AP/ANTH 3320 6.00
RELIGIOUS RITUAL AND SYMBOLISM
How major anthropological thinkers seek to explain the variety and complexity of human ritual and symbolic behaviour informs this course. Ethnographic examples and materials on ritual events, religious symbolism, and belief systems will enrich this anthropological perspective. A series of topics will be investigated including shamans, sorcery and witchcraft, specific examples of Asian and European religions and New Age religious movements. After a review of various ways to approach the study of religion within Anthropology with a focus on symbolic theory, the course will concentrate on a number of topics.
Some of the areas of interest investigated and developed for extensive discussion include myth, ritual, shamans, sorcery and witchcraft, and religious systems of the Americas, Africa, Europe and Asia. Students will be encouraged to discuss topics including issues surrounding purity and pollution, gender and religion, religious festivals and performances, and major life concerns like the problem of evil and suffering. Students will be exposed to the anthropological approach to the study of religion through discussions of theories in anthropology and a variety of ethnographic examples. This course will provide the students with grounding in the anthropological approach to the study of religion and expand their knowledge of anthropological techniques and perspectives.