Despite the predictions of many Western academics in the 20th century, religion and religious belief are thriving in the 21st century both in traditional and in new and innovative ways. Between 4 and 5 billion of the world's inhabitants subscribe to one religion or another, and in the so-called 'secular' West, we are seeing a revival of interest in religion and its role in public life. In the Australian context, the 'face' of religion has changed from a largely Christian one in the early 20th century, to a diverse landscape featuring all of the major world religions as well as creative hybrids and syntheses of these and other religious beliefs, including the new phenomenon of individuals identifying as 'spiritual but not religious'. Furthermore, a number of the 21st century's most important thinkers have been heralding a new age for theology as the discipline charged with the task of critically analysing, interpreting and evaluating these diverse and complex phenomena and suggesting creative and constructive ways forward. In this course, students will use the interdisciplinary study of theology to draw on the best insights from the social sciences, philosophy, and other related studies to do just this, with special attention to new developments in the field.
Not currently offered.
On successful completion of the course students will be able to:
1. Utilise the methodological tools of theology and its allied disciplines to analyse the 21st century's religious landscape in one or more specific contexts.
2. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the work of a number of significant thinkers within 21st century theology and its allied disciplines.
3. Identify complex issues and problems associated with religion in the 21st century, and use theological skills to propose creative responses to these.
Within the course, students will study in depth the following topics:
- The 'new visibility' of religion in the 21st century, including religious adherence, popular culture, politics, ethics and philosophy
- Key thinkers in religion and theology in the current context, including 20th century thinkers who underpin much scholarship today and more recent prominent 21st century thinkers who are establishing the groundwork for scholarship in religion and theology going forward.
- The role of theology in interpreting and contributing to the current context
Essay: Essay 1
Essay: Essay 2
Online Learning Activity: Wiki Teamwork Task, Forums