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 SSC 233 - Religion and Modernization: An Anthropological Approach


This course is an anthropological introduction into religion and modernization. It begins with an overview of anthropological statements about religion, elucidating how religious worlds (symbols, cosmologies, moral inversions and space disorders) are analyzed from the perspective of social science, and discussing personal experiences of religion (personal symbols, therapeutics of possessions, trance, shamanism, and witchcraft). During the second part of the course students acquire knowledge about changes in the religious expressions related to capitalism, colonialism, and conflict. One of fundamental ideas of the course is the process of rationalization as a major influence upon modernization, which justifies also analysis of civil religion, nationalism, and revitalization, orthodoxies, and fundamentalisms, as well as processes of differentiation and dedifferentiation, which affect both the expression of, and reflection upon religion. Lectures will supplement the readings. Seminars will be prepared and organized by the students.

This course consists of two meetings a week, out of which two hours are lectures (and video illustration) and two hours group discussions. Students prepare two discussion sessions. In the second part students write of the course a research paper.

Dr. Herman Tak




One of the following is required in order to take this course:

  • A&H 185 Introduction to Social History and American Studies
  • SSC 111 Introduction to Sociology
  • SSC 131 Introduction to Socio-Cultural Anthropology
  • Or any 200- or 300-level course in Anthropology, Sociology, Human Geography
  • Permission from the instructor

Req​uired for​

This course is an alternative requirement for the following course:

  • SSC 332 The Dynamics of Globalization
  • SSC 334 Advanced Cultural Studies