Students will learn anthropological approaches to thinking about beliefs, religions, and human relations. Anthropology looks at beliefs and religions not as something merely personal but as something collective, social, and relational. Also, it focuses on people’s everyday practices rather than systematic doctrines. From this perspective, students will examine various cases regarding symbolic boundary-making, secularism and irreligion, religious violence, and religious changes. How do people’s beliefs and practices generate social relations and changes? How do social changes influence people’s beliefs and practices? This course will explore the dynamic interactions between belief and human relations.
- Understand basic anthropological attitudes towards beliefs and religions.
- Consider the difficulties and possibilities of translating and comparing “beliefs” and “religions” across different languages and societies.
- Gain their own perspectives on different ways of intervening in the world.
The course consists of short lectures, student presentations, and class discussion. Readings are assigned for each class. The lecturer first introduces the context of the literature, and then students present their assignments. Students write exit-papers at the end of each class (and share them on manaba). The course design will be adjusted based on the number of participants and their interests.
1) 6/3 Introduction to an anthropology of beliefs and religions
2) 6/6 Warm-up presentation: Religion in 5 minutes
3) 6/10 Eller, chap. 1 Studying religion anthropologically
4) 6/13 Eller, chap. 2 Religious belief I
5) 6/17 Eller, chap. 2 Religious belief II
6) 6/20 Guest lecture: Religion and People in Iran
7) 6/24 Eller, chap. 11 Secularism and irreligion I
8) 6/27 Eller, chap. 11 Secularism and irreligion II
9) 7/1 Eller, Chap. 10 Religious violence I
10) 7/4 Eller, Chap. 10 Religious violence II
11) 7/8 Video, A2
12) 7/11 Eller, Chap.7 Religious change and new religious movement I
13) 7/15 Eller, Chap.7 Religious change and new religious movement II
Eller, Jack Davis. 2007. Introducing anthropology of religion: Culture to the ultimate. Routledge.
Huges, Aaron W. and Russel T. McCutcheon eds. 2017 Religion in 5 minutes. Equinox.