This curriculum guide is designed to explore the diverse ways in which religion has influenced the course of American history at the national, state, and local levels. The guide provides sample curriculum materials that may be used at different grade levels.
Although the curriculum focuses particularly on Indiana and Indianapolis, teachers in other locations may adapt it to their own communities. The examples given can serve as a guide to exploring the identified themes in other states and communities. Teachers may encourage their students to delve into local archival sources, to embark upon research projects, and to learn in depth about the histories of their own communities.
Religion as a Window on Culture presents concepts common to most faith traditions, affording the user a glimpse into many different religious practices. The concepts are sacred space, sacred ritual, sacred time, sacred memory, sacred texts, and sacred journey. Each concept or theme is addressed in a section of the curriculum. In this way, users gain a greater understanding and appreciation for other faith traditions. Furthermore, seeing what is done in other religions may help the user to better understand their own traditions.
Researchers from The Polis Center at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis joined with a team of high school students from Park Tudor School to document the roles religion can play in the life of a community. We focused on the Broad Ripple area, an affluent yet diverse neighborhood of well-kept homes and hideaway shops on Indianapolis’ north side near our school.
Religion and Public Life is an eleven-part video series developed for congregational, civic, human service, and classroom audiences focusing on the role of religion in public life.
Watch it here.