Religion and Globalization offers a different kind of introduction to the study of the world’s major religious traditions. Rather than approaching each religion as an independent tradition that developed in a vacuum, this course looks at the ways that religions develop in conversation with one another. It has always been the case that religions are best understood as being related to one another in geographic families, as with the Dharmic traditions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism) or the Abrahamic traditions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). But close dialogue between traditions is not an artifact of ancient history: exchange, convergence, and hybridization still characterize the way religions interact in the modern era. As people and cultures move across the globe, as ideas are mobilized and transported by media technology, and as the market economy stimulates religious innovation, religions find themselves in contact in new and profound ways. Such forms of contact are the focus of Religion and Globalization, which explores these questions by investigating how religion is lived and experienced in today’s pluralistic, multicultural world. The aim of this course is to provide students with both basic knowledge about specific traditions and to equip them with tools for thinking about how they operate in our global age.
Evan Berry is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion at American University and Co-Director of the Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs master's program. His research interests focus on ideas of nature in modern western culture, particularly the religious roots of contemporary environmental discourse. Trained in both social scientific and theoretical methodologies, his current scholarship includes an ethnographic study of intentional communities in the Pacific Northwest, a critique of the philosophical assumptions of climate change ethics, and a book project on the role of religious language in the birth of the American environmental movement.
PhD, Religious Studies, University of California Santa Barbara
MA Religious Studies, University of California Santa Barbara
BA, Religion, The Colorado College