Teaching Race & Religion: Moving the African American Religious Course Online

Professional Bio:

Dr. Julius H. Bailey is a Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Redlands. He received a B.A. in Religious Studies from Occidental College and a M.A. and Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research interests include African American religious history and new religious movements. He teaches courses on varied aspects of religion. He has written two books, Race Patriotism: Protest and Print Culture in the African Methodist Episcopal Church (University of Tennessee Press, 2012) and Around the Family Altar: Domesticity in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, 1865-1900 (University Press of Florida, 2005) as well as several articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries. He has also given lectures on African mythology entitled, "The Great Mythologies of the World: Africa," produced by the Great Courses DVD series.

Project Summary:

My project seeks to examine the differences in the ways students talk about and engage issues of race in the traditional classroom as compared to an online learning environment. I will be moving two weeks of my African American Religions and Spirituality course online during the spring 2016 semester. The topic during those two weeks will be black new religious movements that can be some of the more challenging groups to have discussions about. In some cases, the groups espouse black superiority, retribution to white Americans for past mistreatment, some advocate violence, etc. The goal for those two weeks will be to shift the focus from an examination of the individual groups to the broader context within which they emerged. To do so, I will create online lectures, mapping exercises, online asynchronous and synchronous class discussions, and have the students create projects focused on exploring and applying spatial thinking when considering the history, beliefs, and practices of the various religious communities.