Global Religion


Course Objective

Learning outcomes:

Knowledge and understanding - The student has acquired knowledge and
understanding of:
(1) the anthropological approach of religion as distinct from other
disciplinary approaches.
(2) the classic and contemporary interpretations of religion through the
work of classic and contemporary anthropologists.
(3) religion as a contemporary global phenomenon.

Application - The student has acquired the competences to:
(4) ask anthropological questions regarding the religious practices that
they encounter during this course.
(5) critically assess different theoretical approaches in the
anthropology of religion and their (in)ability to describe, interpret
and represent religious praxis;
(6) describe some of the methodological problems that are typical for
anthropology of religion, i.e. the insider-outsider gap, and embodied
practice and interpretation (mind vs. body).

Making judgements - The student is able to demonstrate:
(7) reflection on their assumptions (biases) and an open and
interpretive attitude vis a vis religious beliefs and practices.

Course Content

The aim of the course Global Religion is to gain knowledge and insight
into the forms of religion as a global practice. Our starting point is
the idea that any investigation of religious practice should begin with
the concrete forms in which religion presents itself to us in a research
setting. The anthropological approach of religion is a social-scientific
angle which looks for the way in which religious practice and social
processes are related. This basically boils down to two questions: how
social structure influences religious practice, and how religious
practice influences social processes. This question applies to both
small-scale societies and groups, and to large-scale societies, as well
as to more network-like forms of social organization, for example, in
digital media.

In the perspective of the global, these questions will direct us to the
cultural logic of expansion, religious movements, in- and exclusion in
religion, the urge for 'purification', and subsequently religion and
violence, as well as relativism and formations of the secular.

Teaching Methods


Method of Assessment

Weekly assignments: 50%;
Written exam: 50%.


To be announced in the course manual (see CANVAS).

Target Audience

2nd year bachelorstudents in Cultural Anthropology and Development
Also open as an elective course for Exchange Students.

General Information

Course Code S_GR
Credits 6 EC
Period P5
Course Level 300
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator prof. dr. J.T. Sunier
Examiner prof. dr. J.T. Sunier
Teaching Staff dr. P.G.A. Versteeg
prof. dr. J.T. Sunier

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Teaching Methods Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: