Credit: Natalin Karina Ip

Course Highlight

Students learn about religion through experiential learning outside the classroom

May 14, 2019
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Students of the spring 2019 cohort of HUM 130 had the opportunity to learn beyond the classroom. The course was led by Department of Humanities sessional instructor, Dr. Jason Brown.

HUM 130: Introduction to Religious Studies is offered by the Department of Humanities and the course is open to students from all programs. HUM 130 is a great elective option that fulfills the Breadth-Humanities (B-Hum) requirement—not only do you increase your awareness of the world's diverse religious and spiritual traditions, you also develop critical thinking and communication skills through writing and assessment. 

HUM 130 is both an introduction to the study of religion, and survey of the world’s major religious and spiritual traditions such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism. Through readings, discussion and engaged activities such as field visits, the course explores the varieties of religious life, in addition to the various methodologies used to study religion. 

For the full course outline and details on the next course availability, please visit the Academic Calendar: www.sfu.ca/students/calendar/courses/hum/130.

Spring 2019 student testimonials

Max Gross
BFA, Film

I am grateful to have had HUM 130 as a motivating force to attend a Muslim prayer service which had always intrigued me. I chose the Ajyal Islamic Center in International Village as my friend is a regular practitioner. Although I was nervous, I felt very welcome in the space and was constantly tended to for my entire stay and given a huge container of food on my way out. Considering tensions, whether real or perceived, that can exist between Muslim communities and western power structures, I was grateful for the opportunity to break that segregation for a moment. It was only two weeks before the terrible tragedy that occurred in New Zealand. 

I think that having these field trips as a graded component of HUM 130 is an excellent part of the course and I am happy to know future participants will also have this opportunity.

Natalin Karina Ip 
BA, Psychology 

HUM 130 peaked my interested not because it was an elective course but because I felt like if I could understand religion from an objective standpoint, then I would be able to better understand why a large majority of humans are drawn to choosing a life that involves religion. HUM 130 with Dr. Jason Brown showed me that religion can be explored in a very open way and in such a way that allows you to discover religion for yourself, not necessarily within the guidelines that other influences can place upon you.

The best part about the field trips to a religious place of your choice was the fact that in order to learn about the religion, you had to get out of your comfort zone and talk to people who you normally would not have the chance to talk to and in turn, be able to reflect on the situation at hand and any "feelings" or "energy" you may have experienced when you're knee-deep in a religious experience.

I would recommend this course to anyone who is looking to open their minds and learn about what religion "is" and what the different religions are founded on. The course itself was extremely eye-opening and tutorial discussions were always really thought-provoking!

William Newberry 
BSc, Physics (Hon) 

I would recommend this course to any fellow sciences student looking for a Humanities Breadth (B-Hum) course. Though I don't think this course has changed my opinion of humanities, it did make me more open to taking courses like it in future. I've never been confidant in my writing, but this course showed me that I'm better than I thought. 

I attended a Buddhist service at the International Buddhist Society of Richmond as part of an assignment. It was my first experience of any Buddhist service. Having always wanted to try meditation, I was excited to learn how to do so. The temple was beautiful, and I was shocked that something like it had been sitting there unbeknownst to me the whole time I'd been living in Vancouver.

This assignment provided the push that I needed to go and see this beautiful temple, as I likely would not have done so otherwise. The experience was unique, and one I will not soon forget. I entered with my understanding of Buddhism coming only from media and studying, so seeing their practices first hand provided a completely new perspective. My favourite part was the chanting and cirumambulating around statues of their deities. It felt as though I was a part of something very special to them, and I am grateful to them for allowing me to join in their practice. It was a welcome break from sciences, as it was an excuse to put down the books to just sit, appreciate, and listen.