ANT6150 Issues in Anthropology of Religious Change

Course Overview

Educational Level: Graduate, Master
Credit Hours: 3 Credits
Instructor: Dr. Ken Maximiliani Hallman

Course Description:

Exploration of cultural and social dynamics that cause individuals and groups to change, redefine, or reject their religious identities and commitments. Students will analyze ethnographic materials from different parts of the world to identify patterns and idiosyncrasies. Students will evaluate factors that intensify or decelerate religious change in contemporary cultures and examine methods to study religious change cross-culturally.

How This Course Benefits Students:

The Bachelors level course is intended to acquaint students with some of the patterns of religious change and relative equilibrium through various ethnographic works. Students at this level will learn to read ethnographic material in order to identify general patterns of causes contributing to religious change and factors that slow down this change. The Masters level course will go beyond the study of general patterns, focusing on particular cases and teaching students to analyze a particular cultural group, where various factors and forces can be at play simultaneously. It will also have a methodological component that will allow students to assess and analyze their own mission field.

Why This Course Is Important:

Missionary work assumes that people can change. But how does change happen? People are social beings operating in social groups that follow patterns of behavior. The unexpected and miraculous are possible, but students need to understand the practical ways in which peoples behavior and ideas are shaped. This course provides a foundation for change based on ordinary human social and cultural principles.