Anthropology | Anthropology of Religion
E455 | 0501 | Shahrani
The main objective of this course is to explore the development of
anthropological approaches to the comparative study and analysis of
religious belief systems and practices in human societies.
Specifically, through ethnographic case studies and analytical essays,
we will critically examine the structure, organization, manifestations,
meaning and function of systems of religious symbols, myths, and various
forms of ritual acts/performances (e.g., spirit possession, magic,
witchcraft, divination, pilgrimage, and shamanism) within particular
social and cultural contexts. The historically changing importance of
religion as a cultural system in different societies, and the processes
of religious change and social transformation will be also discussed.
Required Texts (Some title may vary):
W. A. Lessa and E.Z. Vogt, eds. Reader in Comparative Religion, 4th
Peter L. Berger, The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of
Clifford Geertz, Islam Observed: Religious Development in Morocco and
J. Eade and M. J. Sallnow, Contesting the Sacred: The Anthropology of
F. G. Bailey, The Witch-Hunt, or the Triumph of Morality
Undergraduates: course grade will be based on two mid-terms (each worth
50 points for a total of 100 points) and a final examination (worth 100
points. Book review/term project 40 points and participation in class
discussions (10 points). All examinations will be in class and essay
type. The course grade will be based on the accumulated points earned
in exams, book review/term project and class participation.
Graduate students: course grade will be based on two mid-terms and a
final examination (worth 70% of course grade), and submission of a term
paper (worth 30% of course grade). Topic of term paper should be
decided in consultation with the instructor. The final term paper
should be about twenty (20) typed double-spaced pages.