University-Wide Doctoral Seminar: Reason, Unreason and Nature in Religion

Course Description: 

RELI 6002 CEU University-Wide Doctoral Seminar: Reason, Unreason and Nature in Religion
Instructor: Aziz Al-Azmeh (Department of History and Center for Religious Studies)
Host Department: Center for Religious Studies
Cross listed: History, Philosophy, Sociology, Cognitive Sciences
Credits: 2 credits
Status: Elective; Mandatory for PhD Advanced Certificate in Religious Studies

Term: Winter 2017
Dates: January 9 – March 31, 2017
Times:  Thursdays, 15:30-17:10
Location: 12 January: N15, 012; all other dates: Nador 11, 004

This seminar features external and internal speakers undertaking current research on issues relevant to one or more of the themes arising from the topic of the seminar and cross-disciplinary in outlook. Each session will consist of a 45-minute talk followed by a discussion, in which students are expected to participate actively. Each session will be accompanied by a short bibliography provided in advance by the speaker. It contains readings related to the theme treated and scholarship on the theme, which all participants are expected to prepare for beforehand. In addition, there is a general bibliography to which participants are advised to pay attention before the seminar begins and throughout its proceedings. 

Learning Outcomes: 

Guided by the presentations made and readings assigned, students are expected to emerge from this seminar with a concrete idea of how a specific set of analytical research problems and empirical phenomena pertaining to the themes of religion, reason and nature might be approached from a multiplicity of disciplinary angles. Those angles covered by the seminar pertain to philosophy, social sciences, cognitive science and history. These outcomes will be reflected in the criteria used for assessing the students’ end-of-course submission as sketched above.


Students taking this course for credit will be assessed on the basis of a submission featuring the design of a research proposal on a specific topic arising from at least one of the seminar sessions and agreed with the instructors at an early stage of the seminar. This proposal is intended to demonstrate the capacity to design research, elaborate a research question, and construct a research object, with reference to relevant scholarship. It is also intended to demonstrate the student’s continuous engagement, attentiveness and alertness as a seminar participant. Attendance to all sessions is mandatory. Absentees will be expected to request permission and to provide make-up material for each session missed.


Doctoral Course; Open to doctoral students from across the university, for grade or audit; compulsory for PhD students registered for the CEU Advanced Certificate in Religious Studies. MA students may take this course with special permission from the instructors for grade or audit.