E455 | 0430 | 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
Christian Pilgrimages.
F. G. Bailey, The Witch-Hunt, or the Triumph of Morality

Course Requirements:

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.