Zoom meeting and post this Zoom link in the discussion space. This recording will also provide you with a written transcript of your recording –which will need proof reading and correction if you wish to keep for your records and use later. Be sure to have at least a short list of key points you plan to include in your response before recording to make sure these enter the conversation. This is an experimental form of discussion response so I will greatly appreciate your feedback about the production process and satisfaction with this style of response and may change specific requirements through the course.
STEP 2: RESPOND (5-points each, 10-points total) to two other posts in approximately 50-wordsper postby Sunday night 11:59pm.
EXCEPTIONS: The last week of the course will involve two response posts. One will be a personal reflection on the core essay that week. The second will be a group discussion post in which you write the outline of a research plan. This week will also feature a lighter reading load since I know you will also be writing your final papers.
Media & Bias
In one sentence, define “bias”.
In your next 1-2 sentences, list 2-3 areas of your background that contribute how you view the world and where you place your sympathies (areas of bias).
How might your biases impact your approach to studying religion & globalization?
Try to keep your response around 150-200 words.
Pieterse’s first two chapters introduce us to his background with both culture and globalization as well as a wide range of definitions for “culture”. Identify which definitions of culture (pp 10-14) are most familiar and/or active in either your discipline (14-16) or an area of your work/personal life. Speak to how the author’s ideas of low and high-resolution categories (p 17) or the author’s “layers of culture” analytic (pp 18-20) do or do not clarify how “culture” is either spoken of or lived in your academic, professional, or personal worlds?
Pieterse identifies his definition of globalization as “a critical, multidimensional, and long-term approach to globalization that is closer to historical sociology, anthropology, history, and global political economy” (Pieterse 2020, 37-38); specifically, that “sociology, anthropology, geography, and cultural studies perspectives on globalization tend to be more inclusive and complex than treatments in economics, political science, and international relations” (29-30).
Drawing on Tables 2.3, 2.4, 2.6 and 2.7 and your overall sense of the chapter, identify which usages of globalization you are most familiar with in your academic, professional, and/or personal life. Where does your experience of the word “globalization” fit within Pieterse’s contextualization of this term? Are there aspects of globalization that neither yours nor Pietere’s definitions address…or that you see as under-engaged?
Globalizing processes across human history
Pieterse cautions against teleologically (see lecture) reading globalization in terms of directed evolutionary change (p41). Later, he problematizes visions of human unity in the same section in which he argues that periods of major creative innovation and change occurred as a result of “intercultural synthesis” when different people’s came in contact with one another (pp45-48). “The point is not to be anti-utopian but to be loosely utopian” (p56). Taking his statements about uneven development (48-50, 55-56) into account, describe what Pieterse’s ”loose utopia” might look like? What biases are suggested by his “loose utopia”?
Colonialism, Decolonization & Globalization
This post has three parts and you may use a minimum of 50 words for each part. Try to stay under 200 words.
- Drawing on Howe’s definitions and descriptions of empire, imperialism, colonialism, colonization, and the distinctions between land empires and sea empires, explain how would you classify the United States? It might be helpful to frame your response in terms of historical time frames.
- Howe defines of decolonization as a strictly political process. Can you think of examples of economic and/or cultural decolonization? If so, list a few. How might it be useful to limit the definition of decolonization to the political sphere? What are the limitations involved in narrowly defining decolonization?
- Identify one or two features of current globalization that are similar to dynamics identified in colonialism? What distinguishes these features from their earlier colonial counterparts?
Former heading for Qs 2&3 Globalization after colonization
Empire & Globalization
- This post has two parts and use a minimum of 50 words for each part. Try to stay under 200 words.
- Howe provides many examples of current or recent global issues that connect in various ways to colonialism. How does the United States fit into the history of colonialism and empire building?
- Identify one or two features of current U.S. globalization that are similar to dynamics that Howe identifies with empire? What distinguishes these features from earlier colonial empire versions?
Reformation and Counter Reformation
Most of the European states that enacted colonialism were either dominantly Protestant or Catholic. Imagine and describe the range of ways that these different religions might have engaged with their colonial subjects. Anchor your descriptions in both the text and any prior knowledge you have about Christian religions in the colonial period and in today’s global context.
Religion & World Religions
These chapters reviewed changes in how the word “religion” and the grouping of “world religions” changed from the 16th century to the turn of the twentieth century. Which definitions do you still notice in circulation today? Are these current usages narrower, wider, or about the same as these older usages? How do you interpret current usage in light of the history of these terms?
Josephson enacts two major “moves” in the chapters you read for today.
First, he presents how Japanese leadership perceived and grappled with the Euro-American definition of religion. This consideration of how others perceive us is known as reflexivity.
