Recall that when discussing the academic discipline of Religious Studies early i

Recall that when discussing the academic discipline of Religious Studies early in the semester, we noted
that Jonathan Z. Smith asserted “religion is not a native term.” Other scholars of religion have noted
(for example, see the quote from Winston King in the Keynote presentation on studying religion) have
also asserted that the category of religion itself is a modern, western, and academic construction which has been used to categorize a wide range of cultures, ways of life, rituals, beliefs, practices, people groups and traditions. We also reviewed common patterns shared across religious traditions, such as:
axis mundi (sacred places), sacred times of the year (religious holidays), prophets and sages, sacred texts,
collective effervescence, etc. Other common traits found across religious traditions include: rituals,
pilgrimages, altars, relics, traditions, communities and organizations. Religious traditions also often
provide a sense of identity, meaning, togetherness and purpose for their adherents. Prompts and
Suggestions for Writing the Essay
In this essay, you are invited to write an essay that explains how the 100th Homecoming Week at
Oklahoma State University could be understood as a religious event. Here, below, are possible
questions that may be addressed when crafting your essays. You may address the questions in whatever
order makes sense to you as you organize your essay. You do not need to address each of these
questions, and of course, you are encouraged to be creative and bring your own questions and thoughts
into the crafting of your essay.
1. What are some of the traditions associated with Homecoming Week at OSU? What is the
purpose and importance of these traditions?
2. What is the purpose of the Homecoming Week? In what ways could the purpose of
Homecoming Week be understood to be religion?
3. What are some of the rituals incorporated throughout Homecoming Week?
4. How important is the football game during Homecoming Week?
5. What are the sacred spaces and places of Homecoming Week?
6. Why do people make the pilgrimage to Stillwater for the Homecoming Week?
7. OSU is made up of several communities and organizations that come together to participate in
Homecoming Week. What are some of the important ways that people and communities
participate in making the Homecoming Week a special time of the year?

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