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Religion: immerse yourself in one or more unfamiliar religious

Assignment Details

  • Format: 
    • MLA format required
    • Double-spaced, 12 point size, Arial or Times New Roman font
  • Length: 1800-2000 words (not Including your Works Cited page)
  • Content: Field research and supplementary research
  • Sources: 3 academic sources minimum
  • Works Cited page required

Assignment Instructions

For this Virtual Pilgrimage, students will perform field research by visiting three of the below nine virtual sites.

Since you’re unable to attend the sites in person (but how wonderful would it be if you could?), you will need to supplement your virtual visits with outside research. The goal is to immerse yourself in one or more unfamiliar religious contexts while also being able to identify not just the differences between the traditions but also the similarities.

At the top of your paper, please include the names of the three religious sites visited.

Your research should ideally progress in three stages:

  1. Preliminary research
    • Before visiting each virtual site, complete some preliminary research on the religious tradition. What is the history of the particular religious sites you have chosen? Which denomination/sect, if any, subscribes to the importance of  these religious sites? This will help contextualize some of the ceremonies/services you will experience. 
  2. Field research
    • Virtually visit each of the sites and observe closely. Takes notes on what you observe at each virtual site (e.g. rituals, practitioners’ expressions,  social interactions, religious art, symbols, architecture, etc.)
  3. Supplementary research
    • After your visit, research any elements of the experience that were unfamiliar and that left you with questions, including but not limited to the practices, symbols, and architecture. In other words, research each element and find out why it’s important within this particular tradition.


  • If you observe men wearing kippahs (or yarmulkes) at a Jewish service, you don’t want to write in your essay, “There were these men and they were wearing these funny hats but I don’t know why.” This is where your additional research comes in. Find out what the hats are called, and find out why they’re worn.
  • If you observe worshipers washing their hands and feet at a Mosque, you don’t want to write in your essay, “Everyone was washing their hands and feet but I don’t know why they did that and it was pretty weird.”

Upon completing these three stages, write a detailed and insightful essay that demonstrates a general understanding of the importance of each of the sites within its religious tradition. Then compare and contrast the three sites and the rituals associated with them. Do you think they are more similar or more different?

Finally, include your personal reaction to the virtual visits and what you discovered. How did you respond? Did you enjoy the visit or did you see anything that made you uncomfortable? Were your opinions about the religion challenged or confirmed by the site visit?

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