RD103: CONTEMPORARY BELIEF & PRACTICE – SELECTED TOPICS 1 (Hamilton)
Last Offered: 2019 Term 3.
Currently Offered: 2021 Term 1. Class meets on Friday mornings from 11:00am-1:00pm. Eight consecutive sessions per Term. First class meets on Friday 19 February and the last class meets on Friday 9 April 2021.
Location: Hamilton, or on-line distance learning.
The course, part of our Discovering Religious Diversity series, focuses on a comparative examination of the contemporary values and practices of the major world religions, and involves a critical exploration of lifecycle rituals and beliefs, from birth to death, food and clothing preferences, festivals and other activities associated with what religions do.
Throughout the RD103 & RD104 courses, we look at a wide variety of selected topics in the contemporary practice of religion, focusing on a different topic during each class. In each session we cover how the different faith traditions approach the particular topic of the evening. Structuring discussions in this way allows us to focus on the numerous similarities between the major world religions rather than on any perceived differences.
During this Term the following topics are covered:
Week 1: Image and Iconography; Week 2: Sacred Time: Cosmology & Creation; Week 3: Sacred Time: Calendars, Holy Days & Festivals; Week 4: Sacred Spaces; Week 5: Prayer and Worship; Week 6: Food and Ritual; Week 7: Sacred Clothing; and Week 8: Sacred Music.
This course is followed by RD104, offered in 2021 Term 2 (“Contemporary Belief & practice: Selected Topics 2”), beginning 14 May 2021, which looks at 8 additional topics in the subsequent Term: Week 1: Rites of Passage: Birth and Coming of Age Ceremonies; Week 2: Rites of Passage: Marriage; Week 3: Asceticism, Monasticism and Renunciation; Week 4: Sacred Journeys and Pilgrimage; Week 5: Going Beyond: Esoteric Traditions & Mystical Experiences; Week 6: Ethical Ideologies; Week 7: Rites of Passage: Death and Bereavement; Week 8: Interfaith Perspectives on the Golden Rule.
Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for this course.
Distance Learning: This course has distance-learning options for those unable to attend the live class sessions in Hamilton. Students have three options for attending our courses once they have registered:
- attend in-person classes in our Hamilton classrooms at the regularly scheduled day and time,
- attend our live on-line classroom sessions via Zoom at the regular scheduled day and time,
- watch the live-recorded class sessions at your leisure, at a time, day and place more suited to your schedule.
These options can be mixed and matched throughout the course to suit your own availability and location.
All of our Religious Diversity courses are taught by Todd Nachowitz, PhD. Todd was previously a lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Waikato where he taught introductory courses on Comparative Religion; Religious Fundamentalism, Extremism and Terrorism; Religion in Secular Society; and Islam.
Todd has a Masters Degree in Development Anthropology from Syracuse University in upstate New York (1991) and a PhD from the University of Waikato (2015) in Political Science and Public Policy where he completed his thesis on diversity governance and the Indian diaspora in New Zealand.
Prior to settling in New Zealand in 1995, Todd lived and worked in the United States, India, Pakistan and Nepal. He spent 11 years in South Asia as the Academic Director for university study-abroad programmes in Varanasi, India (for the University of Wisconsin-Madison); Lahore, Pakistan (for the University of California-Berkeley); and Kathmandu, Nepal (for School for International Training, based in Brattleboro, Vermont, USA) that focused on language, culture and religion. Todd speaks Hindu and Urdu, and is a specialist in comparative world religions and the history, religions, languages and cultures of South Asia. He also currently teaches all of our Hindi and Urdu language courses at EarthDiverse.
Todd’s most recent research and publications involve religious diversity, the Indian diaspora, and the history and development of multiculturalism in New Zealand. He was a founding Trustee and former Centre Coordinator of the Religious Diversity Centre, based in Auckland, and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Waikato Interfaith Council. Todd is also the Founder and Executive Director of EarthDiverse.
In addition to our in-person classes in Hamilton, our Religious Diversity courses offer distance learning options for those unable to attend classes in-person. Live-streamed Hamilton classes are available via free Zoom software for those living outside the Waikato. Live-streaming allows you to participate fully in your own learning, ask questions of the instructor and participate fully in the same way as if you were in the physical classroom.
Those unable to attend the scheduled date and time of the actual class sessions, or those who need to miss a class or two due to previous engagements or unexpected illness, can watch any or all of the live-recorded video sessions on their computers, laptops, tablets or mobile devices and study at their own pace and in their own time.
Detailed instructions on how to access our distance learning components will be sent after completing your registration. There are no additional fees for this service. However, distance learners will need access to a desktop or laptop computer with a good quality web-camera (tablet devices and mobile phones can also access our live-streamed classes), a built-in microphone (most modern laptops have built-in microphones) or a headset with a microphone. You will also need to download and install the free Zoom software on your computer or device. Those accessing the video recordings will be able to do so with a simple web browser on any device.
- All classes are taught from an objective point of view. These are classes about religion and religious behavior, taught from an anthropological point of view, and are designed for participants to get a greater understanding of the depth and scope of the diversity that exists within the world’s various faith and belief traditions.
- Detailed Syllabi are available at the start of each Term.
- Any Term can be taken independently of the others, and there are no prerequisites for any of the Term courses.
- All classes encourage questions and group discussion. There are no assignments, required readings, quizzes, tests or exams.
- PDF copies of each class presentation are emailed to all participants the next day so that you are free to focus on class content rather than taking notes. You are most welcome to come, sit back, relax, take part in and enjoy the discussions!
- Course fees include a short tea/coffee/snack break in the middle of each session.
- There are no refunds for missed classes.
- Guests of registered participants are welcome to attend a single class at no charge.
- Certificates of Completion for any particular Term Course or Series are available for Professional Development purposes upon request at the end of each Term or Series.
Cost per person per Term (8 classes):
- Waged: $105 (includes online registration fee)
- Unwaged (unemployed, students, seniors): $85 (includes online registration fee)
Prices for Waged and Unwaged registrants remain the same regardless of your chosen method for accessing our courses. This means that you have the option to mix and match access between attending our regularly-scheduled live class sessions in our Hamilton classrooms, accessing our live class sessions on-line via Zoom at the regularly scheduled class meeting time (no matter where you are located), or watching the video-recorded sessions anywhere at a time and date of your choosing. This allows you to study at your own pace and in your own time.
Once registered, you have three choices for attending your course:
- attend our in-person class sessions in our Hamilton classrooms,
- Zoom in to our live classroom sessions and participate in discussions,
- access the live-recorded class sessions each week. This allows you to register for an entire course, even though the scheduled class session day/time may not be suitable to your schedule. You may also use this option to watch any recorded session for review, or in case you may miss a class session due to prior engagement, being away, or due to illness. This allows you to catch up with any “missed” sessions at a more suitable time.
Once registered, you will receive detailed instructions on how to access our courses via either of the distance-learning options, i.e. live access via Zoom, or watching the video-recorded sessions.
LOCATION: This Religious Diversity course is held at Artmakers Trust, Norris Ward Park Arts Centre, 2 Seddon Road, Hamilton, located on the corner of Ward Street and Seddon Road in downtown Hamilton. The carpark entrance is off Seddon Road at the back of Norris Ward Park. Our classrooms are immediately to the left of the Waikato Society of Potters studio and to the right of the Community Men’s Shed. There is plenty of free parking available in the carpark just outside the classroom. Bikes are also welcomed!
DISTANCE LEARNING: You get to choose your location when you Zoom in to our live classroom sessions, or access our classes at your leisure and at a time and day of your choosing by watching the video recorded sessions from each class. This allows you to study at your own pace.