The Anthropology of Magic, Witchcraft, and Religion
(ANTH M11 )

Spring 2016


Upon completion of ANTH M11, you should be able to:

  1. categorize and contrast the various sub-fields of anthropology and explain how each of these provides insights into human belief systems.
  2. discuss the manners in which humans acquire knowledge of the world and understand the uses and the limitations of that knowledge.
  3. identify, explain, apply, and criticize the concepts of ethnocentrism and cultural relativism.
  4. recognize the functions of belief systems and distinguish between different expressions of these functions.
  5. list the various components which anthropologists have identified as parts of belief systems
  6. explain the different structures of belief systems.
  7. explain and differentiate between the belief systems activities that anthropologists understand under the terms “magic, “witchcraft”, and “religion”.
  8. recognize how belief systems emerge and evolve in responses to specific historical events and group needs and illustrate the processes by which belief systems change using specific examples from the ethnographic record.
  9. appraise their own personal belief systems using the theories and examples provided in class.




  Religious Sites project
  13 Categories of Religious Behavior - work sheet
  Make a Religion project
  Siddhartha project
  Final Ritual project
Lecture 1 - Anthropology and the Study of Religion
  Lecture 2 - The Universe and How We Know It
  Lecture 3 - The Roots of Religiosity
  Lecture 4 - The Structure of Religion
  Lecture 5 - Sacred Spaces
  Lecture 6 - Shamanism
  Lecture 7 - It's Magic!
  Lecture 8 - It's Getting Better All the Time
  Lecture 9 - Consciousness
  Lecture 10 - Ecstatic Union
  Lecture 11 - Emotional Rescue
  Lecture 12 - Adaptation and Change
Lecture Notes:
Lecture 1
  Lecture 2
  Lecture 3
  Lecture 4
  Lecture 5
  Lecture 6
  Lecture 7
  Lecture 8
  Lecture 9
  Lecture 10
  Lecture 11
  Lecture 12
available here






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