Dear Workshop,

On Thursday, May 3rd, we will be having a seminar on “The Craft of Teaching.”

Our special guest is Ann Taves, AM 1979, PhD 1983 (History of Christianity), Virgil Cordano, OFM, Professor of Catholic Studies and Professor of Religious Studies, University of California at Santa Barbara, and the Divinity School’s Alumna of the Year for 2012.


Time: 12:00pm, May 3, 2012

Place: Swift 208

Food: Lunch will be provided with an RSVP: please email Paul at to confirm.

Paper: Material to be covered in the seminar is available by contacting


Prof. Taves will be covering a syllabus from a class called “New Religious Movements.” I will quote a portion of the syllabus here:


Course Description: This class draws on research on new religious movements (NRMs) in religious studies, sociology, and anthropology to consider the emergence and development of a wide range of groups that might plausibly fall under the heading of NRMs. Case studies will include Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, ISKCON (Hare Krishna), Alcoholics Anonymous, Scientology, UFO networks, New Age channelers, and Transpersonal Psychology/Noetic Science. Students will be expected to research one of the groups in depth using published and Internet sources and learn how current members view their group’s history and development through interviews and visits to local groups.


Goals of the Course:

• To consider what scholars refer to as New Religious Movements critically in relation to the emergence and development of religious groups more generally.

• To analyze emergent groups in light of their goals, the means they offer for achieving them, and the organizational structures they develop for doing so.

• To consider how they legitimate whatever is new and seek to transmit it authentically in light of criticism, dissent, and other challenges to their worldview.

• To provide students with the tools needed to research the emergence and development of one group in depth.



This seminar is being held in conjunction with the Office of the Dean of the Divinity School.




Persons with a disability who believe they may need assistance, please contact Paul Chang in advance at