This course serves as an introduction to the anthropological study of religion, an area within anthropology that is as old as the discipline itself. This is to be expected, as religion is a distinctively human, culturally universal phenomenon and any attempt to understand the human condition would be incomplete without comprehending the nature of religion and the diverse forms it takes in societies around the world. After completing ANTH 332 students will be able to describe and evaluate anthropological ways of thinking about and studying religion, including:
1. the complexities involved in defining what religion is, so that it can be
studied in all societies and compared cross-culturally.
2. the immense diversity in religious beliefs and practices as they manifest
themselves across a wide range of cultures and religious communities
around the world and within religiously plural societies.
3. the ways in which religion influences and is influenced by other spheres
4. what very different beliefs about the supernatural have in common
across cultures, as well as how they differ, an approach that actively
promotes attitudes towards unfamiliar religious beliefs and practices
that are open, non-judgmental and empathetic.