What is religion? What are the stakes involved in defining religion, and how do we approach religion from an academic perspective? These are the central questions asked in Vanderbilt’s RLST 1010 “Encountering Religious Diversity” class. In this class, we embark on an exploration of some historical developments and living traditions associated with Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism.
A central component of this course is encountering and engaging religious diversity here in Nashville. The 2019-2020 students are creating self-guided tours of religious sites in Nashville. In groups of 3-4, students researched different neighborhoods in Nashville and created a tour of religious sites in that area. Through this assignment, we learned that religious diversity is not something “out there” in the world, but here in Nashville and the Vanderbilt community.