SOCI 2853 NT

The Anthropology of Magic and Religion

An examination of how belief systems and their symbolic representations give meaning to the universe and one's place in it. Topics to include the nature of ritual, the structure of myth, magic, witchcraft and how these beliefs contribute to social and cultural change.

Instructor: Ann Marie Powers
Prerequisites:
  6h from SOCI 1006, 1106, 1013, 1023, 1033, 1113 or equivalent
Course Type: Online; Continuous-intake. Register anytime and learn at your own pace


This course will focus on ways anthropologists have attempted to understand, define and study belief systems cross-culturally. Emphasis is on the role of ritual, myth, and symbol in small-scale societies with examples ranging from witchcraft beliefs to syncretic religious traditions (Vodou). The course does not focus on the world’s major religious traditions, per se; however, there is some discussion of these traditions. The overriding question students should keep in mind is: "what makes magic and religion such a remarkably powerful social force in human life?"