Criminology Please read ENTIRE attached doc. By the end of the semester, we will have traveled through a great deal of history, and we will have familiar

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Criminology Please read ENTIRE attached doc. By the end of the semester, we will have traveled through a great deal of
history, and we will have familiarized ourselves with a great many religious,
spiritual, and moral traditions. One thing that will have become clear to us is
that “religion,” however it’s understood, isn’t separate from social or political
life. A corollary truth is that social and political commitments and actions are
motivated by foundational beliefs about life’s meaning, value, and purpose.
Those foundational beliefs are often — though by no means always —
understood and expressed through traditionally religious conceptual frames
and vocabularies.

In this final assignment, you have the opportunity to creatively engage two
opposing worldviews, but putting them into conversation with one another on
a topic of social and/or political concern. There is a way in which Religious
Studies is an imaginative enterprise. To understand the foundational beliefs
(or worldviews) of another person or community, we need to bracket off our
own worldview and imagine another’s perspective. We need to approach the
world around us as if one or another set of foundational beliefs were ultimately
true, and therefore governing.

Here’s what you’ll need to submit:

4-6 pages, 11- or 12-point font, double spaced, in which you adopt, articulate,
and defend two distinct religious worldviews that we have looked at in this
course, and in which you put those worldviews into conversation with one
another on a topic of social and/or political concern. In the course of your
paper, cite at least 4 course readings, using Chicago-style footnotes.

Here’s how to do it:

You can begin in one of two ways. Begin by looking over the readings posted
to Canvas, and reviewing your own Weekly Reading Responses to recall the
traditions or issues that you found most compelling. Then, begin by choosing

either two traditions you are interested in or a social/political issue that you are
interested in.

If you begin by choosing traditions, you’ll then need to think through the
circumstances or issues where those two traditions might not see eye to eye.
Think about what they might disagree about. If, on the other hand, you begin
by focusing on a social/political issue, then you’ll need to think about how
different traditions might approach that issue in ways that lead to potential
disagreement. The goal is not to cultivate in essay form a mutual admiration
society. The goal is to creatively identify, explain, and resolve a point of actual
disagreement. A pluralist society of the sort to which America aspires does not
founder on the rocks of easy agreements. It is challenged, rather, by the
regular occurrence of authentic disputes. It is challenged by the very human
fact that foundational beliefs are relevant to how individuals and communities
navigate the social and political spheres in which those same foundational
beliefs are presumed to be irrelevant.

The options are endless. You could position a traditionalist Catholic against a
liberal, non-denominational Christian on the topic of abortion. Or, you could
set the position of Catholic Social Teaching against Evangelical prosperity
gospel, on questions of economic justice. Or, you could spin out a
conversation between a Black Baptist and a New England Congregationalist
on what racial equity entails. Or, think about the kind of conversation an
American Buddhist might have with an American Jew about rituals
surrounding death. Or, consider how an atheist and a Christian
Fundamentalist might work together to organize a winter holiday event for
public school children. Or, think about how different communities might
respond to prayer in school, or public displays of Christian symbols, or military
chaplaincy, or non-binary gender identity, or religiously affiliated politicians, or
limits upon the First Amendment….

I could go on. Whatever you decide, as you work to get your thoughts onto
paper, here are some tips:

● It might help to consider the two voices to be related in some way:
in-laws, or neighbors, or co-workers. The goal is pluralism, not an
adversarial, one-side-wins battle. An adversarial impasse is not success

● Pull at least two quotes from class readings in order to strengthen or
illustrate each of the two perspectives (for a total of four).

● You may find that some quick research of journalistic sources will help
you to clarify the social/political concerns that are more salient in today’s
America, but research is not required.

● Write the paper as a clearly articulated dialogue. You may structure it as
one would a play, with lines spoken by each side, or more
journalistically, with a narrator’s voice providing descriptive commentary
between the voices. But remember that the two voices should each be
fleshed out.

● You needn’t write a report on the traditions you adopt, but you should
include enough background information that a religiously non-literate
reader will understand the issues at play. It might be helpful to assume
that each of your characters is more or less unaware of the other’s
tradition, and needs it explained.

If you’re having trouble coming up with a set of traditions and a topic on which
they might disagree, please reach out. Communicate early and often. I am
more than happy to schedule a Zoom or a phone call with you, to get you on
track with a project you will enjoy. Here’s a rubric:

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