Signifying on the World Religions Paradigm

My Version of Religion 101


  • Richard Newton Elizabethtown College



Charles Long, signification, history of religion


The growing role of critical theory and postcolonial inquiry within the religious studies classroom has challenged the utility of the World Religions Paradigm. This has created a pedagogical opportunity for recreating the Religion 101 course. This essay introduces a course that uses signifying theory and the African American experience to consider "religion."


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Long, Charles H. 1971. “Perspectives for a Study of Afro-American Religion in the United States.” History of religions 11, no. 1: 54-66.

_____. 1995. Significations: Signs, Symbols, and Images in the Interpretation of Religion. Aurora, CO: The Davies Group. (Orig. pub. 1986).

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Newton, Richard. 2014. “Signifying ‘Religion’ at Elizabethtown College,” Sacred Matters: Religion Currents in Culture. Image posted September 17, 2014. Accessed July 18, 2015.

_____. 2015. “Syllabus Project: ‘Signifying Religion: an African American Worldview.” Practicum: Critical Theory, Religion, and Pedagogy. January 29. Accessed July 21, 2015.

Tite, Philip L. 2014. “Teaching Beyond the World Religions Paradigm.” Religion Bulletin: The Blogging Portal of the Bulletin for the Study of Religion. August 11. Accessed July 21, 2015. teaching-beyond-the-world-religions-paradigm/.



How to Cite

Newton, R. (2015). Signifying on the World Religions Paradigm: My Version of Religion 101. Bulletin for the Study of Religion, 44(3), 35–37.



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