Understanding Ritual Experience

Cultural systems around the world employ ritual for a score of reasons. This course uses a variety of articles from anthropological journals, books and video produced with respect to emic understandings of the sacred and the use of ritual.  This will allow each one to think deeply about some part of her/his own religion/spirituality/society that is currently lacking, in their view. This will not only encourage respect of diversity but will encourage future community work. Students in this class are expected to look critically and closely at two major ritual types: Rites of Passage and Rites of Intensification. Through classic readings and new interpretations of rites in varying cultures, we will identify similarities and differences and look at the types of rites that are relied upon around the world. Students will also create their own ritual complete with an anthropological analysis of the rite. Course code T5301

Christina Taylor Beard-Moose, Ph.D.,
Dept. of Theology & Religious History

Instructor: Christina Taylor Beard-Moose, Ph.D.
Class meetings: Sundays 2:00 PM ET
Prerequisites: None
Required readings:

Tedlock, Barbara. The Woman in the Shaman’s Body: Reclaiming the feminine in religion and medicine. NY: Random House, 2005.

Turner, Edith. Communitas: The Anthropology of collective joy. NY: Palgrave MacMillan, 2012.

Bell, Catherine. Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Grimes, Ronald L. Deeply Into the Bone: Re-Inventing rites of passage. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.

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