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ANTH 2667: The Anthropology of Religion

This page is a place for materials for The Anthropology of Religion, a unit offered at the University of Sydney. This unit will be offered in Sem 1 of 2017, and is usually offered every year in Sem 1.

The unit outline

The latest version (6 March 2017) of the unit guide (or syllabus) can be found here.

Pages for each lecture topic have been created, and new information about each week will be added gradually. Check back often!

Unit description

This Unit will examine various ways anthropologists have theorised religious belief and practice, and we will challenge these ideas by looking at the vast diversity of religious forms. Starting with the major theories of Durkheim, Weber and others, the Unit will focus on what anthropologists have identified as the key elements of religious forms cross-culturally. It will also look at debates around these ideas. Special emphasis will be put on the continuing salience of religious ideas and identities in modernity.

Exploring religion through dialogue

In 2015, the class will center on a dialogue among students in a tutorial. Each week we will examine an open-ended question, a claim, or a topic, and we will all discuss our different interpretations, using the skills of dialogue to explore the differences of perspective within the group and to think more deeply about them.

Research skills and independent thinking

Over the semester, students will be working on an independent research project. Each student will investigate a problematic issue arising within the social study of religion, read ethnographies on this topic, and develop an argument about it. This results in a 10-page research paper which argues for their explanation of the matter. A lot of what students will be doing will be new, and so I have prepared a guide to the process which I hope is helpful.

At several points, students will submit elements of their research and get feedback from me. Over the course of the unit, we will discuss strategies and techniques for finding facts, asking questions, asserting a thesis which answers a question, developing arguments to explain the thesis, and using factual evidence and reasoning to make our arguments stronger.

2667/start.txt · Last modified: 2017/03/05 15:35 by ryans