Alumni from our department emphasize how various skills that they developed in Religious Studies have been useful in a range of careers (e.g., on the Graduate page of this blog here, here, here, and here and through our Grad Tales events). Creative problem solving helps when planning language lessons or legal arguments. Recognizing the range of perspectives and dangers of stereotypes can aid in developing marketing strategies. Clear communication can assist in preparing a persuasive business plan or grant application. Current students similarly have discussed ways that they use skills from Religious Studies classes in courses outside our department.
Teaching the Capstone Senior Seminar this semester, I chose to heighten this discussion of relevance. Seeing these skills as widely relevant for analyzing the world around us, the seminar this year focuses on honing these skills and presenting them in accessible formats across digital platforms. Through course readings and seminar discussions, we are looking at various aspects of social theory, and we are applying these analytical approaches to topics well beyond what is commonly defined as religion. Our readings focus on marginalized communities through the works of scholars like Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Rogers Brubaker, and Gyanendra Pandey. At the same time, we are providing examples of the relevance of these skills, asking questions and presenting analysis of current events and public discourse on a variety of platforms. This week and next, we are focusing on Twitter, then we will shift to Tumblr, Facebook, and our own course blog. As final projects, groups will be developing significant digital projects in formats of their own choosing. Thus, students gain both additional experience applying these analytical skills broadly and communicating their analyses beyond the confines of academia. Whether they head into private sector jobs, internships, non-profit employment, or graduate school, they will have a variety of skills in analysis, broad communication, and digital formats through their degree in Religious Studies.
So, follow us on Twitter (@RELephantUA) now.
We will develop our presence on Tumblr in a few weeks (http://RELephantUA.tumblr.com), then Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/RELephantUA/), and later our RELephantUA website (http://CapstoneREL.as.ua.edu). And, if you need a creative co-worker who has sharp analytical and communication skills, look for one of our majors, or any humanities major. If you also want someone who can develop a digital marketing campaign across multiple platforms, especially look at our upcoming graduates at UA.