New: Anthropology Of Religion And The Sacred
Anthropology has often contested the idea that religious practice is simply an exercise in superstition
or the irrational, instead seeing there are a series of clues or challenges for the anthropologist to decipher the underlying cultural logic within these practices. For similar reasons, anthropology has also offered a range of counter-examples to the claims that contemporary Western society is increasingly secular and therefore rational. We will explore these themes and the fascinating questions they raise through a range of different case study examples and you will be encouraged, as ever, to come to develop your own anthropological perspective on the world around you.
Who is this course for
Although the course follows on from the first term's Introduction to Anthropology course it can be taken as a stand-alone course in its own right and you do not have to have completed the Introduction course to benefit from it. If you are interested in the very different ways in which notions of the religious and the sacred are expressed and experiences in our own society and in others than this would be a rewarding and interesting course for you. . It will also introduce you to, or build upon your existing knowledge, of the distinctive way that the discipline of Anthropology approaches these issues and others.
What does this course cover
Anthropology has often contested the idea that religious practice is simply an exercise in superstition or the irrational, instead seeing them as a series of clues or challenges for the Anthropologist to decipher the underlying cultural logic within these practices. For similar reasons, Anthropology has also offered a range of counter-examples to claims that contemporary Western society is increasingly secular and therefore 'rational'. We will explore these themes and the fascinating questions they raise though a range of case study examples and you will be encouraged to come to develop your own anthropological perspective on the world around you.
What will it be like
Sessions will be as interactive as possible, with each one being a mixture of tutor exposition, supported by relevant audio-visual material, class discussion and debate, group and pair activities. There is reading set for each week of the course and for the course as a whole and you will benefit much more from class sessions if you complete this. From around week 7 of the course, after enough introductory material has been covered, you will have the opportunity to work on carrying out your own small scale ethnographic piece of research. This can be done either individually or collaboratively with other members of the class. The final two weeks of the course will be given over to the presentation of these pieces and discussion of them.
What else do you need to buy or do
There is no set text for the course that you will need to buy in advance of the course. Reading for each week of the course and additional links to further material will be available via the Moodle page for the course.
What this course could lead to
The Anthropology course will continue to explore different topics in the next academic year. You will also find that this term's course will provide relevant information for other courses at the Mary Ward Centre in the Humanities and Social Sciences (e.g. in Psychology, Philosophy, Economics, History or Politics)
I've been to many Centres to study in London and the Mary Ward Centre is one of the nicest I've studied in.MWC student
This course has concessions available for people who meet certain criteria
Got a Question about this Course?
Contact The Departmental Administrator.
Why come to Mary Ward Centre?
Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference. We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening or weekend to suit your timetable.
Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’