Students will study the systems of religious education (RE) in several European countries (and some non-European ones) in order to identify their underlying values, cultural assumptions, and histories. Students will compare and contrast the various systems in order to discuss the effectiveness of each education system relative to its goals and to assess the transparency of each system's values. Students will be guided to think about how one uncovers one’s own cultural assumptions about religious education, addressing the questions:
what is the purpose of religious education? what type is best? why? who/which institutions should control the content of the classes? how is religion seen in any given educational system--as a problem that divides society? as heritage? as a moral code? a resource? Are some religious traditions privileged over others? If so, why and is this desirable in education? what should religious education be in a multi-faithed society?
The class will be given in English, but Prof. Pally understands German. Students may talk and ask questions in both languages.