School of Religion, Philosophy & Classics

Beverly Vencatsamy

Vencatsamyb@ukzn.ac.za

031-260-3120

  • Details

  • Position Lecturer
  • Discipline Religion
  • CampusHoward College Campus
  • Office Address3rd Flr MTB

As a lecturer, it is important that students emerge from my modules not only with a good knowledge of the text/themes itself but also with the necessary skills that would enable them to ask critical questions but also seek answers. This is especially important when teaching a course on religion, as in many instances there are no right or wrong answers, and as a lecturer I endeavour to be as objective and impartial as possible. In seeking their ‘own’ answers also allows for a deeper reflection on how they view their own religious beliefs. These skills involve continual reading (a task most students fail to adhere too), writing and again reflection.

How students acquire these skills differ vastly from one student to the next. Over the years I have discovered that while some students actively engage with the course content by reading, others understand the concepts and material through class discussions, while some prefer visualisation (although I do use a lot of visual aids, I do feel that the visually impaired students are left at a disadvantage). Therefore it is important that I teach in a multi modal way.

While it is not always possible to have small group discussions, I try to encourage class discussions but usually have the same students responding repeatedly. For me class discussions are a vital aspect of learning as each student contributes his/her ideas and I try to reassure them that they will not be faulted for voicing their views, but in a multicultural classroom, I often find that there still seems to be a lack of ‘religious/cultural’ tolerance from students.

Multimedia technology also plays a pivotal role in my teaching, I use PowerPoint presentations for all my classes and try to include as many video clips (YouTube) and longer movies as possible.

One of the key areas in my teaching practice is in the area of community engagement. Community Engagement for me represents a form of addressing human needs in the wider community. The main aim being long term transformations in students career choices, engagement in civil society and hopefully democratic participation. Community engagement also represents a kind of postmodern teaching strategy, in which community engagement forces the students to cross cultural boundaries and to disrupt familiar constructs of social and religious others.

Effectiveness of community engagement as a means of connecting students directly in the issues raised in class and empowering them to address these issues and the theoretical tools used to study them.

Degrees Held

  • BA, (UDW)
  • BA Hons (UDW)
  • MA (UKZN)

Research Interests

  • Teaching and Learning
  • Gender
  • Community Engagement

Teaching Interests

  • Comparative Religion
  • Gender
  • Religion & Sexuality
Selected

Publications

  • Smit, Johannes A & Beverly Vencatsamy 2013. Religion in the Humanities. Alternation Special Edition 10: 270 – 318

Teaching Expertise

  • Introduction to Religion
  • Women in Religion and Culture
  • Morality, Ethics & Modernity in Africa
  • Oral & Written Sacred Texts
  • Culture, Poverty & Economics
  • Method & Theory in Religion & Culture    
  • Introduction to Religion & Development
  • Religion & the Environment
  • Method & Theory in Religion & Theology
  • Religion, Gender & Sexuality

Academic Participation

  • Assistant Editor & Finance Administrator: Alternation – Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of the Arts and Humanities in Southern Africa
  • Finance Administrator: Journal for the Study of Religion (JSR)
  • Treasurer: Association for the Study of Religion in Southern Africa (ASRSA)

Teaching Expertise

  • Nicoshe Ramdhani (2016) A Critical Analysis of the Changing Roles within the Kavady Ritual: A Gendered Critique
  • Georges Bidzogo (2017) The Influence of the Catholic Social Teaching (CST) as a Means of Controlling and Preventing Substance Abuse among the Youth
  • Nkanyiso Khwela (Current) The Religious Influence in the formation of Communities and the out birth of Religious Tourism: A Case Study of the Inanda Settlement, South Africa, Durban

Modules Taught

  • Introduction to Religion
  • Morality, Ethics and Modernity in Africa
  • Women in Religion & Culture