Josephson’s second move is to argue that how Japanese leadership defined Japanese religion(s) in turn then impacted the Euro-American definition of religion moving forward.
Review definitions from religion in J.Z. Smith’s essay “Religion, Religions, and Religious”. Which definitions from that essay and current usages bear the marks of Japanese definitions of religion? How does it feel to consider how Euro-American ideas were engaged differently by Others for different purposes?
The Emergence of the Secular
Is secularity something totally Other to religion? Or, is secularity a new type of religion? How does your answer inform our understanding of the global spread of secularism?
Cannell surveys various anthropological approaches to defining and analyzing “secularism”.
While some of you have semester projects that directly engage secularism, many others’s projects involve responses to perceived issues with secularism.
Thinking about your semester project, identify which approach -or combination of approaches- seems most relevant to your topic. Describe how your chosen approach adds to understanding your topic.
The United States’ Constitution prohibits establishing a state religion; that is, an official religion of the government that socially and/or legally prohibits people outside the state religion from holding public offices. At the same time, Bellah’s article suggests ways that myths and rituals support the authority and regulation of the United States’ civic community. How effective is American Civil Religion at ritualizing U.S. government without endorsing a state religion?
Industrialization, Urbanization, and Sexuality
Ross & Rapp provide historical anthropological examples of ways that social practices and rules surrounding sexuality and marriage reflect the realities and needs of their local economies. Identify at least one aspect today’s economic structures (eg: free market capitalism, job preparation, alternative cooperative enterprises, extended job training, costs of living, etc…) and explain how that particular economic reality shapes the choices that young adults have to structure their sexual lives today. If you can, try to keep these examples as concrete as the examples provided in the chapter.
CHOOSE ONLY ONE:
A) What are some implications of Modern gender binaries of feminine/private/religious and masculine/public/non-religious for men and boys?
B) Are secularization and/or atheism the only options for engaging with the Modern gender binaries of feminine/private/religious and masculine/public/non-religious?
Jewish Gender & Acculturation Conflicts
Reframe one of the following stereotypes of Jewish TV sitcom characters in terms of inter-cultural miscommunication. What role might power play in generating and reinforcing these stereotypes?
A) “Although they are often seen as “neurotic, whining about their relationship problems, writers’ blocks, kvetching about their parents and analyzing their struggles with commitment,” Jewish men usually appear as sympathetic, caring, and sensitive, often with a wry sense of humor.”
B) “Focus groups of Jewish women created by the [Morning Star] Commission reported that they saw Jewish women on TV as “pushy, controlling, selfish, unattractive, materialistic, high-maintenance, shallow, domineering”; they were “cheap bargain hunters” who “nagged their husbands and spend all their time cooking or shopping.”
Colonization of Indigenous Gender & Spirituality
Identify parallels and differences between the socio-economic impacts on upon sexualities among English farming communities and on gender roles among colonized Indigenous American communities?
Think: the types of socio-economic changes introduced and the patterns in how these impacted the different communities.
Living within the legacy of slavery and continued racially-based socio-economic-political oppressions is profoundly demoralizing as one’s dignity, one’s sense of self, is routinely and persistently eroded through structures that deny one’s right to full self-determination. How does Rastafari strive to maintain a balance between empowering Rastafaris, working toward socio-economic change, without directly challenging the political status quo. What aspects of Rastafari have lent themselves to such direct challenge?
Dr. Alhassan, Guest Speaker
State which of the three readings you read in depth.
Then, list 1-3 questions that you will be prepared to ask during Dr. Alhassan’s Q-A guest session.
Nationalism: History and Origins
1) Choose one of the two following preambles to the constitutions of the Ojibwe and Osage Nations.
2) Discuss how they are integrating Euro-based concept of “nation” with traditional group-identifications as “People”.
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White Earth Nation of the Anishinaabeg (Ojibwe): preamble, 2009 new constitution
The Anishinaabeg of the White Earth Nation are the ancestors of a great tradition of continental liberty, a native constitution of families, totemic associations. The Anishinaabeg create stories of natural reason, of courage, loyalty, humor, spiritual inspiration, survivance, reciprocal altruism, and native cultural sovereignty.
We the Anishinaabeg of the White Earth Nation in order to secure an inherent and essential sovereignty, to promote traditions of liberty, justice, and peace, and reserve common resources, and to ensure the inalienable rights of native governance for our posterity, do constitute, ordain, and establish this Constitution of the White Earth Nation.
(Dunbar-Ortiz (2014:216) on Vizenor and Doerfler (2012: 63))
Wah-zha-zhe Nation: preamble to 2006 revised constitution
“We the Wah-zhe-zhe, known as the Osage People, having formed as Clans in the far distant past, have been a People and as a People have walked this earth and enjoyed the blessing of Wah-kon-tah for more centuries than we truly know.
