Religion and Technology Undergrad Syllabus

December 20th, 2010 by acjohner

ANTH 422

Spring 2014

RELIGION AND TECHNOLOGY

University of California in Los Angeles, Department of Anthropology

Class meeting time and place: Tuesday, 9:30-11:00 a.m., 402 Madison Hall

Professor AC Johner

Office Hours: Tuesdays, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Skype name: acjohner

Office number: (323) 412-4545

Email addresses:   HYPERLINK “mailto:acjohner@gmail.com” acjohner@gmail.com

 

Department Staff Offices: 408 Madison Hall

Department Head: Peter Andrews (302 Madison Hall)

 

Course Description:

In this course we will discuss the theoretical perspectives of man’s relationship to technology, focusing on how it has and will continue to alter religion and spiritual thinking. We will be reading the works of Erik Davis, the author of Techngnosis, and my own book Electronic Revival. Through both of these works, as well as lectures and discussions in class, we will thoroughly investigate the sacred and technology.

Course Materials:

 

Davis, Erik. TechGnosis: Myth, Magic & Mysticism in the Age of Information. Five Star, 2005. 372.

Edwards Jr., Mark U. “The Pearly Gates Of Cyberspace.” Christian Century 117.36 (2000): 1327.

 

Johner, Andrew. “Electronic Revival: Religion, Technology and the Rise of Electronic Dance Music. North Atlantic Books, San Francisco (in press).

REQUIREMENTS:

(1) You are expected to attend every class and participate in class discussions.  Attendance and participation will make up 25% of your overall grade.

(2) You will take two tests in this course, once at mid-term, and the other the final day of class.  Each test is worth 15% of your total grade.

(3) You will have several writing assignments in this course.  Collectively these assignments will make up 20% of your overall grade.

(4) You will be assigned one 10 page paper, which will be due at the end of the course.  This paper will make-up the other 25% of your grade.

 

WEEKLY OUTLINE:

Week One:

Read Chapter 1 of Techgnosis.

In class we will discuss man’s relationship with technology, as well as Davis’s Techgnosis.

At the end of the class we will have Erik Davis himself Skype in for a short question and answer discussion with the class.

Week Two:

Read Mark Edward’s “The Pearly Gates of Cyberspace.”

In class we will discuss the age of information, the Internet, and how it has informed and transformed religions.

Week Three:

 

In class we will discuss the debate between science and religion and the effect on culture.

Due: 300 words on an article of your choice about the internet’s influence on religion.

Week Four:

Read Chapter 7 of Techgnosis.

In class we will discus what is secularism, and the secularization of society.

Due: 300 word essay on the definition of secularism and what science and technology have to do with it.

Week Five:

Read Chapter 8 of Techgnosis.

In class we will begin a discussion about technology and its influence on mythologies, both historically and contemporarily.

Due: Choose your favorite science fiction novel, or film, that in some way deals with religion, or spirituality. (an example would be the Force in Star Wars) Come to class prepared to give a 5 minute talk about the story and the religious elements depicted within it.

Week Six

Read Chapters 9 and 10 of Techgnosis.

In class we will continue our discussion about technology and myth.

Due: All remaining students who did not present last week will present this week.

Test:  Short 20 minute multiple choice test that will act as our midterm.

Week Seven

Read first three chapters of AC Johner’s “Electronic Revival: Religion, Technology and the Rise of Electronic Dance Music. North Atlantic Books, San Francisco.

In class we will watch the documentary film “Electronic Awakening.”

Week Eight

Read chapters 4-7 of AC Johner’s “Electronic Revival: Religion, Technology and the Rise of Electronic Dance Music. North Atlantic Books, San Francisco.

In class we will discuss the creation of new religious movements inspired by technology.

Due: Chose a new religious movement that has utilized technology to achieve success (such as scientology, or modern evangelism) come to class with a 200 word essay which you will read in class.

Week Nine

Read chapters 4-7 of AC Johner’s “Electronic Revival: Religion, Technology and the Rise of Electronic Dance Music. North Atlantic Books, San Francisco.

At the end of class we will all discuss the topic of transhumanism and how it may alter our spirituality.

Review your papers

Week Ten

Read Bishop, Jeffrey P. “Transhumanism, Metaphysics, And The Posthuman God.” Journal Of Medicine & Philosophy 35.6 (2010): 700-720.

In class we will finish our discussion on transhumanism.

Final Paper’s Due Next Week

Final Week

Final Test

Due: Final Papers

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