Before I get into the advice, I want to say that the topics that you will learn about in this class are legitimately interesting. They will pick your brain but you will come out of the class feeling enlightened. Okay, onto the advice.
The best thing I did during this class was jot down notes during the readings and “listenings” (podcasts, videos, etc). Not only did it help me keep track of what were the important things to know about each lesson, but it also helped with Medium posts and reviewing for the tests. Some of the concepts can be hard to understand, so it helps to explain them to yourself or to others. I found that the topics covered in this class opened up a lot of discussion with my friends outside of class.
What was difficult for me was simply getting the readings done and keeping up with the class. I assume you don’t need me to tell you that it is easy to procrastinate when no one is forcing you to do the readings. If I had to tell myself from the beginning of the semester some advice, I would say to treat the readings like it’s not for a class. I found that I learned more about the topics when I went into it thinking “Wow, I’m excited to know more about this topic!” than when I thought “ugh, another reading for another class.”
My favorite part of this class was absolutely learning about how power structures in society have influenced or been influenced by religion. Maybe this is just because I’m a very political person but getting to apply the knowledge I already know about race, gender, sexuality, and class to religious studies was super interesting for me. I hope that you too find a topic that you’re interested in as well. And have fun with this class! It was definitely my most interesting class this semester and I wish I savored it more.