Having resolved to live in harmony, we now come together so that we may once more unite as a Nation and as a People, calling upon the fundamental values that we hold sacred: Justice, Fairness, Compassion, Respect for and Protection of Child, Elder, All Fellow Beings, and Self.
Paying homage to generations of Osage leaders of the past and present, we give thanks for their wisdom and courage. Acknowledging our ancient tribal order as the foundation of our present government, first reformed in the 1881 Constitution of the Osage Nation, we continue our legacy by again reorganizing our government.
This constitution, created by the Osage People, hereby grants to every Osage citizen a vote that is equal to all others and forma government that is accountable to the citizens of the Osage Nation.
We the Osage People, based on centuries of being a People, now strengthen our government in order to preserve and perpetuate a full and abundant Osage way of life that benefits all Osages, living and as yet unborn.”
(Dunbar-Ortiz (2014: 216) on Dennison (2012:197))
Reflect on the habit many in our American community have to explain the conditions of the poor on their lack of initiative and personal responsibility. The example of “The Welfare Mom” is a particularly rich example but there are many others. How does the information about the evolution of American “differential citizenship” help understand what is involved in these claims leveled against the poor and disenfranchised?
Human Rights and Global citizenship
Messer observes that as of 1993, the U.S.A. had only signed the U.N. Declaration on Human Rights but not ratified a commitment to implement changes to enacting these Human Rights.
Human Rights are implemented through ratifying multiple treaties between the United Nations and individual nation-states. “Today, all United Nations member States have ratified at least one of the nine core international human rights treaties, and 80 percent have ratified four or more, giving concrete expression to the universality of the UDHR and international human rights.” (https://www.un.org/en/sections/universal-declaration/human-rights-law/index.html).
What are the implications of this signed-but-not-ratified position? How might this signed-but-not-ratified participation connect with other global issues we have studied this semester? What does this signed-but-not-ratified relationship to Human Rights suggest about how the U.S.A. understands global citizenship?
To give your reflection greater depth and concreteness, you can draw on earlier lectures about nationalism, citizenship, differnetial citizenship and/or consult the abstracts of these treaties provided on pages 9-20 in this U.N. document: https://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/docs/OHCHR-FactSheet30.pdf.
Patterns in Intercultural interactions
Pieterse argues that hybridization “is the synthesis that acts as the solvent between these polar perspectives” of the differential clash of civilizations and the convergence or homogenization of McDonaldization (Pieterse 2020: 75). Use the video “Identity” by Pallavi aka Fijiana to either support or challenge Pieterse’s claim.
I have provided a map showing Fiji’s global location. You may also use any notes from earlier in the semester: Lecture “What is Globalization?” January 24, 2020.
Hybridization in Depth
Below, I have provided an abstract from an article by anthropologist Janet Hoskins about French perceptions of “visual blasphemy” in the syncretic or hybrid architecture of the Cao Đài Holy See, in Tây Ninh, Vietnam. This abstract provides some background information (more will be provided in lecture) to contextualize this image.
PRE-CLASS: In your reflection, in 50-100 words, list as many layers of globalizations as you can that would be useful for analyzing the global mélange in this image. Yes, it is okay to make a literal list for the pre-class write-up.
POST-CLASS: Using your notes, the ideas from the readings, and the information in this prompt, select 2 or 3 layers of globalization from your pre-class list. Then, briefly explain how these layers of globalization work together to produce the meaning in this image.
“ABSTRACT: The exuberant, eclectic architecture of the Caodai Holy See in French Indochina was described as a “grotesque combination” of European and Asian elements by several famous writers and this sense of horror served to construct a notion of “visual blasphemy” which merged aesthetic and ethical elements. Architecture is always read and misread though a cultural lens. It has been argued that the colonial “world as staged” (Mitchell 1999} produced its own “reality-effects,” so I argue that an anticolonial counter project of large public works tied to an innovative Asian synthesis of world religions served not only to bolster the morale of a once downtrodden people but also to convince them of the historical inevitability of their triumph. Caodaism was a new religious movement followed by 3 million people in French Indochina and its daring and “presumptuous” architecture was a visual act of insurrection, an iconographie revolution designed to precede and prepare the way for the political revolution to follow.” (Hoskins, Janet. “seeing syncretism as visual blasphemy: critical eyes on caodai religious architecture” in Material Religion 6:1 (2010) 30-58.)
Hybridization Pros and Cons
For this reflection, you will compare two media items discussing the traditional religio-healing practices of Curanderismo. A Curandero/a self-description can be found at https://www.curanderismo.org/curanderismo-healing (Links to an external site.)
- the speech of a certified Catholic catechist about the official Catholic Church’s position on Curanderismo (first four minutes minimum).
