The theme of the Philosophy and World Religions programme is 'The Challenge of Religion: Problems and Solutions in a Time of Global Crisis'.
The programme is delivered by academics from Pembroke College, Oxford and works in close collaboration with the Goldsmiths' Sutherland Centre of Philosophy & World Religions at Ashton Sixth Form College.
Professor Justin Jones (Fellow and Tutor in the Study of Religion, Associate Professor of Study of Religion at Pembroke College, Oxford, and leader of the OxNet Philosophy & World Religions programme) (photographed below) describes the programme in the following way:
"In our tumultuous world, religion has been a factor in some of the major challenges facing humanity; but at the same time, it perhaps offers some solutions to these challenges. Led by postdoctoral scholars from Pembroke College, who work in a range of subjects including Theology, Politics, Anthropology and Law, the six seminars in this series, ‘The Challenge of Religion’, will all examine some of these challenges from an interdisciplinary perspective. Students will consider issues such as: religious opposition to environmentalism; the link between religion and conspiracy theories; religion and far-right populism; cultural exchanges between the Global South and Global North; religion and women’s rights; and laws of religious freedom."
OxNet Alumna, Emily, tells us about her experience on the Philosophy programme
OxNet Alumna, Isabelle, tells us about her experience on the Philosophy programme
Why you chose to apply for Philosophy & World Religions?
I chose the Philosophy and World Religions course predominantly to gain a further insight into Philosophy as a subject. This is because I want to study Psychology at university and the two subjects seem to be interconnected. I had never had the chance to explore Philosophy before and thought this would be a good opportunity to do so.
What you learnt about on the course (subject knowledge or skills and so forth)
Throughout the course, many areas of Philosophy and World Religion were covered, with my favourite seminar being on Free Will as this concept had many different aspects to it and angles from which it could be looked at. I really enjoyed being able to further explore Free Will through the Easter essay competition. The seminar series prepared me for understanding how to take notes, ask questions and complete pre-reading.
What was your favourite part of the course (e.g. Seminar Series, Study Skills Day, Access Week, tutorial, mock interview, essay competition, something you learnt, meeting new people etc.)
The essay during access week was one of my favourite parts. Writing about animal ethics and being able to discuss this with those in my tutorial group, as well as a postgraduate tutor, was highly interesting and valuable. Furthermore, meeting and speaking to new people from all over the country was also one of my favourite parts. I loved talking about our tutorial subjects and essays and I learnt so much!
Has your experience changed your view about anything?
I think my perception of a lot things has changed due to exploring Philosophy as a subject. For example, looking in-depth at the question of Free Will forced me to question whether we do have control over our lives, which is quite weird to think about! As well as this, looking at animal ethics made me consider how animal experimentation may change in the future and what alternatives could be used. For some people in my tutorial group, their views were changed significantly when looking into animal ethics and one of my friends even refused to eat meat whilst we were in Oxford!
Do you feel confident about applying to Oxford?
OxNet has made me realise that even if you are a state school student, applying and even getting into Oxford is something that is possible. Due to this, I feel more motivated to explore more areas in Psychology that I am interested in, have more academic conversations and strive to learn as much as I can, especially by asking questions.
What you have been able to do because of OxNet?
I feel as if I am much more confident talking to people I don't know, both those who are my own age and people like fellows or postgraduate tutors. I also feel more confident in knowing that I have written two undergraduate style essays, attended tutorials and lectures, as this means that I will feel more prepared whichever university I end up studying at.