This course investigates the global geography of the world's three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, interrogating why these traditions emerged in particular places and how they dispersed across the globe. Students will gain basic map reading skills and hands-on experience using a web-based geographic information system (GIS) as a tool both for researching religious traditions and presenting knowledge to others. This course emphasizes the role of political and economic geography on religious beliefs and practices in different regions, historically and today, using case studies from southwest Asia and Europe. In addition to mapping, geographic topics include the interplay between religious traditions and the natural environment, concepts of sacred place and space, and geographic trends in secularization.
- Use geographic concepts to explore major traditions within Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, including geographic hearths, methods of dispersion, scale, concepts of sacred space, and relationship to non-human nature.
- Critically read maps and analyze the ways maps can both illuminate and distort our perception of social phenomena like religion
- Apply their knowledge of geographic concepts and map analysis to contemporary religious situations
- Use a web-based GIS to research religious traditions
- Design map-based presentations to communicate their research on a religious tradition
Minnesota Transfer Curriculum
- Employ the methods and data that historians and social and behavioral scientists use to investigate the human condition.
- Examine social institutions and processes across a range of historical periods and cultures.
- Use and critique alternative explanatory systems or theories.
- Develop and communicate alternative explanations or solutions for contemporary social issues.
- Describe and analyze political, economic, and cultural elements which influence relations of states and societies in their historical and contemporary dimensions.
- Demonstrate knowledge of cultural, social, religious and linguistic differences.
- Analyze specific international problems, illustrating the cultural, economic, and political differences that affect their solution.
- Understand the role of a world citizen and the responsibility world citizens share for their common global future.