Teaching Resources

The following is a list of articles, books, and web-based resources intended to stimulate, challenge, and encourage reflection on pedagogical aims and practices within the discipline of Religious Studies.

AAR Teaching Religious Studies Series (published by Oxford University Press).  Volumes in this series contain essays that locate the topic within its historical context and within the academic study of religion, as well as provide discussions of related pedagogical issues.  Some titles presently available include:

  • Teaching Religion and Violence, Brian Pennington, ed. 
  • Teaching Undergraduate Research in Religious Studies, Rebecca Todd Peters and Bernadette McNary-Zak, eds. 
  • Teaching Jung, Kelly Bulkeley and Clodagh Weldon, eds. 
  • Teaching Mysticism, William Parsons, ed. 
  • Teaching Religion and Film, Gregory J. Watkins, ed. 
  • Teaching Death and Dying, Christopher M. Moreman, ed.
  • Teaching the Daode Jing, Gary D. DeAngelis and Frisina, Warren G., eds. 
  • Teaching Confucianism, Jeffrey L. Richey, ed. 
  • Teaching New Religious Movements, David G. Bromley, ed.
  • Teaching Religion and Healing, Linda Barnes and Ines Talamantez, eds.
  • Teaching African American Religions, Carolyn M. Jones and Trost, Theodore Louis, eds. 
  • Teaching Durkheim, Terry F. Godlove, ed. 
  • Teaching Ritual, Catherine Bell, ed.
  • Teaching Freud, Diane Jonte-Pace, ed. 
  • Teaching Islam, Brannon M. Wheeler, ed. 
  • Teaching Lévi-Strauss, Hans Penner, ed. 

Beyond the Classics?  Essays in Religious Studies and Liberal Education.  Ed. Frank E. Reynolds and Sheryl L. Burkhalter. Atlanta, 1990.

The Chicago Forum on Pedagogy and the Study of Religion.  An occasional paper published by the Martin Marty Center at the Divinity School at the University of Chicago.

Monica A. Coleman, “Transforming to Teach: Teaching Religion to Today’s Black College Students,” Teaching Theology and Religion, 12.4 (2009): 95-100.

Susan G. Henking, "The Open Secret: Dilemmas of Advocacy in the (Religious Studies) Classroom," in Advocacy in the Classroom: Propaganda versus Engagement, ed. Patricia Meyers Spacks (1996), pp. 245-259.

Gavin Hyman, “The Study of Religion and the Return of Theology.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion72 (2007): 195-219.

Journal of the American Academy of Religion 65.4 (1997).  A thematic issue on “Teaching and learning in religion and theology.”

Mark Juergensmeyer, ed., Teaching the Introductory Course in Religious Studies: A Sourcebook.  Scholars Press, 1991.  Contains essays by such figures as Robert Bellah, Jonathan Z. Smith, Ninian Smart, and Wilfred Cantwell Smith.

Russell T. McCutcheon.  “Religion, Ire, and Dangerous Things.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 72(2007): 173-193.

Martha Nussbaum, Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education.  London, 1997.  See especially chapter 8, “Socrates in the Religious University.”

Mark Roncace and Patrick Gray, eds. Teaching the Bible: Practical Strategies for Classroom Instruction. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2005.

Jonathan Z. Smith, On Teaching Religion: Essays by Jonathan Z. Smith. Oxford University Press, 2012.

Jonathan Z. Smith, “The Necessary Lie: Duplicity in the Disciplines,” http://teaching.uchicago.edu/?/ctl-archive/course-design-tutorials/assessing-and-improving/smith

Jonathan Z. Smith, “Teaching the Bible in the Context of General Education,” Teaching Theology and Religion 1.2 (1998): 73-78.

Jon R. Stone, ed. The Craft of Religious Studies.  London and New York, 1998.  A series of articles on the field of Religious Studies.

The Religion Major and Liberal Education: An AAR White Paper, 2007

http://sbl-site.org/educational/teachingbible.aspx  A resource for teaching Bible.

Teaching Theology and Religion.  A journal on pedagogy published annually in four issues by the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion.  The journal is searchable here:http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/%28ISSN%291467-9647

Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion website

The Wabash Center --- AAR Syllabi Project  A searchable collection of online course syllabi.

Walvoord, Barbara E., Teaching and Learning in College Introductory Religion Courses. Blackwell: Malden, MA, 2008.

Yearley, Lee. “Bourgeois Relativism and the Comparative Study of the Self.”  Tracing Common Themes: Comparative Courses in the Study of Religion. Eds. John B. Carman and Steven P. Hopkins.  Atlanta, 1991, pp. 165-178.  A fascinating discussion about how and why Prof. Yearley changed his course, “Varieties of Religious Thought.”


The University of Chicago's Center for Teaching and Learning offers many outstanding seminars and workshops for graduate students, in addition to its highly praised classroom consultation services.  The CTL is also developing an extensive portfolio of short teaching guides that will be available later this fall.  (Check back for updated link.)


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The Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Texas at Austin has one of the richest teaching center presences on the web, with many multimedia-enhanced learning modules on higher education pedagogy.  Their Becoming a College Teacher is an excellent place to begin.


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Stanford's Center for Teaching and Learning also boasts a extensive collection of resources in their Teaching Talk portal.


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Harvard University offers its entire Derek Bok Center Video Series on College Teaching for free viewing on its website.  Check out their other online resources, too.


POD Network

The Professional Development Network in Higher Education offers a customizable search of content from teaching centers across the web.  A very helpful service.



Faculty Focus offers a continuous stream of articles on professional development and teaching, including the popular Teacher Professor Blog.



Distributed by Richard M. Reis of Stanford University, the Tomorrow's Professor Listserv delivers faculty development "right to your inbox".  A good way to remain stimulated by new ideas.


ERIC - Institute of Education Sciences

The Education Recources Information Center is an searchable electronic library of education research sponsored by the Department of Education.

Need ideas, guidance, or inspiration?  Here are some book recommendations covering everything from course and assignment design to theories of learning.





Ken Bain. What the Best College Teachers Do. Harvard UP, 2004.

A popular companion that draws upon many years of experience in faculty development to communicate the essentials of effective college teaching.





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John C. Bean. Engaging Ideas: The Professor's Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom. 2nd Edition. Jossey-Bass, 2011.

Bean's book will measurably improve new teachers' assignment design skills and provide ample examples to stimulate readers' own ideas.





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L. Dee Fink. Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses. Jossey-Bass, 2003.

Offers one model of course design that will give the new teacher a helpful conversation partner in designing their own course.  Download here a 32-page guide based on Fink's book.




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Barbara Gross Davis. Tools for Teaching. 2nd edition. Jossey-Bass, 2009.

Along with the classic McKeachie's Teaching Tips (but more affordable), one of the better "get in and drive" teaching manuals.  Clear and well-referenced.





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Stephen Brookfield and Stephen Preskill.  Discussion as a Way of Teaching: Tools and Techniques for Democratic Classrooms.  Jossey-Bass, 2005.

New teachers will find the middle chapters on gettting and keeping a discussion going immediately useful. Readers will also want to consult what many regard as the best overall book on discussion leading, the collection of essays entitled Education for Judgment: The Artistry of Discussion Leadership (Harvard Business School Press, 1991).  




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Susan A. Ambrose, Michale W. Bridges et al. How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010.

Distills into seven principles much recent research in psychology, education, and cognitive science on how students learn. 





Click here for a longer list of recommendations from the POD Network community.