Galonnier and de los Rios, “Teaching and Learning to Be Religious”

Galonnier, Juliette and Diego de los Rios.  2015. Teaching and Learning to Be Religious: Pedagogies of Conversion to Islam and Christianity.  Sociology of Religion.  Early online publication.

Abstract: Drawing on in-depth interviews and ethnographic data, this article provides one of the first empirical analyses of religious classes for converts in the United States. Focusing on “new member classes” in two religious communities (a Muslim association and an evangelical Christian church), we introduce the concept of “pedagogies of conversion” to describe how religious organizations teach converts about their new religion and set up guidelines to frame the conversion process. By examining the pedagogical tools that religious instructors use on a daily basis to foster spirituality among new members, we investigate how converts learn to become religious people. We demonstrate that while there are significant differences in the doctrines (know-what) being taught in the Muslim and evangelical classrooms, the tips and pieces of advice delivered by instructors on how to be religious (know-how) are strikingly similar.

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