For early-career and established faculty alike, a course in "World Religions" or the like can present a substantial pedagogical challenge. Often an inherited course rotating between faculty members, "World Religions" risks becoming a professor's nightmare: it presents to students an opportunity for global exposure to religious ideas, practices, and problems, seeming to be an all-in-one package; yet for the teacher, such a demand for coverage can seem to necessitate either a superhuman level of mastery or a subpar level of depth. Such a course, therefore, requires a different kind of pedagogical hand and a number of tough choices. At this panel workshop, area faculty with experience in the challenges of teaching "World Religions" (and analogous formulations) will help to bring clarity, flexibility, and confidence to a staple course in much of the field of religious studies.
Dov Weiss, Assistant Professor of Religion, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Catherine Benton, Associate Professor of Religion & Asian Studies, Lake Forest College
James Halstead, Associate Professor of Religion, DePaul University
Dov Weiss is currently an Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies in the Department of Religion at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He completed his PhD at the University of Chicago Divinity School as a Martin Meyer Fellow in 2011 and was the Alan M. Stroock Fellow at Harvard University’s Center for Jewish Studies in 2012.
Catherine Benton has taught courses in Buddhism, Hinduism, Chinese religious traditions, and Islam at Lake Forest College, where she has chaired programs in Islamic World Studies, Asian Studies, and Religion. She has worked in India over the last thirty years studying religious rituals in communities in Maharashtra, directing study abroad programs, and, earlier in her career, working as a field officer for UNICEF in south India.
James Halstead, OSA, has taught “Religious Worlds in Comparative Perspective” in the liberals studies program and “Religious Worlds and Ethical Perspectives” in DePaul’s Honors Program for 28 years. For twelve of those years he was also chair of the Department for Religious Studies, observing others teach the introductory course in religion.
The Craft of Teaching (CoT) is the Divinity School's program of pedagogical development for its graduate students, dedicated to preparing a new generation of accomplished educators in the field of religious studies. We bring together Divinity School faculty, current students, and an extensive alumni network of decorated teachers to share our craft and to advance critical reflection on religious studies pedagogy.