Religious Studies | Social-Scientific Approaches to Religion: Anthropological Approaches to Religioin
R561 | 26731 | Schulz, D.


The purpose of the class is to acquaint students with the different
theoretical and analytical approaches through which religious
beliefs, experiences, feelings and practices have conventionally
been addressed and studied by anthropologists. The class starts with
close readings of several "classical" approaches to the study of
religion, among them Weber, Durkheim, and Freud. From there, the
class will move on to more recent debates about how to conceptualize
and study "religion" from a comparative perspective (Geertz and Asad
as key opponents). In a third step, the class combines readings
drawn from the established canon of the anthropology of religion
with a theoretically informed discussion of key domains and concepts
such totemism, myth, esoteric knowledge/ power ("magic"), ancestor/
spirit cult, shamanism, possession and healing, ritual
(performance), and notions of im/purity.  A final set of readings
will prompt students to reflect on various methodological issues
related to the empirical study of religion.