AN470      Half Unit
Anthropology of Religion: Current Themes and Theories

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr George St Clair OLD6.08


This course is available on the MSc in Religion in the Contemporary World. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.


A background in social sciences, arts or humanities.

Course content

Through readings in contemporary ethnography and theory, this course will explore phenomena and questions classically framed as the anthropology of religion. We will consider classic topics which may include, for instance, ritual, conversion, shamanism, witchcraft and sorcery, cosmology, religious globalization, and religious reform. Cases will be drawn both from the Western and non-Western world, and include, in addition to the major world religions, so-called ‘folk’ religions and spiritual practices. Attention throughout will be given to the conceptual importance of the connections between language, thought, and practice, the role of the body and the senses, and the technologies of belief.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT. 1 hour of lectures in the ST.

Formative coursework

Discussions and presentations during seminars

Indicative reading

Bloch, M. and Parry J. (eds.) 1986. Death and the regeneration of life.

Harding, Susan 2000. The book of Jerry Falwell: fundamentalist language and politics.

Turner, V. 1969. The ritual process: structure and anti-structure.

Bell, Catherine 1997. Ritual: perspectives and dimensions.

Lambek, M. (ed.) 2007. A reader in the anthropology of religion.

Meyer, B. 1999. Translating the devil: religion and modernity among the Ewe in Ghana.


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Anthropology

Total students 2012/13: Unavailable

Average class size 2012/13: Unavailable

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information