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Bloomsbury Religion in North America (BRINA) in the classroom

“BRINA is a game changer for classroom instruction and discussion.”

Lloyd Barba, Amherst College, USA

“Teaching a course on religious traditions in the North American context, and need to provide your students with an outstanding and vibrant resource? BRINA is a good way to go.”

Anthony Pinn, Rice University, USA

How can BRINA help instructors in the classroom?

BRINA has been designed with student and instructor needs in mind. It offers a rich variety of peer-reviewed articles that can be used in the classroom or as assigned reading.

We asked some of our BRINA contributors for their thoughts and experiences, which you can read below, along with sample articles.

“Every academic at some point struggles to find appropriate introductory level readings for students to apprehend the core issues in particular fields and topics. I have found that the articles on BRINA strike the right balance, with articles that can be assigned as early as week one and as late as the final week of the term. Not only are the articles informative, they also jumpstart class discussion. BRINA’s case studies and hot topics provide brief readings that are sure to engender fruitful class discussion and challenge students to consider topics from new angles. The accompanying lesson plans further assist instructors on how to make best use of the available materials.”

Lloyd Barba, Assistant Professor of Religion, Amherst College, USA [BRINA advisory editor and section editor for Latin American Religion in North America]

Some useful article examples:

In Mexico City and elsewhere, Santa Muerte offered protection from the virus. Source: Agencia Press South/ Getty Images

“Providing students with a comprehensive and layered sense of religion in North America is difficult, particularly if the goal is to keep the cost of class materials as low as possible. Typically, to gain rich and detailed materials that cut across traditions and cover key and 'hot button' issues, would require a good number of books and articles. BRINA is a fix for undergraduate courses. It offers a full range of topics, cutting across traditions — and all peer-reviewed and written by experts. I particularly like the case studies that bring key questions and concerns into full view. It’s not a flat and fixed virtual text book, but rather it is an evolving knowledge base.”

Anthony Pinn, Professor of Religion, Rice University, USA and Visiting Scholar, Harvard University Divinity School, USA [BRINA advisory editor]

Some useful article examples:

Norma McCorvey (“Jane Roe,” left) and her lawyer on the steps of the Supreme Court in 1989. Source: Lorie Shaull

“BRINA is an accessible resource for undergraduate courses, as topics not only cover traditions, such as a 'basics' section that introduces students to key aspects of different religions, but the resource is also organized around thematic concerns, such as nature, secularism, race, and colonialism, with a focus on North America, as broadly conceived. All the contributions are penned by leading experts in the field. This is a welcome addition to course syllabi and library collections.”

Shobhana Xavier, Assistant Professor of Religion, Queen’s University, Canada [BRINA advisory editor]

Some useful article examples:

  • Section articles present specific topics within each tradition, theme or religion, while speaking to key debates, theories, and controversies: Socially Engaged Buddhism
Engaged Buddhists gather for Work That Reconnects at the 2008 Buddhafield Festival. Source: Akuppa / Creative Commons