SO 485, RC 425E   Anthropology of Religion  Spring 2002  Reich    

 Course Description

 This course is designed to explore the ways different cultures create and maintain religious answers to the ultimate problems of human existence.  Using an anthropological perspective, we will look at symbolism, myth, ritual, witchcraft, healing, and religious change.  Looking at religion in the context of our own and other cultures should deepen our understanding of the similarities and differences  among religious and the importance of religion in making meaning in human life.

The required texts for the course are            .

            Siskind:  To Hunt in the Morning.  Oxford.

            Bastien:  Mountain of the Condor.  Waveland

            Hostetler: The Hutterites in North America.  HBJ.

 Course Calendar                                                                                                         READ  

Jan 15              Religion: Definitions                                                                  

 Jan 17 22            Coming to Know the Sharanahua          Siskind   pp. 3 46

 Jan 24 29            Myth and Symbol                                          pp. 47 88

 Jan 31 Feb 5            Men, Women, and Ritual                        pp. 89 129

 Feb 7 12            Transcendence, Healing, and Change                    finish

  Feb 14 19            Living the Metaphor               Bastien  read through p. 50

 Feb 21 - 28            Ritual and Metaphor                                 pp. 51 114

 Mar 12 19            Pulling it Together                                     finish

 Mar 21 -  28            The Hutterites                           Hostetler,  through Ch. 2

 April 2 4            What you Gain, What you Give                Chapters 3 & 4

 April 9 11            Pressure and Resistance                         Chapters 5 & 6 

April 16 May 1  Group Presentations                                                         

 Course Requirements

 Readings will be assigned in class, along with weekly writing assignments designed to encourage and demonstrate your understanding of the required readings.  You may drop any two of the weekly writings, but none will be accepted late.  Each missing or late assignment (after the first two) will reduce your final course grade by 1/3 of a letter grade.

 There will be a take-home midsemester exam, which will require some fieldwork.  This exam will be assigned the week of  February 5 and be due the week of February 26.

 Each student is required to participate in a group project researching the religion of another culture.  The results of this research will be presented orally to the class with some supplemental written material (though not in the form of a research paper) to be handed in.  Groups and projects will be chosen by the end of the first two weeks of class; reports will be given during the last several weeks.    


The final grade will be composed of:

             Writing Assignments  40%

            Group Projects  30%

            Midsemester Exam  20%

            Class Participation  10%

 Instructor Availability

 My office is in L-24, hours are Tuesday and Wednesday 1:00 2:30, and Thursday 8:00 9:25 (a.m.)  This course has  a web page where you will be able to find assignments and other supplemental materials; or e-mail me.  

Academic Policies

Writing Assignments

Midterm Assignment

Group Projects

Supplemental Materials

  Return to Reich Home Page