Dr. Judkins                                        
Spring 2015
Anthropology 301                                     

RELIGION, SOCIETY AND CULTURE

Objectives

The objectives of this course are consideration of the main problems and theories of the anthropological description and analysis of religion.  Classical theories on the origin of religion and detailed ethnographic accounts of religious systems are utilized.

Texts

Pals, Daniel. Eight Theories of Religion.  Oxford UP
Pals, Daniel. Introducing Religion: Readings from the Classical Theorists. Oxford UP

Grading

Two 5 page written papers plus a comprehensive Final Exam (each = 1/3 of the grade).
Final Exam: Thursday May 7 (3:30-6:30)

The first paper topic will be announced February 10th; it will be due on February 24th.
The second paper will be announced March 24th, and will be due on April 7th.
Topics of these papers will be selected for you from the readings, class discussions and videos of the first five-week and the second five-week sections of the class.    

While attendance and class participation are the expectation - and their absence will certainly be penalized - a high grade will not be issued simply for attending and contributing.
The grading standard will be that of a 300-level theory class for Anthropology majors.
Only actually outstanding, engaged and truly thoughtful work will receive the grade of A.    

        
Office Hours:  

Bailey 149    T/Th 12:45-2:30    Wed by appt only    245-5433    judkins@geneseo.edu


FINAL EXAM: Thursday May 7 (3:30-6:30 PM)
WEEK 1 – Foundations, Concepts and Orientations                    (Jan 20 & 22)
 

    Reading: Wikipedia article: “Theories of Religion”
    Reading: Text: chapt 1; Reader: chapt 1

    Video: “Trance and Dance in Bali” Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson (1939/1952)
    
    Topics:    
    Ethnography: intellectually unique & substantive; defines the field of anthropology;
definition and type case: LHM (1851)

    Subsistence types: range of variation in cultural and social settings

“Adaptation” theories” vs. “Developmental” theories:
        20th century thought over 19th century; function vs. origin; systems vs. survivals

    Religion <-- Society <-- Culture = paradigm of increasing depth & influence + feedback

    Culture: meaningful complexes of shared, significant symbols, (cf. Ashley Montagu):
        “Culture is man’s adaptive dimension.”    “Man is a culture-bearing animal.”
        “A culture = a shared world of symbols.”    “Culture archives human experience”
         Society = patterns of behavior      Culture = patterns for behavior

    Ritual and Symbol (smallest units conveying meaning in a culture); cf. Turner, Leach
        Cf. “The Whiteness of The Whale,” Herman Melville, Moby Dick, chapter 42
case-study re. thinking the role and place of theory in anthropology



WEEK 2 – Edward Burnett Tylor & Sir James Frazer                  (Jan 27 & 29)

    
    Reading:
Text: chapt 1 (cont’d); Reader: chapt 2

    Topics:
    Assignment reviews of Text and Reader sections

    Biographies of Tylor and Frazer

    Anthropology in Tylor’s day

    Frazer’s magical world view
    
WEEK 3 – Emile Durkheim                                (Feb 3 & 5)


    Reading:
Text: chapt 3; Reader: chapt: 4

    Topics:
    Assignment reviews of Text and Reader sections

    The religious experience of the Collective


    
        


WEEK 4 – William James                                (Feb 10 & 12)


    Paper 1: topic announcement - due date February 24th

    Reading:
Reader: chapt 6

    Topics:
    Assignment reviews of Text and Reader sections

    The religious experience of the Person

    Influence of Swedenborgism (cf. John R. Swanton* as well as William James)
and of Theosophy (and even the Society of the Golden Dawn) on early
writers and theorists of religion

    




•    *Cf. biography by Julian Steward: http://www.nasonline.org/publications/biographical-memoirs/memoir-pdfs/swanton-john.pdf





            
WEEK 5 – Karl Marx I                                (Feb 17 & 19)


    Reading:
Text: chapt 3; Reader: chapt 5

    Topics:
    Assignment reviews of Text and Reader sections

    Marx & Engel: the impact of Morgan’s Iroquois studies and Ancient Society (1877)
        http://libcom.org/library/karl-marx-iroquois-franklin-rosemont





WEEK 6 – Karl Marx II                                (Feb 24 & 26)


    Reading:
Reader: chapt 7

    Topics:
    Assignment reviews of Text and Reader sections

“The Ethnological Notebooks of Karl Marx”
http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1881/ethnographical-notebooks/notebooks.pdf



    
    

WEEK 7 – Max Weber I                                    (Mar 3 & 5)


    Paper 2: topic announcement - due date March 22

    Reading:
    Text: chapt 5

    Topics:
    Assignment reviews of Text and Reader sections
 
    



WEEK 8 – Max Weber II                                    (Mar 10 & 12)


    Reading:
    Reader: chapt 8

    Topics:
    Assignment reviews of Text and Reader sections
    
    
    


WEEK 9 – Mircea Eliade I                                (Mar 24 & 26)

                
    Reading:
Text: chapt 6
    
    Topics:
    Assignment reviews of Text and Reader sections
        




WEEK 10 – Mircea Eliade II                                (Mar 31 & Apr 2)


    Reading:
    Reader: chapt 9

    Topics:
    Assignment reviews of Text and Reader sections

    Eliade and shamanism


WEEK 11 – Sir E. E. Evans-Pritchard I                        (April 7 & 9)


    Reading:
    Text: chapt 7

    Video: “The Nuer” (1970)

    Topics:
    Assignment reviews of Text and Reader sections
    






    
WEEK 12 – Sir E. E. Evans-Pritchard II                         (April 14 & 16)


    Reading:
    Reader: chapt 10

    Topics:
    Assignment reviews of Text and Reader sections

    Evans-Pritchard, Theories of Primitive Religion (1965)
    
    
    


WEEK 13 – Clifford Geertz I                            (April 23)


    Reading:
    Text: chapt 8

    Topics:
    Assignment reviews of Text and Reader sections





WEEK 14 – Clifford Geertz II                        (April 28 & 30)


    Reading:
    Reader: chapt 11

    Topics:
    Assignment reviews of Text and Reader sections

       “Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight”




WEEK 15 - Summary                                    (May 5)


Video: “Oren Lyons: Faithkeeper” PBS

Topics:
Victor W. Turner: Myth, Ritual and Symbol + “Muchona the Hornet”


FINAL EXAM: Thursday May 7 (3:30-6:30 PM)