Course Overview

From my older site (active until Feb. 12, 2014):

Religious Diversity: 
The Muncie Ethnographic Project

“Ethnography of Religion” is an upper-level Religious Studies course at Ball State University taught by Dr. Jeffrey M Brackett. Students in the class conduct ethnographic field research on a local religious community. The students enrolled in the Fall, 2010 course, contributed to this website. (Note: I taught it again in the Fall, 2013; the majority of students conducted field research on “Muslim identities in Muncie.

The third group of students (Fall 2010) to enroll in “Ethnography of Religion” contributed a sample of their work to this website. They also added a new twist to the “normal” fieldwork activities by filming many of their interviews. This added visual component proved itself challenging and rewarding—it was difficult to work through the logistics, yet enabled students to reflect differently on their research. Going forward, future students will contribute new materials about the religious diversity one encounters in and around Muncie, Indiana.

The Students
 were from various departments, including Anthropology, English, History, Political Science, Religious Studies, Telecommunication Studies, Speech Pathology, and Psychology.

The Community Partners
Ones not listed yet, but from previous courses: Buddhists (Zen, Tibetan, and Theravada), Quakers, Mormons, Pentecostal Megachurch, and two other Roman Catholic communities.

What Some Former Students Say

BEST COURSE AT BSU: “As for my experience with the course: I consider it to be the defining course in the Religious Studies major … It was the course I most looked forward to every day and I had experiences that I continue to treasure and draw on to this day. Might sound cheesy, but the course really went above and beyond any other course I had at BSU.” – Trent (2008)

PRACTICAL: “As I pursue my professional licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist, I am faced with the same experience of respectfully learning from persons with vastly different backgrounds and belief systems from my own on a daily basis. Given that relating with others is a fundamental part of any life pursuit be it study, job, or otherwise, I could not be more thankful for the perspective gained in Professor Brackett’s course.” – Tim (2008)

DIFFERENT: “Ethnography of Religion is probably one of the Religious Studies department’s best kept secrets, if not THE best kept secret … You won’t know just how much you’ve learned until you’ve applied yourself to the real world, and I think that’s what makes Ethnography of Religion significantly different from other Religious Studies classes.

” – Elizabeth (2008)

NOT BY THE BOOK: “VERY helpful to have this kind of first-hand knowledge in my work now. Some things you just cant get from a book (or a Book).” – Will (2010)

LIFE CHANGING: “This class single-handedly changed my worldview, particularly in regards to culture and religion … I, also, developed an insatiable hunger for knowledge and have since acquired a master’s degree with a desire to continue to a Ph.D. This course, especially with your influence, Dr. Brackett, gave me new eyes and an invaluable sense of self-actualization for which I am eternally grateful.” – Chelsy (2008)

TEACHING OTHERS: “I’m going to teach about India in my after school class and I just realized I can show the boys portions of the video you posted!”  – Mindy (2010)

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