Anthropology of Religions

Anthropology of Religions
How do you study religions when they are not in a document or a creed but lived by people you know? Anthropologists over the course of the last century have had a wide range of responses and approaches to that question, including how to define the term “religion” itself. The class will provide a history of approaches to anthropology and religions, including their origins in colonial legacies and world views. We will then turn to recent writings in the field, particularly as thinkers began to re-evaluate their own premises and methods: what is the relationship between self and other in ethnographic field work in religious communities? How do we think ethically about field work and the representation of religious cultures and individuals? How do we approach religions as ontologies, or lived experiences, rather than a set of rules and regulations that cultures create? How do we think about new scientific claims about the evolution of religions by cognitive anthropologists? How do we assess communities’ perspectives on interactions with deities and spirits within postcolonial cultures which are negotiating competing world views? (At least two courses in ANTH or RELI, one of which must be at the 200 or 300 level.) This course may not substitute for the “Method and Theory” requirement in the Religion Major.
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ANTH 0430

All Sections in Fall 2023

Fall 2023

ANTH0430A-F23 Seminar (Patton)