- the abstract to an article on file with National Center for Biotechnology Information and the U.S. National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health
Additionally, a Curandero/a self-description can be found at https://www.curanderismo.org/curanderismo-healing (Links to an external site.). Use these sources to discuss the issues of power and boundaries surrounding the legitimacy of Curanderismo as a hybrid religio-cultural practice. This reflection mirrors the structure of your final paper (three media sources, three categories of analysis). Think in terms of how you would organize a paper to address these issues. Think of your post as an abstract or annotation (main arguments) for this paper.
Differential consciousness requires the ability to recognize how differently positioned consciousnesses may be useful in different contexts. Identify of one example of one group needing to promote positive self-identity in the face of negative labeling and misrecognition. Then, choose two types of oppositional consciousness (equal rights, revolutionary, supremacist, and separatist) and briefly describe how each of those two consciousness may be of value for this same group in different situations.
Cross & Parham’s Life Stage Model of Identity Development
Use the following passage from Mihesuah’s article to discuss how issues of hybridity and oppositional consciousness intersect with Cross & Parham’s “Life Stages” model of identity development.
“I’ve gone though stages with it. I’ve gone through the stage where I hated everybody who wasn’t Indian, which meant part of myself . I went through a really violent kind of stage with that. And then I’ve been through in-between stages and I’ve come to a point where I realize in a way that you have to believe that you’re special to be born like that because why would anybody give you such a hard burden like that unless they knew you could come through with it, unless with it came some special kind of vision to help you get through it all and to help others through it because in a way you do see two sides but you also see there are more than two sides. Its like this, living is like a diamond or how they cut really fine stones. There are not just two sides but there are many and they all make up a whole.” (Mihesuah 2014: 109, quoting Joy Harjo, Poet Laureate 2019).
American Indian Decolonization
This post asks you practice connecting details in news stories to their historical context and conceptual frameworks. I specify using a list and note format to encourage you to find as many connections as possible. I encourage you to work in partners, with each person working on a different article. I fyou need help finding a partner, email me.
Read one of the two news articles linked below. Create a list of short quotes from the article. For each quote, briefly note the historical precedents for this detail in this very recent event (last Friday March 27, 2020).
NO-REFLECTION Religion & Nationalism
In lieu of reflection for today’s reading of Kennedy on Decolonization, take the time to consolidate notes from the text, lecture, and the rest of the course. You will need these notes to support conversations during the Case Study workshops on Friday 4/17, Monday 4/20, and Wednesday 4/22.
FILM Kūmāré Reflection
Should this film be included in future versions of this course?
WRITE 1-2 sentences about how globalization and religion work in this film/ social science experiment.
LIST some other categories or analytics that we have studies that are relevant to unpacking this film.
If so, what part of the course will it work best in?
Arizona State University strives to educate and train “public-facing” scholars and professionals. Atalia Omer argues that when scholars view themselves as “critical caretakers” they better position their research to contribute to “conflict transformation” in the public sphere. First, describe what seems to distinguish conflict “transformation” from conflict “resolution”? Explain whether or not you see the idea of “critical caretaking” as applicable to your future coursework and career outside of Religious Studies?
Understanding that your future career will not likely center on either globalization or religion, explain whether or not the perspective of “critical caretaking” is or is not relevant to any of your future life roles as: either a student, a citizen, a congregant, an employee, community leader, or family member.
CASE STUDY – Al-Qaeda & ISIS
revise: practice research plan or op ed outline, imagined author: Journalist or policy advisor setting a conference agenda
This reflection is optional. If you do it, it will count for graded credit. If you don’t respond within one week, you will be excused and it will not impact your grade. I would love for this to become a full discussion with y’all responding back and forth to each other, either in separate comments or in your own post. I will set this thread to allow you to see each other’s posts before posting your own comment. For those of you with domestic demands, try logging in through your phone, that should give you a talk-to-text feature that can make it easier to multi-task while supervising small children, washing dishes, or taking out the trash, or taking a nature walk. Just be sure to proofread before pressing submit!
=> During discussion today, Andre observed that Al-Qaeda and ISIS are both attempting to conform a very traditional [imagined] past into the lived reality of the modern world today. This can be said for a number of conservative religious groups such as Orthodox Judaism, Native American spiritual-national revivalist movements, and fundamentalist Christian communities like the Amish, Apostolic Christians, and Messianic Judaism. The effort to both return to an imagined past through the creative use of modern concepts and methods speaks to the process of hybridizing. How might comparing Al-Qaeda and ISIS alongside these other examples of modern-traditionalist hybrid religiosities change the way people talk about or interact with these groups or their affiliates like the Taliban and Boko Haram? Some of our analytic categories will help you make the comparisons and contrasts clear.