Spring 2022 - HUM 130 D900

Introduction to Religious Studies (3)

Class Number: 7202

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    SRYC 2710, Surrey



An introduction to concepts central to the academic study of religion exploring various relevant methodologies. Provides a framework for understanding the many ways in which humans experience the phenomenon of the sacred through symbol, ritual, doctrine and experience in a variety of religious traditions and cultures. Students who have taken HUM 230 prior to 2007 may not take this course for further credit. Breadth-Humanities.


Humanities 130 introduces Religious Studies, a field which encompasses everything from indigenous religions to Islam to Buddhism. Following Adam Yuet Chau, religion can be defined as a cultural phenomenon dealing with the metaphysical aspects of life, encompassing five modalities: scripture, personal growth, ritual behaviour, magical behaviour, and relations with supernatural being(s), and expressed through four key areas: belief, narrative, behaviour, and philosophy.

More simply, religion is the human connection with the sacred, an attempt to reach the divine by any and every means. Some traditions send their shamans out to negotiate with the gods; others call the gods right down into human bodies through possession. Still others rely on intermediary saints or spirits or holy texts in sacred languages. All religions have access to the divine, whatever that might mean in context.

This course contextualizes myth and ritual, belief and behaviour, by exploring a variety of world religions, most of which are also practiced here in British Columbia. In addition to the book-based monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, we will explore major world religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism as well as ancient religions, the less well-known traditions of the Afro-Caribbean diaspora, and emerging religions such as Neopaganism.


  • Reading Quizzes (5x6% each) 30%
  • Religious Event Thick Description 10%
  • New Religion Presentation 10%
  • New Religion Presentation write up 15%
  • Religion and Modernity Paper 25%
  • Participation 10%



Narayan, Kocharethi: The Araya Woman (Oxford U Press: ISBN 978-0198079880)

Partridge & Dowley, Introduction to World Religions, Third Edition (Fortress Press: ISBN 9781506445946)

Additional short texts will be available online

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.