Section Information for Fall 2021
Most anthropologists agree that the presence of some kind of religion or spirituality in society is a cultural universal, meaning that it is something all human beings share. This begs the question of why humans have the need for religion and spirituality, and all the attendant features (ritual, myth, the supernatural) that go along with belief. This course will consider what is sociologically and psychologically necessary in the development of religion, questioning both its origins and what it does in terms of organizing society and the human mind. We will continue by looking at what place myth, ritual, and religion have in human social life, as well as to what extent spiritual symbols reflect reality or create the worlds we inhabit. In addition, we will explore the relationship between religion and science historically. This course will draw theoretical concepts from multiple disciplines and use anthropological accounts from around the world. It is open to students in any academic program and fulfills Mason Core Global Understanding and CHSS Non-Western requirements.
ANTH 313-DL1 is a distance education section.