REL 490.001

Capstone Senior Seminar: AI in Religious Studies

W | 3:30 - 5:50

MA 210

View Online Syllabus

What are the applied intersections of religious studies and research on artificial intelligence? Our class will first review at how religious studies, as a discipline, understands the concept “data.” What is the history of “data” in religious studies? We will learn the debates about “data” in the study of religion. We will use the required textbook to learn that field’s key topics and ideas. Our approach to “artificial intelligence” will be through the applied aspects of computer sciences and the digital humanities. There, we will find that the conception and application of “data” are often something different than religious studies. Moreover, an investigation of how “artificial intelligence” is understood will uncover some new approaches to scholarly work with so-called religious data. Overall, the aim of this course is to work out how this topical intersection is useful to critically rework research and approaches in the study of religion. Our class will run more like a seminar, with a heavy emphasis upon discussion and collaboration. If our class is interested, I hope we will organize our course around a collaborative research project using computational approaches to our topic.

The course is required of all graduating REL majors; contact the main office to obtain a permit. If you are not an REL major, then please see my faculty page and send me an email. We can then discuss your interests and our options.

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Nathan R. B. Loewen

  • Office hours: 

    Please contact me by email or telephone to arrange an appointment.

  • (205) 348-5271
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Many of our readings will be hosted online.

Dorough Smith, Leslie
Constructing "Data" in Religious Studies
Equinox, 2019

Books are available at the SUPe Store and online through vendors such as