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RELI 307
Spring 2020 not offered
Crosslisting: ANTH 303
Certificates: Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory
Course Cluster: Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory Certificate

Religion can be defined through beliefs or traditions or texts, but it always takes physical form through ritual. Ritual is the one universal in religion, but the question of how to understand ritual is possibly the most contested question in the study of religion. Can a ritual be read like a text? How do symbols produce effects, and how should we understand these effects? What is performative speech and how does it work? How does ritual behavior reflect and shape social relationships? This course introduces students to the major approaches to the study of ritual. The readings draw heavily, but not exclusively, on anthropological approaches to ritual, both classic texts and recent innovative approaches focusing on language and embodiment. Students will pick a ritual that they are interested in and will attend that ritual several times over the semester, conducting practical fieldwork exercises and applying the theories we read in class. The assignments culminate in a paper in which students will be required to analyze "their" ritual using the theory we read together in class. For these assignments, students are encouraged to define ritual broadly and creatively. The goal of the class is to gain an understanding of theoretical approaches to ritual by applying these theories to the social world around them.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS RELI
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ANTH)(CSCT)(RELI-MN)(RELI)(STS)

Last Updated on JUL-14-2024
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