REL 1103-01 Introduction to Religion Spring Semester, 2017
Focus Paper-I Instructions Dr. William M. Kallfelz, Assigned Monday, February 6th 2017—due1 Monday, March 6th
As far as the constraints go, the final submission should be prepared in double- space in standard format (either Times New Roman or Times or equivalent font, no smaller than 11 pt font and no larger than 12 pt. font). Please include title of paper, your name, and date on the header (a separate title page is not necessary), pagination (page numbering), and list of references at the end of the paper or in a separate sheet. Please use MLA conventions (or equivalent) in terms of citation conventions (see footnote 4 below for more details).
There are no requirements for absolute page length of the body of the paper, but try to keep the word count (for the body of the paper, not including title and references) between 800-1,000.2 Remember, however, that you’ll be graded for writing quality, not writing quantity. Necessary conditions for writing quality include (but aren’t limited to): precision, clarity, explanatory depth and coherence, etc.
As far as any expository parts of the paper go, on account of the constraints on length, though you’re welcome to paraphrase the author(/s) points, please try to keep the number of direct quotes to a minimum. If, however, you encounter a “zinger” passage3 that you feel you have to directly cite/quote from, make sure you explain the quote’s significance in a succinct sentence or two.4 Keep in mind, however, that much of your paper may consist in reflection, not exposition—so (for instance) it’s fine to use first-person. When engaging in reflective writing, it’s best to allow yourself time to mull over whichever topic you have chosen, to allow some coherent thoughts to emerge—in that regard, try to think about why that particular topic may have captured your interest and what sorts of personal experiences you may have had which you feel resonate (and which you’re welcome to share).
1 Late policy: I subtract one letter grade for every day it’s late (including weekends). So if you hand it in Tuesday (March 7th) that will cost you one letter grade penalty (i.e., an otherwise “A” paper will be graded as a “B”, etc.) Obviously (at no penalty) you are welcome, if you wish, to hand in your paper earlier.
If that feature isn’t working, you may send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Also, every submission is through SafeAssign (whether as a scanned hardcopy or otherwise) and you do not need to create an account for yourself, if you don’t have one already (I’ll create one on your
behalf in that case).
2 For TNR font, 12 pts, double-spaced, this translates to approximately 3 to 4 pages. For more information, see: http://www.wordstopages.com/
3 If it’s more than two sentences, you should indent and single-space.
4 Also, please use MLA conventions for all citations. For more information, please see: www.mla.org/style_faq If you cite or paraphrase from one of my slides from lecture, however, you can be informal (I.e. a convention like “(Kallfelz lecture __ )” is sufficient.
Please upload Focus paper 1 using the Assignment feature
(Focus Paper 1 content area) in BbL
I assume no responsibility for
missing attachments and/or corrupted files (late penalties will still apply.
one topic only
(i.e. one of the elements in the outline below, i.e. I.b)
List of Topics: Please just choose
or II.c) , etc.) from the following list below (the topics are arranged in terms of categories covered in the course, up through February 6th). If you have your own original topic you’d like to write about instead, please consult with me (preferably during office hours—not by email) in advance (no later than one week before it’s due, i.e.
no later than February 27th ).
I. Religion and Phenomenology (January 9th – 23rd)
- a.) Thought Experiment 3 and Thought Experiment 4 (C & K, 2013, p. 53). In describing succinctly the sacred persons you have observed in your own life, as well as the sacred places in your life and community, make sure you specify in particular all of the four essential aspects of Sacred Reality. Reserve a paragraph or two to reflect upon, in your own words, what effect(s) these people or places had on you and what you would has impacted your inner spiritual life.
- b.) Imagine yourself to be from a culture very different from our own—for instance, suppose you grew up in a small, tribal per-literate community that practices shamanism and animism, like (for instance, an early Native American tribe). Suppose you (for the first time in your life) make contact with a missionary, who takes you to his/her church, and imagine yourself having a dialogue with the missionary afterward. Use the phenomenological method5 to try to find common ground with what you think s/he is trying to communicate to you. Note that in your tradition, all you are familiar with are the particular elements of your culture—whether they include belief in nature spirits, or (in in case of the Sioux) Wakantanka (Great Spirit) and White Bison Spirit Woman (Wakantanka’s representative sent to deliver the sacred pipe to the tribal elders). Assume you know nothing of the beliefs and practices of the Christian religion of the missionary.
- c.) Pick a particular poem (preferably short, like a Japanese Haiku) or a passage in the Bible (if you chose the latter, mention which edition you are using)—again preferably short (several sentences). Briefly comment on the poem (or verse’s) literal, allegorical, moral, and (possibly) anagogical meanings (recall JCL, 2009, pp. 117-120).6 Also reserve several paragraphs’ worth on reflection on the poem’s/passage’s personal and spiritual significance to you, and how you believe or interpret its symbolic imagery as awakening special forms of states of religious consciousness, or self-transcendence.7
5 As discussed, for instance, in C & K (2013), pp. 3-10, or also, in greater depth in chapters 3 and 4 (JCL, 2009)
6 In particular, many of the poems by W.B. Yeates, as well as by T. S. Eliot, make references to apocalyptic and eschatological imagery.
7 You may find chapters 3, 4 of JCL (2009), pp. 37-73 to be useful guides here.